When it comes to custom ROMs, we generally stick to covering CyanogenMod and – more recently – AOKP. Every once in a while, though, something really special, unique, or just downright awesome shows up in another ROM. In this case, it's PIE. A ROM that can make pie. No, wait, that's not right. It's a feature baked into the Paranoid Android ROM that completely revamps the navigation area. 

All pastry jokes aside, PIE is a fully-customizable replacement for the stock on-screen navigation buttons found in more recent versions of Android. It stays hidden off-screen, only to be brought to life by a predefined gesture. PIE can be manifested on all four sides of the devices, and there's even an option to set up multiple trigger areas, making this not only a neat mod to look at, but a convenient one, too.

Of course, long-time Paranoid Android users are probably shouting "Hey, this isn't new!" – which is completely true. This has been a feature in the ROM for some time, but it's now reaching its final stages of development. Where there used to be lag, you'll only find smooth transitions and blazing speeds. The dev team re-wrote the navigation code from scratch (as opposed to simply modifying the AOSP code, like in the past) to ensure a buttery smooth experience. Judging by that video, I'd say they achieved that goal. Of course, they're not completely finished yet, so there are still a few bugs to work out.

PIE isn't just about a new navigation experience, either – it also offers customizable colors, status information (like clock, date, et cetera), notifications, and toggles. One nice thing about PIE is that it's dynamic, meaning its size will be defined by the device's dpi; in other words, you won't see a stretched phone UI on a tablet.

According to PA's post on Google+ highlighting this feature, updated builds of the ROM with this freshly-baked PIE should start rolling out as early as tonight. You can head here, as well as Paranoid Android's site, for more information.

Thanks, Martin Hernandez!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • xriderx66

    :( Sadly this will only be good for those phones without thick bezels (like N4)

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      Wouldn't a thick bezel be a good thing for this, rather than a bad thing?

      • QwietStorm

        I would say so

      • Impheatus

        I think he was talking about the bezel at the sides of the phone.
        Thick bezels at the sides would prevent your thumb to swipe all the way up and left to display QuickToggles.

        Well, that's what I think xriderx66 was talking about.

        This obviously depends on the size of your phone and the size of your hand and you can always set PIE to display when swiping from the right of the screen.

  • good samaritan
  • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

    This is the same concept as TasKarou Launcher which can be used without rooting or a custom ROM. That said, TasKarou Launcher is a lot more basic, but might be a nice compromise for people not wanting to play around with custom ROMs.

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

      Yeah, the concept is similar, but having used Taskarou, I couldn't stand it for longer than a few minutes. It was buggy, poorly thought out UX-wise, and not nearly as powerful as PIE here. Sure, though, it didn't require a whole ROM, so there's that.

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        Yeah - when I used TasKarou first time around I ended up removing it because it was so overly easy to activate (kept doing it by accident). The settings allowed you to change that so I was happy then.

        Of course you're right though, even though the concept is similar it's a lot more basic and not as nicely polished as this appears to be.

    • http://twitter.com/arghness Alex

      It's also similar to the stock (pre-Chrome) browser "Quick controls" available from Settings > Labs. Speaking of which, I wish that Chrome had less chrome (particularly that it would hide the navigation bar when scrolling down) and the "Quick controls" option.

      • Zak Taccardi

        you could just not use your physical buttons

        • http://twitter.com/arghness Alex

          I could, but one of the main benefits from this (for me at least) looks like it's saving screen real estate by not always showing the buttons. I don't have that issue, so don't need this.

          I don't see the point of having duplicate physical and on-screen controls, but if the physical buttons break, I'll certainly take a look :)

  • Tony

    Not very attractive for me...Should be:
    "up" swipe from the bottom-left act as notifications
    "up" swipe from bottom-center as home
    "up" swipe from bottom-right as multitasking
    HTC thing with a bottom bar when needs the menu button for old apps
    And then for back have a swipe from the bottom right all the way to the bottom-left work as the Back button
    Actually hoping google would do this next release, seems blackberry is doing something similar with it's new OS so that's hopeful.

    • Thumbs

      What a stupid request.
      It's like saying:
      I want a driveway at my house for when I drive into it forward.
      I want a driveway next to that one for when I reverse my car in.
      I want a driveway next to those for when I have a trailer attached.
      It's one driveway fool.
      A thumb is a very versatile digit.
      Get it out of your butthole and learn how to use it.

      • Kevin Aaronson

        So eloquent

    • dextersgenius

      Actually if you have GMD GestureControl (or Siyah / DorimanX kernels for S2 or S3), then you can simply use gestures for controlling everything. But yeah GestureControl is very awesome. Also, check out SwipePad, a pretty cool gesture based launch pad.

    • fonseca898

      There are numerous launchers with gesture support. Try Nova.

  • Ryan O’Neill

    No more wasted screen space, yay!

  • Fred Fredson

    PIE is indeed new. Tablet mode is older in Paranoid Android. I`m on the newest Version and it`s really game changing. It`s at beta stage right now, but in the next 1 or 2 months most bugs will be out. Next major version is Paranoid Android 3.0!

