Phones have moved up the computing stack to the point where we have enough cpu / mem under the hood to start thinking about window management and end-user choice. Currently, you buy a phone and you're locked into a usability mindset.

For many people, a phone like the apple iphone works great. They get a slick, reasonably responsive device that more or less does what they mean. For people who use ratpoison, the iphone causes hints of disgust and horror to saccade across their faces. They would prefer to have something that does a few simple things lightning fast, while allowing them to compose those actions into complex actions that fit how they want to use a phone.[1]

At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are already tired of the interface and would like to give it a 3D look, use different transition effects, or even replace a lot of the visual metaphors with something interesting.

Time to learn more ...

[1] Imagine a small phone that just had a bash prompt.

small phone with a bash prompt . . . kinda a niche audience no? :-) --Andy

how many people use bash every day? ;) say you could script your interactions, create your own TAB completions (type a couple digits of a number or letters of a name, hit tab to complete the number or name), you could reduce the number of steps you need to take to do anything. -- Patrick

'Moov', an app for android, provides essentially this (tab-complete-like) functionality. Unfortunately it fails a bit on the "fast" front. The first character is lost if you type the second one before the app actually starts up. If you use Moov a lot (with respect to the other apps you use), then it works fine--however, if you don't use it frequently enough, then it will get swapped out, and you have this laggy start up problem again. So, I guess the point is, (a) you're not the only person who imagines this interface, (b) it doesn't preclude a snazzy ui, but (c) stripping snazzy features (eg: memory hogging graphics?) may be necessary at the moment for it to actually work reliably. --Rogan

I'm looking at python for S60 which has contacts, phone, sms access, so I should be able to make a completion enabled command-line. Now to find out how much system mgmt / rom-patching we need to do at each boot in order to have a usable phone. -- Patrick.