Vito Cassisi, the developer behind a piece of software that could potentially revolutionize the way Android users switch between apps, updated Switcher today.

Working on the principle that swiping gestures are naturally more satisfying (from a UX standpoint) than press-and-wait actions (a la Android's multitasking button), Switcher's functionality is entirely based on the utilization of universal swipe gestures to switch between running apps (or all apps).

According to the developer, the concept was first imagined when studying on the train, desperately wishing for a way to switch between notes and web that was faster than using home or back buttons.

Screenshot_2012-07-09-13-25-34 Screenshot_2012-07-09-13-25-57

Those concerned that the vertical "add" and "remove" gestures can rest assured that Switcher's pre-defined swipe zones (which rest fairly high on the screen) will almost never interfere with normal in-app scrolling.

It's very important to note that this app is still a proof of concept, and therefore may not work perfectly on all devices. Further, it is likely that changes will be made to the app quite often. Of course we'll keep you updated on the app's progress and (eventual) completion, as this is definitely an app to watch. Until then, click through the widget below to give it a try.

Thanks, Roy!

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Switcher is one of those apps that revolutionize the way you use your device.
    When I saw it in the Play Store (thanks, @RoyBlumenthal!) yesterday, I immediately
    thought I found something special. Roy was raving about it, and I tried it as

    Switcher defines a zone in the upper region of the screen as well as a few
    gestures. Swiping up while in the zone from outside of the phone's screen adds
    the current app to a virtual list, swiping down removes it. Swiping left and
    right then switches between the apps in the list. It's such a natural way to
    switch between apps, and it literally never triggers by accident due to the way
    zones are positioned and swipes are defined, that I may never go back. Once you
    try it, you won't want to go back. And remember - this app is a technical
    preview at this point, an early alpha, yet it's already almost perfect.

    I contacted the author and suggested a few things, like start on boot and
    simply switching between all open apps, all of which he said were possible. In
    fact, he added the all apps option a few hours later - you can see it
    in my screenshot below. Fantastic work, Vito.

    • blub

      it's not working for. swiping has no effect. I am also not really sure where on the screen I have to swipe.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Basically, you swipe from the zones that you can see in the screenshot, which are located in the upper portion of the screen. If you don't click the checkbox on the bottom which enables swiping between all open apps, it'll swipe between your own custom list you first need to define by swiping away and up from the zone.

    • PhilNelwyn

      It's not really revolutionizing.
      Taskie has been doing this for a long time.
      This one improves it though, with the custom apps list and better location of the gesture zone.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        You're right, I forgot about Taskie, but the reason I never stuck with it was because of the little details that made its implementation unusable for me - the limited gesture area for swiping is critical. I also have a lot more confidence in the developer of Switcher, though the guy behind Taskie might also be a great and responsive dev. I am not familiar with his other work. A single day from feature request to feature implementation and responses within minutes, however, is pretty impressive.

        • PhilNelwyn

          Yes, indeed.

        • Petr Nalevka

          Hello, the guy is me :), in fact Taskie is very simplistic, but you may try my next generation task switcher which is Dock4Droid, you have custom apps, an amazing wave-like eye-candy effect and you can also call your contacts...please check this out: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.urbandroid.dock

  • John

    Any types of apps I use like this have always caused some sort of noticeable lag (on all my phones, even the latest ones out). I hope this isn't the same. Def going to check it out..

    • John

      Nvm. Yep it still has the noticeable lag. I guess others don't notice it =/
      Nonetheless, pretty cool app.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Don't see any lag on my phone, but I'm on the EVO LTE.

        • John

          Prob. I'm not badmouthing the app or anything. It's just something I notice for all the useful apps like these. Anything that does some sort of "overlay" (just my way of thinking of it), I can pick up the slightest performance difference when popping through menus, app switching, etc. Although, the most powerful device I tried it on was the Galaxy Nexus, which isn't the biggest & baddest anymore...soo. That may be my problem.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emmanuel-Umukoro/666405702 Emmanuel Umukoro

            haha yes i tried it on the one x no visible lag whatsoever

  • RedPandaAlex

    Isn't this going to interfere with your normal scrolling behavior? I mean, swiping and down is one of the most common gestures you do on a device to navigate within an app. Or maybe I'm not picturing where the swipe zones are.

