14
Feb
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If you've ever used an Android tablet, then you probably know that they could really use some true multitasking functionality. Currently, we don't really have an option to do multiple things at once, and when we do try, it becomes cumbersome and annoying. Well, we can always count on our good friends from the CyanogenMod team to answer our pleas and requests for features that we likely wouldn't ever see otherwise. They recently posted on Google+ about integrating an intriguing Android extension called Cornerstone into CM9, and it looks beautiful.

Screenshot_2012-02-14-20-08-04

What Is Cornerstone?

Cornerstone is an incredibly useful Android extension produced by Onskreen. Basically, it provides us with the type of multitasking that we should already have on tablets. It'll sit as a pull out bar on the side of your screen, and when you want to multitask it brings out two additional panels in which you can load applications. You can then interact with any of the panels you want.

Sounds phenomenal, doesn't it? Check out the video below to see it in action.

If you don't want to watch it again, go ahead and wipe that drool off your face.

CyanogenMod seems really interested in getting this to work, but it isn't a done deal yet. They want to make sure it runs smoothly and won't cause any future issues, so it is currently only experimental. I really hope they get this into CM9, because then we'll be able to get so much more out of our tablets.

Screenshot_2012-02-14-20-10-15 Screenshot_2012-02-14-20-15-59 Screenshot_2012-02-14-20-18-08

You'll be glad to know that Cornerstone is completely open source. If you're interested in playing around with it before we see it in CM9 builds, you can head on over to the Onskreen website and check out the source code. They plan on keeping their Wiki updated with user built ROMs as they become available for other devices. Currently, they have one ready to go for the Wi-Fi Xoom. Maybe we'll see more pop up after the Android community has had a bit of time to toy around with the source code.

On a related note, Steve Kondik (Cyanogen) posted on G+ that he's currently running it on his Tab 10.1 and he "looks forward to having it in CM9." Sounds promising!

[Sources: CyanogenMod, Steve Kondik (G+)]

Brandon Lancaster
Brandon says he likes to live life on the edge. By that he means eating ice cream for breakfast and wearing house slippers to class. Aside from all of the ballsy action he partakes in, he's a mass communications student that spends much of his time studying or tinkering with his phone.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    This is going to be one sweet mod. Definitely excited about this for tablets.

  • Ron Amadeo

    My dream tablet OS is coming true.

    Tablets are not big phones! They are small computers! These guys get it.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Looks who's back. Or is he?

  • DevX

    I've been running Cornerstone on my Xoom since February 9 using Team EOS's Nightly Build 67. Pretty sweet!
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1400958

    • Parkinson

      No, not the guy. This one is smart.

  • Freak4Dell

    Very nice. Tablets just got a whole lot more useful.

    Of course, I probably won't ever see CM support for my tablet, so mine will remain a giant phone that I wasted money on.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

    Love it...I've been angry at Google for not having put this into Honeycomb since day 1. We've all imagined this feature and knew it should have existed long ago.

    This would have, without ANY question, been the killer feature and would have actually ended the iPad reign almost instantly. Just sayin' ;)

    • Dandmcd

      My Honeycomb tablet (Trandformer) would have keeled over and died trying to multitask if it was as hastily coded as the rest of Honeycomb was.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

        I'll admit, they would have had to push back the release of Honeycomb a few months...but they should have done that for a hundred different reasons anyway.

        Now that I think about it, considering how few apps make any good use of the screen space, this split screen also would have solved a lot of the snobby comments that came from the iPad fanboys (ironic given that the iPad has never been significantly better)

    • SiliconAddict

      Umm no it wouldn't have. iPads rein because Apple owns the design from beginning to end. Its seamless. Honeycomb was a knee jerked reaction to the iPad. An "OMG we forgot to support tablets *throws out a fork in android*" Honeycomb quite honestly caused more issues then it resolved. It would have been better had Google not released Honeycomb, taken its time and just gone straight to ICS. Yes they would have had more and more people go iPad, but instead we would have had a unified OS across Phones and Tablets. Instead my Transformer still sits here unused because of its closed source nature. the tablet is boring has hell because CM is not on it. And the reason for that is Google never released the source code for Honeycomb and the reason for that is Honeycomb was always intended as an OH SHIT! release.

      I will be honest I'm temped to never purchase another Android tablet ever again because of how Google handled this.
      If there was 3rd viable option other then iOS or Android I would go with it. Maybe Open Source WebOS? Yah I'm thinking not, as well. *sighs*

      Google should have leaned military tactics. Sometimes its best to cede the high ground short term (don't compete with Apple on tablets) if it means you can come back with your forces more organized and ready to fight a prolonged war. Yah you will take a bruising when you come back to retake what you lost, but frankly its no worse then the mess that Honeycomb has been.

  • KevinN

    Killer!! This will be great!

  • VICTOR

    what about games?

  • VICTOR

    front facing and rear facing cameras..???and what about running multiple benchmarks...??can it handle that...it be awesome...

  • Bloodflame

    This is awesome news! The developers of my ICS ROM on the Acer A500 (which is based on CM9) are already in the process of porting over Cornerstone, but if the CM team implements it themselves, that's even better news!

    • http://about.me/leonardtj leonardtj

      Which romantic are you using on your a500. I I am using That's ics v 96

  • Noodles

    This will change everything, again. No really - it will! Hopefully it gets out of beta before an apple employee sees this page and decides to submit a patent

  • Souljah

    How about on ICS and Smartphones? would that work too? I would love to have at least 2 apps shown at the same time.

  • Souljah2k

    How about on ICS and Smartphones? would that work too? I would love to have at least 2 apps shown at the same time.

  • Ridiculous

    Wow ipads just got owned...even harder XD

  • Dandmcd

    ASUS really needs to hurry and release their Unlock Bootloader tool! I want this on my Prime right this minute!

  • Himmat

    Something like this will be really good, but it will take some time to perfect. An even better and easier 'multitasking' solution will be if the running apps icons can be shown in the action bar. It will be a one click access to the app, just like in Windows.

    By the way, out of curiosity, Windows is a 'multitasking' OS, but can it even run programs side-by-side?

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      Watch the keynote from Mix '11 for Windows 8, almost from the first minute they show this exact feature (well, 2 applications instead of 3) and it clearly supports several apps running at once. In a way, it's not really that interesting because they are starting with an OS that already does this, then just scaling it back. Android and iOS are different beasts entirely, having started with only 1 display port and being optimized for that purpose.

      It's this feature that I figured would truly upset the current status quo of tablets. Windows 8 will have it and if Cornerstone can somehow find it's way either into the OS permanently or become a plausibly easy addon, then iOS is at a massive disadvantage for at least a year.

  • Letroy

    We are one step away from using.. you know.. windows.

  • Falconator

    Nice...very nice!!!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    There's an absolutely epic discussion between Cyanogen, Dianne Hackborn, the CEO of Cornerstone, and a bunch of other folks in the source link: https://plus.google.com/100275307499530023476/posts/ViCME1bb8F6. Highly recommended reading.