Yeah, the more I play around with this the more convinced I am that I may be misremembering, which is frightening as we’re only talking about a couple of months ago. Even the documentation and Facebook posts I made while playing with the emulators are non-specific enough to be interpreted either way. I’m wondering whether I simply spent so much time inside the emulators that I didn’t notice it was also changing the system default.
If I get the chance at the weekend I’ll have a play with some of those “per-app switching” apps.
I would be great if Magic DosBox could have its own input method that could directly read and translate arbitrary hardware buttons/keys. The button mapper is useful but limited by whatever it sees when keys are pressed, and it’s unclear why SwiftKey generates more consistent and detectable scancodes than the default keyboard (at least on the Gemini). Most of the third-party IMEs, even those aimed at external keyboards, aren’t as consistent as SwiftKey.
But to be fair the Gemini keyboard is a bit of a kludge itself, and I don’t expect its creators gave much thought to it being used in emulating other entire operating systems. It works really well with native Android apps, even those obviously not designed with anything other than touchscreens and virtual keys in mind, so it does its job.
Of course I’m also aware that Magic DosBox itself, and the bulk of of the software (mostly games) run on it, wouldn’t normally expect to see more than a half dozen inputs so maybe I’m expecting too much of it and the Gemini hardware.
My main reason for using Magic DosBox for all this is the fantastic support for custom on-screen graphics and virtual buttons, and for that it doesn’t disappoint. For the curious, this video is something I cobbled together to demonstrate usability differences between the Agenda app on three platforms (emulated Psion 3a, emulated Psion 5mx, and native Gemini). The first 23 seconds shows the 3a emulation. The icons at the bottom of the screen are all Magic DosBox virtual buttons replicating the softkey button bar of an original Series 3a, while the rest of the screen is the DOS-based emulator, scaled and positioned above it. The visuals are seamless. Only Magic DosBox can do this! 😉
The second emulator is Windows-based and mouse-driven, so its button emulation is built in. It normally runs in a window though, so Magic DosBox came to the rescue again with its custom scaling making it fit the screen perfectly. I can’t praise the customisation available in this program enough.