One of the best features of the Gemini PDA is it’s Psion Series 5-esque pop up App Bar. It’s similar in some ways to the dock in Apple OS X, or the Windows Taskbar in that you can pin apps to it so they can be quickly launched from wherever you are in the OS, or whatever you happen to be doing.
The good news is the App Bar isn’t part of the default Android launcher. It’s an app in its own right that’s hard-coded to respond to the dedicated Planet key on the Gemini keyboard. This means you can install another launcher and still have full access to the App Bar at all times. In the screenshot below I have installed the popular Nova launcher.
At either end of the app bar are fixed buttons, a Planet button at one end, and the clock button at the other. Clicking the Planet button displays a pop-up menu that contains quick links to the Planet Computers website, the official Planet Computers Store (which is launching soon), a dedicated Gemini PDA support site, and controls for forcing rotation of the screen, and configuring the app bar itself.
You can select an app on the App Bar by tapping it with your finger, or using the cursor leys to move left and right to select an app, then pressing the Enter key.
Clicking the clock button displays a quick link to open the full Clock app, in which you can also set alarms and see international times, and a quick link sits below this to the Time and & Date settings in the OS.
Configuring the Gemini App Bar is a very simple matter. Once you have opened the App Bar settings (which is also available in the full Android app list) you will see two panels, see below. The panel on the left is the list of apps currently pinned to the App Bar and you can have up to 11 apps pinned in this way, and the panel on the right is a list of all apps that are pinnable.
To pin an app to the App Bar, simply find it in the right-hand panel, and then drag and drop it into the appropriate place in the left panel. Removing an app from the App Bar is just as simple, as you just drag and drop the pinned app onto the Drag here to remove notification.
Lastly, the App Bar panel includes a Settings icon in the top right of the screen. Clicking this will display options to force display of the App Bar all the time or auto-hide it after about five seconds, and to force landscape or portrait mode when using it.
All in all the Gemini app bar is a great addition that can really aid productivity. It’s simple to configure and if you decide you don’t want eleven icons pinned to it, those that you have will be equally spaced out, so as to look attractive, and not squashed to one end of the bar.
The fact you can use this to open apps from anywhere in Android, and from within other apps just adds to its usefulness. I believe that almost all Gemini users will find the App Bar invaluable.