Itching Thumb for Android: WebOS Look-Alike


HP’s (s hpq) webOS, with its revolving task manager, is just plain cool. Interacting with the cards that represent running apps is intuitive and fun, and it’s too bad other platforms don’t use a similar method to work with tasks. Well, Android (s goog) phone owners have one available, and it’s free. Itching Thumb is a free app in the Android Market that works with the Android launcher to handle running tasks in a graphical way, complete with gesture support.

The app can become the default launcher, which lets it take over use of the Home button to trigger the graphical task manager. Apps currently running are displayed in a revolving carousel method, or a simple flat display can be set in the preferences. The carousel of apps can be swiped left or right to spin through running apps, and tapping on one brings that app to the forefront for use.

Itching Thumb uses gestures in a unique way to interact with apps. Swiping up on an app’s card closes it (like in webOS), and swiping down triggers a gesture editor to assign a gesture to that app. Once a gesture has been assigned to an app, drawing the gesture at the bottom of the Itching Thumb screen will fire up that app. It is simple and works well.

There are a lot of settings to configure Itching Thumb as desired, most of which control the look of the app carousel.  I haven’t decided if Itching Thumb will remain as my full-time task manager, but it’s a fun diversion in the meantime.

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Is this needed, though? The HTC Android phones have 7 home screens that you can swipe from screen to screen and accomplish the same thing, depending on your set-up.

It’s kind of sad that they all think htey need to be what the other one is; there is (or should be) something to be said about being different and/or unique.


WebOS has had ‘cards’ and real multitasking from day one, and it’s obvious that Itching Thumb is emulating Palm’s idea. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if it works nearly as well as WebOS it’s worth getting.


Why not just get a new webOS 2.0 phone with real support for cards and multitasking?

Oh, because they’re not out yet. Dammit, HP, get your act together!


“They” stole from WebOS? You do realize that Itching Thumb was created by an independent developer that has NOTHING to do with Google, right? As such it isn’t bundled in Android and certainly isn’t a requirement to have Android run properly. It’s just one of the many apps available for download some of which implement existing ideas, some of which implement novel ideas.

Cupertino Engineer

No doubt they stole ideas from WebOS. That seems to be Android’s Calling Card – They Copy Everybody Else’s Stuff.
Almost nothing in Android is original work. Should be called Pirate City OS IMO !

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