One of the most vaunted features of webOS was its decidedly pretty multitasking interface. Users could invoke an overlay of thumbnail “cards” of their running applications and switch to or close them.

Fresh onto the Android Marketplace is Visual Task Switcher. Continuing on from some progress made earlier this year (although probably not using the same method), this application grants you thumbnail application switching. While not as polished as Palm’s version, this is an encouraging step towards that alluring goal.


Users can switch to a running application by tapping the thumbnail, or kill it by long-pressing.

Visual Task Switcher allows multiple pages of grid thumbnails which can be scrolled through by swiping. Users can also close running applications by long-pressing on the corresponding images and tapping Force Stop. There are currently no settings to speak of; just choose your application or close the switcher. Some users have reported problems with it not recognizing custom launchers, but ADW is working fine on my own setup.

Users of CyanogenMod 6 can set this as their [HOME] long-press application by enabling Settings > CyanogenMod Settings > Input Settings > Long-press home settings > Use custom application and choosing Select custom application > Applications > Visual Task Switcher. Those not running custom ROMs with the aforementioned feature can still set it to appear with a tap of the [HOME] key, where pressing [HOME] a second time brings you to your desktop.

The application was only released yesterday, so there is obviously plenty of room for improvement, but it's good to see Android gaining some tricks from its prettier siblings.

Oh, the bad news? It ain’t free. $1.99 for the ad-free version. Since VTS doesn’t have any screens besides the switcher page to speak of, the ads are right in there with your thumbnails. Perhaps once it gets a settings screen, the adverts will be transferred to there instead… one can hope.

You can download Visual Task Switcher for Free (Ads) with the QR code below:

QR code for market://search?q=pname:com.esdmobile.taskswitcher

Visual Task Switcher Pro ($2):

QR code for market://search?q=pname:com.esdmobile.taskswitcher.full

Have another app-switcher that you prefer? Drop a comment below.

Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • Warai

    Not finding this in the app store, what device are you finding it on? My Motorola Droid does not find it through searching or the barcode. Anyone else experiencing this?

    • http://androidpolice.com Brian

      Nexus One running Android 2.2. What version of Android are you running?

      • Warai

        Running 2.2, it is a custom rom though.

        • http://androidpolice.com Brian

          That's weird. Maybe it's not compatible with FWVGA screens..

      • Warai

        Nevermind, just showed up. Not really sure what the delay was about.

        • http://androidpolice.com Brian

          I contacted the developer because of your comment and he fixed the market issue.

        • Warai

          Wow, thanks. I probably should have done the same. Now the only issue I am having is how to summon the Task Switcher with one home press and then Launcher Pro instead of the default launcher with the next home press. I don't use Cyanogen Mod I use an untouched 2.2 rom with an over clock kernel. Any ideas?

    • Aaron Gingrich

      Just tried with my EVO - worked fine for me O.o

  • http://renke.org Renke Grunwald

    This makes Android much more attractive ;)

  • JESC

    Not able to find in Market using Rooted Incredible with 2.2

  • http://rnkevents.com danno

    none of these qbar codes link to the app, its on the appbrain store but wont let you dl it. ? what gives? running droid x w/2.2

  • Barry

    Ditto. Droid running FRG22. Nothing in the market, AppBrain won't find it either.

  • awperk

    i installed this app but it doesn't want to play nice if you have multiple launchers installed (i.e. LauncherPro or HTC Sense). It keeps wanting to revert to the stock android launcher.

    • Warai

      Same problem here, trying to figure out a workaround now.

      • http://www.wix.com/Gigitsu/Gigitsu/Home GigiAUT

        Working on my Wildfire with Sense UI. I just set the App Switcher as the default action when it asked me what to do when I press home. Only thing is the double press on the home key while on my home screen doesn't bring up my 7 screens. Pinching it still works though, so it's really not a big deal. Love it though.

  • Battery

    so I'm running baked snack, how could I remap the long press on my home button to open up this app instead of showing my recent apps?

  • Breno Poubel

    It should be works on any launcher. Fail.

    • Mr. Ed

      It does in fact work on any launcher but clears the default for your "default" launcher on install. All one has to do is reset the default launcher.

      I uninstalled this morning due to this app keeping the phone awake and causing random reboots. Evo OTA 2.2

      The app shows great potential if they can indeed fix those issues it will be awesome.

  • tc

    You should definitely check out Itching Thumb as well, much closer to webos experience. High res previews as well

  • rakesh

    The app is useful and beautiful too. But is there a way to run it on the Launcher Pro. I was able to use it only when in HTC Sense mode. Anyone out there with the same problem. This is on my MyTouch 4G.

  • DrewYorkCity

    I'm running CM7 and have it installed but it doesn't show any running apps when I use it.