    I really just want to the task switcher button to allow you to swipe up from it instead of having to press, release, and press again. Or make a quick swipe up from the task switcher button switch to the last task, and then the next-to-last task and so on until you perform an action in the task.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      See my comment here about that. Nope, the zones are defined in such a way that you'll pretty much never hit them. I haven't hit it once yet - they're just too high up for regular swiping.

      • RedPandaAlex

        I see now. Just watching the video. It looks like you'd still interfere with tab swiping on Chrome, which is a swipe in from the right or left. I'm sure a lot of people will get a lot of good use out of it, but I still wish it was better handled at the OS level to make sure that the gestures don't interfere with individual apps.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Doesn't interfere at all, I just tried it. When you swipe in Chrome, you don't go to the upper portion of the phone to swipe - my finger can barely reach there (at least on a 4.7" device). Just swipe anywhere but the top portion and you'll be fine. No problem at all.

  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    My case interferes with the zones on the edge since it goes up to the end of my screen so I can't touch the edges of the screen easily.

    Is there any way to create an option to move the zones a bit inward?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not at the moment, and yeah, I can see how a case would interfere, that sucks. That's a more generic problem though - for example, one case I tried before interfered with swiping down the notification bar and felt uncomfortable. Yet another reason I hate and don't use cases.

  • Falconator

    It takes a little getting used to but the overall use of this utility is amazing!!! DInc2. No lags or issues noticed so far. Going to watch battery usage and see if it affects things on a daily basis. Thanks for the post!

  • Asf

    One of these things I can't believe nobody thought of before...this totally needs to be a part of Android itself.

  • wwwfast

    I prefer task changer titanium, same concept, better execution.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I just looked at its description, and it seems quite a bit different. This app has a very specific goal (which as far as I can tell the app you mentioned doesn't actually tackle).

  • Arsalan Afzal

    Apple probably has a patent on switching apps with gestures.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emmanuel-Umukoro/666405702 Emmanuel Umukoro

      nah i know for a fact that the nokia n9 does it too.

  • Nick Horvath

    Is it just me or would this have no use on ICS and later since they have introduced the recent application button?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The same functionality existed before too since the beginning of Android (hold Home), but this switching is a lot faster, especially when trying to go back and forth between 2-3 apps. It's not as useful when trying to go back to app #5 in the list, however, but really that's not its purpose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/probableigh Leigh Andrews

    Doesn't work at all on my TF300. Can set it to enabled but it does not recognise any gestures. Once it recognised the down gesture I think as I saw a red minus symbol on my screen briefly but then nothing. Then after closing it and going back to the homescreen I get a force closed message. Have sent a report. hope he can fix it as the theory sounds great.

  • http://www.techthirst.com/ Anuj Ahooja

    Not sure if you guys have seen this, but this is a similar gesture-based app that allows you to switch apps (among many other things) - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goodmooddroid.gesturecontrol&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5nb29kbW9vZGRyb2lkLmdlc3R1cmVjb250cm9sIl0.

    Only downside of this one is that it requires root, although I think you can do certain tasks without root. I've been using it on my Tab for the past little while and absolutely love it.

  • waleonishmail

    this is very similar to app switching for Blackberry Playbook and on the Nokia N9.
    The developer has probably done a good job developing the application but it is not revolutionary. There is nothing new under the sun

  • Simon Belmont

    I haven't tried it yet, but I will soon. It sounds a lot like the app switching paradigm in webOS.

    Of course multitasking in webOS was intuitive and elegant. So, this proof of concept app should be quite good.

  • pierre krafft

    And for root users that want the real deal get GMD gesture controll. Select how many fingers are needed, if the gesture need to start in the edge of the screen and witch edges if so. With that app you can have almost any gesture you wan't and do about everything you can think of, especially if you pair it up with tasker.

  • Samvith

    Seriously, you guys ? Never heard of this ? - http://goo.gl/fLTRS
    I have been using this for a long time and is the best app for multitasking with swipe gestures, hands down.

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  • gayathri

    give a real time example for reuse components in android

  • thatgermanrobot

    I cant find this app in the Play Store. I entered "Switcher" in the search box but it doesnt come up. and the link in the article doesnt work anymore.

  • HK Tan

    This apps has been removed from Play store... :(

  • ray

    what happened to this app!!!? cannot find it anywhere. >< Is there an alternative?