If you think back to the browser redesign that came with Android 4.0, you might recall the quick controls feature – a circular popup controls you could trigger with a tap. TasKarou Launcher Overlay takes that same idea and makes it universal in Android. This app can give you access to settings, searches, apps, and more with just a flick.

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Quick controls in the old Android browser were never really a headline feature. The idea was that you could tap in certain areas and have a wedge of controls appear with functions like forward and back. Neat, but not necessarily useful on a phone. On a larger tablet, you have to reach to hit certain buttons in the UI, so it might make some sense. TasKarou creates an active zone on the right and left edges of your tablet screen that pulls up the controls. By default this is a 15-pixel space, but you can alter that.

If you just slide your finger onto the screen like a bezel gesture, the buttons pop up. You have search, apps, and settings options. Search triggers the Google search app, but you can slide down from that button to a Play Store search icon that appears on the wheel. It's the same story with Settings, which exposes buttons for TasKarou and system settings. The Apps button pulls up a list of your recent apps (icon view only). This interface has a full app list in a second tab, as well.

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There are a few UI glitches and some of the icons look a little dated. Still, TasKarou is a really interesting way to get around your tablet. It's also free, so no harm in checking it out.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

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

    It was a little tricky at first, but once I figured out exactly how it works, it was easy and quite handy. But the persistent notification is a deal breaker for me - I had to uninstall. I realize they may have done it so Android keeps the app in memory better, but this is not something I'm willing to deal with personally. There's enough crap in there already as it is.

    Also the feedback animation was odd which contributed to the initial confusion - it doesn't select/highlight the buttons consistently.

    • http://profiles.google.com/dc4316 Ismael Rodriguez

      I feel the same way about persistent apps in the notification bar. I prefer to keep it for...you know...notifications.

    • John O’Connor

      Hey Artem, how does it interact with the built-in browser of similar effect on the gnote 10.1? will i see 2 controls pop up?

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

        Honestly, I have no idea - I don't have a Note 10.1 and I don't use the stock browser.

        My guess is it'll work fine because it sets up the action zones on either side of the screen on top of any current app. So unless the stock browser uses exactly the same zones and it takes over them, it should work OK.

      • Randy Staab

        Seems to interfere with Chrome's edge-swipe to change tabs behavior, so I imagine it might be problematic with the built-in browser's edge controls.

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

          Ah, you're right. I thought the swipe gesture is only active in the middle in this app, but it's not.

        • Ryan B

          Deal breaker for me. :( Too bad, as I'm a bit of a junkie for these quick-launcher apps

    • Eye4Detail

      They could at least make the notification functional, like adding quick toggles for the various radios. If you want space in my notification shade, you have to earn it.

    • Randy Staab

      Worth reminding people that Jelly Bean allows disabling notifications on a per-app basis under App Info.

      Disabling them for TasKarou works and I don't see any immediate negative impact but I suppose it could be problematic in the long term.

      I just wish this included a virtual back button to improve one-handed navigation on a tablet.

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

        Ah, you're right. Totally didn't think about that.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I'm really hoping that we see a solution to this persistent notification hack. It creates a poor user experience to keep an app in memory, there really needs to be a better way.

        I've done some looking around to see if hiding the notification in this way will affect the ability to avoid being killed, but I haven't had any luck finding confirmation one way or the other.

    • http://profiles.google.com/talhamid Talha Hamid

      Hey, I recall seeing a similar app for phones (not tablets only). Can you tell which one? I've gone crazy searching in Play Store. Secondly, I believe the devs should enable this app for Galaxy Note 2 as well. It's kind of big, you know.

      • SYO

        I think it was Swipepad?

      • Haedocynic

        LMT Launcher, but only available through XDA. It worked fairly well for me, but at some point or other it would always turn unresponsive, possibly because of the no-notification as above. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1330150

        There is also the ROM Paranoid Android that has acquired this feature recently.

  • http://www.facebook.com/koniczynek Michał Droździewicz

    "This app is unfortunately no longer available on the Android market." - Any idea why?

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

      Works fine here, in incognito mode too.

    • John

      Play Store *

  • Jack in NC

    Wait a minute... this just may be the answer for my desire to have a Note 2 despite my dislike of physical buttons. Sweet!

    • http://profiles.google.com/talhamid Talha Hamid

      Not compatible with Note 2 - I checked. Bummer

    • http://profiles.google.com/talhamid Talha Hamid

      And hey, if you dislike physical buttons, DON"T get the Note 2. I got it and the shift from the silky smooth operation of my GNex to Note 2 is jarring. You won't like it.

  • BrianLipp

    Wow. just...wow. This is one of those apps that just makes me love Android even more. Hopefully the dev will continue to work on it and add even more customization to it (ie the ability to add quick app shortcuts to the menu, or maybe quick setting toggles or w/e). Hopefully an option to at least make the notification blank comes, as in what MoreQuicklyPanel does. Theres a blank spot there for the notification, but theres no graphic in the bar to distract you or trick you.

  • Lorenzo Cruz

    isn't this similar to LMT Launcher, specifically the PieControl navigation? http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1330150

  • azhrv

    Is this better than SwipePad?

  • http://twitter.com/kwurk kwurk kwurk

    People just use LMT Launcher available free with more features and has been available for a long time. I use it with my N7 currently and with my Gnex in the past. It won't interfere with Chrome swipe gestures if the LMT gesture is only in the center vertically.You can always swipe at the top or bottom. Of course all this is configurable.

  • jaamgans

    Prefer flip launcher even in its Beta status - much more useful especially in phones.

  • Leandros99

    Kinda old. A friend of mine coded this about 1 year ago.
    I can't remember exactly who, but everything happend in AOKP IRC.