The incoming call screen got a big overhaul in Android 4.0 last year, but it's still not perfect. An incoming call pulls you away from what you might be doing with your phone. Writing an email? Not anymore you're not. Reading a webpage? You can reload that after the phone call. Small Call notifies you of incoming calls in an unobtrusive way while still preserving functionality.

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2012-12-18 17.30.00 2012-12-18 17.31.28

When your phone rings, Small Call will pop up a floating bar at the bottom of your screen. It has answer and ignore buttons on the sides, and a text button in the middle. You can probably sort out what the answer and ignore buttons are all about, but the text button is a nice addition to this app. It replicates a great feature of the stock phone app, allowing you to send text messages to a caller when you dismiss the call. Small Call can also handle text notifications in the same floating bar, but I actually find this more troublesome than the stock behavior. This can be disabled in the settings.

Small Call has plenty of configuration options for the way calls are ignored, text back phrases, and bar position/opacity. Overlaying third-party apps on basic functions sometimes feels flaky on Android, but Small Call seems to work well. Unfortunately, it's not free and there is no trial version. This one is $0.99 in Google Play.

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.

  • ProductFRED

    So how does this thing suppress the default phone app's Incoming Call screen?

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

      My guess is pure magic.

      • ProductFRED

        Seems legit.

        My guess is it relies on the Accessibility settings, which would let it read/intercept incoming notifications (a la NotifierPro), but I've never seen an app replace a call screen.

    • RyanWhitwam

      I'm not sure, really. The screen sort of flashes for a split second when a call comes in. It's like a blink. I didn't see the default call interface at all (Nexus 4), but maybe on a slower phone it would be visible briefly?

      • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

        I saw the default interface for a split second, but as long as it can get dismissed quickly (and it does) it's not really a problem. Also on a N4 here. I think the problem is not overtaking it (Groove IP has always done it), but dismissing it without hanging up or answering.

        • Tee

          With my original SGS the default interface can be seen (just so that I can say). It doesn't bother though. Absolutely worth buying.

    • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

      Yes, I've been looking for something that does this but never could find it. The old cm7 had an option to not show the incoming call screen and show a notification instead which was great, but nowhere to be seen since cm9. This method would be very interesting to developers of apps that work with Google voice like Groove IP or Talkatone.

  • Michael

    I love this, just need to work on those hideous icons! Go with Android default's

  • Dominic Powell

    Need to use a sliding mechanism from left to right. go left to end, right to answer like stock android. press and hold the message button to send a long text. This could be very cool. However as it is it visually appears like things from the gingerbread days.

  • http://www.keithbluhm.com/ Keith

    The incoming call's number is pretty easy to decipher using what's visible of the top and bottom of the numbers. I'm not going to be the a-hole that posts it though, I hope it's fake. ;)

    • RyanWhitwam

      Top 3 screens are from the dev. I suggest you troll him.

  • Shahzada Shaheryar

    cmon.. release ad supported free version,, ,, for those who cant have Google wallet .. .. !

  • ssj4Gogeta

    Well you can just answer and then hit back with the stock call screen and continue doing what you were doing while you take the call.

  • andrew__des_moines

    AP needs to review EZbutton -- one of the best and most useful apps in the Android ecosystem. It makes your touchscreen pocket computer act like a phone.

  • Mr. Mark

    This seems like a really cool idea. I wonder if the CM team could implement something like this in the future, perhaps for 10.1.