What is Plasma Active?
Plasma Active is intended for all types of tablets, smartphones and touch computing devices such as settop boxes, smart TVs, home automation or in-vehicle infotainment. Plasma Active is a joint project by the KDE community, basysKom and open-slx. The goals for this open source project are:
- a fast embedded UX platform with minimal memory requirements
- customizable and modular to support different form factors
- an interface that adapts as users change Activities
Plasma Active is an interface for people on the move. People engaged in different activities in different places at different times of the day. Its beautiful surface is fresh, a design completely rethought for the best experience on modern ultraportables. Built on a proven platform with an attractive environment for developers. And easy creation of embedded images for device manufacturers.
- Activities gather different content like apps, widgets and contacts that belong together. You are planning a trip, organizing your work or entertaining yourself? Your mobile experience in Plasma Active adapts to your life!
- Pull down the Peek&Launch bar to select applications or switch between them. Peek&Launch is there when you need it. And out of the way when you don't.
- Active Apps have been specially selected that work well for mobile and touch. Getting things done is simple and quick.
- Many Plasma Widgets are available to accomplish small tasks or to connect you with information and friends.
- Share-Like-Connect molds your computer to your
Connect a travel webpage to your Vacation Activity or a calculator widget to Home Office.
Share photos with a friend or post them to your online photo account.
Like several documents that relate to a project so that a search will find them quickly.
New in Plasma Active 3
Files is a new default application in Plasma Active. It is a file manager, but, unlike most others, it isn't based on folders; rather users can search for documents by file type, creation time and semantic information such as Tags. Files does not use the file system directly; it organizes documents with Nepomuk, Plasma Active's underlying semantic engine.
Okular Active is Plasma Active's new Ebook Reader. Okular Active is built on the technology which also drives the desktop version of the popular Document Viewer, and is optimized for reading documents on a touch device. Okular Active supports a wide range of file formats, such as PDF, EPub, Open Document, and many others.
Through Plasma Active's Add Ons, thousands of ebooks are available for free, with paid applications and content coming soon.
Champions: Kontact and Calligra
With Calligra Active and Kontact Touch, Plasma Active delivers scalable and proven applications for office and groupware tasks, with a focus on interoperability. Kontact Touch supports many groupware solutions, and brings calendaring, email, contact management among other features. Calligra Active has excellent support for most common office file formats such as OpenDocument and Microsoft's .doc, .docx, .xls and .xlsx.
The KDE developers have put a lot of effort into improving the performance of the user experience, its applications and underlying libraries. These improvements bring a noticeably snappier and more visually coherent user interface, and make using Plasma Active a more enjoyable experience compared to previous versions.
Plasma Active runs on Mer
Mer is the leading openly developed Linux-based OS for mobile devices. It is based on work from the MeeGo Project. With the size of the Core OS reduced to the bare essentials, Mer delivers performance. It is also a fully open development project, and thus supports fundamental Plasma Active design principles—openness, user freedom.
Improved Text Input
Thanks to a new virtual keyboard based on Maliit, the input method used on devices such as Nokia's N9, Plasma Active Three improves ease of text input. The new virtual keyboard is faster and more convenient to use and offers great flexibility for system integrators.
Roadmap: More Apps, Qt5 and File Synchronization
In future releases, users can expect support for a wider range of devices, easier synchronization of data across devices, an improved user experience through the use of Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5, and more applications for popular uses.
The KDE team is currently working to bring a Plasma Active-based tablet to the market to demonstrate its capabilities fully and offer users a fresh and more open alternative to existing mobile operating systems.
Check it out!
Plasma Active is easy to install, but you can also test drive it from a USB stick. The official Plasma Active image is based on Mer and is provided by basysKom. You can find the software and installation instructions on the KDE Wiki.
In the last months Plasma Active achieved its goal to run cross-device and cross-platform. Plasma Active runs now on Intel x86 and ARM platforms, supporting more mobile devices like the WeTab/ExoPC, AdventVega, Point of View and Archos as well as N950. Read more information about all supported devices.
Small ultraportables favor consumption over creation. Active users generally read reports rather than write them. Touch interfaces are good for selecting; not so good for high volume typing. People want an ongoing supply of good games. Plasma Active offers a rewarding opportunity for developers. Creativity and innovation thrive in KDE's open, collaborative development environment.
If you are interested in developing an Active app, please look here.