The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the dawn of the split-screen smartphone
Back in 2009, LG launched a high profile feature phone, the BL40 Chocolate Touch, an obscenely long handset with what LG touted as a distinctive “dual-screen” UI. While LG’s extended lost the lead in mobile, this feature: a two column view generating complete use of a large screen, has popped up in the unlikeliest of successors, the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The Pop-up Play function included on the new Android flagship launched final night gives you the capability to push a video into a floating window and continue to use other apps around it on the phone’s giant 4.eight-inch screen. It is awesome. As we said last night, it is the purpose for quad-core phones.
But it also points to something else: phones are getting so powerful, and customers so demanding, that sooner or later this split-screen functionality is sure to become standard, just as it has on the desktop. The query is, who’s going to jump first, Google, Apple, or Microsoft?
Samsung’s implementation on the Galaxy S3 is effectively thought out: with a tap, a video becomes a little window you can move around so you can text, chat or surf the net, with no sign of slow down. It could be improved further of course: there’s no indication it functions with Flash videos or these played inside other apps (such as the shonky BBC iPlayer Android app). But Samsung is clearly reacting to what it thinks customers will like, and from our hands on time with the device, we think they actually will like it.
Samsung Galaxy S3: What happens to Android when HTC cannot get a appear in?
And if they do, the possibilities are endless. Tweetstream windows side by side with the Tv stream you are watching, IM chat sessions subsequent to a browser window. So extended as the screen is huge enough, of course, but as “typical” screen sizes get closer and closer to five inches that must cease to be a issue.
So this is the commence of a trend: who’s going to take up the challenge and flatter Samsung with imitation? Just last week we saw an amazing iPad jailbreak which let you run side by side iPhone apps on Apple’s table. But I assume it is unlikely we’ll see this from Cupertino. Immediately after all, in OS X Lion, its push to full-screen apps that you swipe between with a 3 finger stroke on the touchpad suggests it’d go the other way. Its vision? Straightforward swiping among apps it is definitely a bit a lot more sophisticated than floating windows on really little screens.
On the iPad operating iOS 5, you can swipe with 4 fingers in between apps for speedy multitasking, and it seems most likely Apple would want to bring this to the iPhone at some point there are already jailbreak solutions for the iPhone that do this as well. Probably when the iPhone, as rumoured, moves up a screen size.
Google’s a prospective candidate. The subsequent version of Android, Jellybean, may effectively debut before the finish of the year. I wrote about Samsung’s massive significance to Android last night, and Google could well adopt some form of this picture-in-picture ability into it, given its stance towards full multitasking – by contrast, multi-tasking on iOS and Windows Phone is nonetheless extremely much “on rails”, albeit cleverly carried out.
In fact although, it could nicely be Microsoft who makes use of some thing like this. The subsequent version of Windows Telephone, codenamed “Apollo”, is expected to be a massive revamp with close Windows 8 integration. And Windows eight on ARM-based mobile tablets boasts a thing quite fascinating indeed: “snap” multitasking, which lets you run two apps side by side on screen at the moment.
On a Windows Telephone with a huge screen, such as a HTC Titan or a Nokia Lumia 900, I could see Microsoft implementing some thing really equivalent, if not in Apollo, then somewhere in the near future, to preserve the Windows eight knowledge comparable across all screens. And that sort of productivity boost could be just what Windows Telephone needs, given the present grim app outlook for the platform.
What do you reckon? Are split screen apps the future for smartphones? Let us know your thoughts in the comments beneath.