Despite its complete irrelevance in the mass market, there are several interesting developments aimed at improving the mobility of GNU/Linux. One such development is Plasma Mobile, which is KDE’s attempt to provide our beloved operating system with a graphical interface adapted to mobile and tablet computers.
Plasma Mobile Gear 22.02, the latest version of KDE’s suite of touch-oriented applications and components, was recently announced, and it comes with changes and improvements for some catalog members.
Regarding the shell, we find a redesigned configuration panel that improves the appearance and includes new widgets for multimedia and notifications. A new tablet-oriented landscape layout has also been implemented, which should be improved in future releases.
The task switcher has been rewritten to use a single row of gesture-enabled thumbnails. In addition, bugs in the display of the thumbnails themselves in the task switcher and other bugs in the navigation bar that caused it to sometimes become grayed out have been fixed.
Many fixes and optimizations have been made for the home screen, for example, KRunner now appears after the scroll down gesture. The open and close gesture has been rewritten to eliminate stuttering issues and provide a smoother experience.
Moving on to the home screen, plasmoids and apps have also received fixes to their placement and removal from it, and the startup indicator when an app launches and the task switcher now use the home screen window itself instead of creating new windows.
A search bar has been added to the settings, widescreen mode has been added for tablets, and the header style has been changed to show a back button instead of a breadcrumb path. The clock daemon has been rewritten to improve support for custom ringtones assigned to alarms, and attendants have worked to improve the user experience. Dialogs for managing alarms and timers have also been added to the app.
Calindori, a previously unsupported calendar app, is back on line to improve the user experience it offers. PlasmaTube has received improvements to the use of the bottom toolbar and the back button located in the header.
The call app is one of the most improved in Plasma Mobile Gear 22.02: the styling of the sidebar buttons has been updated to match Plasma lines, the navigation page has been improved, settings and “About” pages have been added, three things in addition to the history clearing dialog box. Audio profile switching during a call has been restored, support for selecting phone numbers through the Contacts menu has been added, and multimedia is paused when there is an incoming call.
Meanwhile, Angelfish, which is a Web browser, has a desktop interface in this release that looks more and more like the interface offered through the touchscreen, and convergence is one of Plasma Mobile’s goals through the use of Kirigami. The intent is to bring all the features of the mobile and tablet interface to the desktop layout.
We’re finishing up NeoChat, the Matrix client, which got support for launching the app in minimized form in the system tray and improved Internet connection checking. The app in this release uses a connection to a server instead of a WAN connection and is able to share files directly from NeoChat with other apps and services such as NextCloud and Imgur. This is in addition to the ability to add tags to accounts to facilitate the use of multiple accounts and introduce various fixes.
For end users, Plasma Mobile Gear 22.02 should arrive as an update. Among the distributions using it, Manjaro, which has established itself in the PINE64 catalog.