Undeterred by a week of bad news, Intel is demonstrating the tablet user experience for MeeGo at Mobile World Congress. Our friends at Netbook News have an excellent video of a demo unit in which they ask some very important questions.
It’s still a very early build of the software, so the apparent glitchiness should be excused. The panel system looks like an effective navigation metaphor, but showing previously viewed material in the content-based panels (web, photos, music, video) seems ineffective. Also, it appears only two and a half panels can fit on the screen at the same time. Not sure why they didn’t trim down a bit so three full panels could fit. Frankly, the panels strike me a bit like the overlay approach, in which a user interface layer is added over the existing UI, except without an underlying UI.
Also not digging the similarities with traditional desktop interfaces, such as double-tap to launch and press & hold for right-click functionality. With active pen input, right-click via side button speeds things up, but press & hold tends to slow things down. Not that there’s anything wrong with press & hold to access added functionality, but if making tablets like desktops was a good approach, I wouldn’t have to keep reading those cringe-worthy claims that there are no Windows 7 tablets yet.
Still, it’s a very early build, so more refinement should be expected. Also, their stated goal is to have vendors customize it to fit their needs, so it should be somewhat basic in its approach. Hopefully someone can put some attractive skin over this skeleton.