    Give it a try. If you don`t want Pie you still have Tablet- and Phabletmode and also different colours per app! Really a great ROM!

    • Hardik Salot

      Once if u install the rom then u get updates ota ?

  • Hugo Pinto

    Hey Google!
    Hire the guys working on this, and make this or something similar, the default navigation on the next Android version.
    DO IT!

  • dextersgenius

    PA is so awesome that I actually went and *bought* a Nexus 4, just so that I can have the latest and greatest PA with everything working. I rooted and ROM'd it within 5 minutes of playing with the stock OS. That's how much I love PA, and that's how much awesome it is. And Hybrid mode rocks. I could never go back to using a device without hybrid mode again. (Unless of course, Google decides to implement it into Android, which I doubt will ever happen).

    • Peterson Silva

      I'm sorry, what is Hybrid mode? You got me curious :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/xethor Tarun Pemmaraju

        You can use some apps in Tablet app mode and some apps in phone app mode.

        • Peterson Silva

          Oh, I see. What apps do you guys use in tablet mode on a phone?

          • Justin Swanson

            As seen the in the video, settings works pretty well. Also setting hybrid on landscape mode works well for things like Gmail. It really comes down to personal choice.

            IMO it really excels with the N7, (some apps work better in phone mode, some in tablet)

          • Thomas Phillips

            For example if you used the tablet version of Chrome you get the tabs up on top instead of hidden behind a button press.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

            Back when YouTube had a "wall of videos" in tablet mode, I decided to try it out on my Galaxy S II. It wasn't practical to use, but the fact I could try out was awesome enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

    It's good to see ParanoidAndroid is really shaping to be an awesome independent ROM, especially after I saw that Google unified the UI.

    Now should I stick with CyanogenMod, go back to ParanoidAndroid for a bit or try out OpenKang?

  • Peter

    Reminds me of "ELSE First" UI, it looked amazing, shame it didn't make it.

    • waleonishmail

      emblaze first else, was the truth, now everything else copies it even google in their camera app

  • Greg Sanders

    Do I have to go to XDA to download PA? That's pretty bad if they want more people to use it. I don't want to have to find the most up to date builds that way.

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

      Yeah, it's weird that at list there are no download links on their site, at least linking to the respective XDA threads. Not even a mention. First time I tried PA I had to google after trying the website.

    • Justin Swanson

      I found it on GooManager (via my phone)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Charitos/536042829 John Charitos

    Navigation is awesome. Would love to have it without the rom. Anyone know of a standalone version?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      The code is/will be available so anyone could implement it. :-)

  • Kree Terry

    PA has been a game changer for some time now. It is really great to see it continue to innovate and separate itself even more from CM and AOKP. In fact I still have my old gnex just for flashing new PA releases. I have also starting taking the steps to setup PA to build from source. Keep it up guys :)

  • tyguy829

    how is this different than lmt launcher?

    • mavericksid

      it has notifications, time, battery status, and much better look and fast, stop whining and asking stupid questions.

      • Haedocynic

        LMT now has time, battery status, network status...they talk about notifications too, but I can't get them to work.

        • mavericksid

          ya, it does have but still it's very slow and not as neat as PIE.

      • http://twitter.com/megamastah szewc

        For one LMT works everywhere without the need to flash PA, which is a) the whole rom b) exclusive to Nexus line and SGS3. For two, go to your dad and tell him you deserve punishment for insulting others and being fanboyish.

      • Mr. Mark

        intelligence is far overrated for you.

      • Steve Freeman

        Hmmm...sounds like the PA developer. He was pretty rude and egotistical on Rootzwiki too. The only thing PA has going for it is tablet/phablet mode per app.

  • merman1983

    I like this idea and would love to try it out. However, it's not as if it's an entirely foreign or new concept - not to take anything away from it. I think its brilliant and may just convince me to try PA unless its ported elsewhere.

    The Google Labs options present in the stock (pre-Chrome) browser offers a very similar UI freeing up screen real estate and is the #1 reason I continue to use the stock browser.

    • Haedocynic

      Same here. I'm trying to get it to work with LMT's pie, but you can't disable the pie in certain applications (yet). Now I have to access the Quick Controls native to the browser from the left side of the screen, and LMT's pie from the right. Because LMT can't do any application-specific actions, like tab switching, they just can't be properly combined yet.

    • Steve Freeman

      The AOKP dev's are considering whether or not to port it to AOKP.

  • Kaushal

    Hi moles, if you are reading this can you please check what's up with the PA Pref app in Play Store? I want to buy it but I am unable to do so both on phone and PC. I get this error when I try to purchase via PC: "Sorry, we were unable to process this request. The order has been automatically cancelled and you will not be charged for the purchase. Please try again later."

    I tried buying another app and that went fine. Looks like the issue is with this one particular app.

  • wolfkabal

    ..and this means nothing to someone with capacitive or physical buttons. Though seems great for someone with no dedicated buttons.

    • Jaymoon

      Physical/capacitive buttons? Yeah, those were old news LAST year...

      • wolfkabal

        Regardless of Google's request for standards, devices (even new ones and upcoming ones) still continue to have both. I'm simply stating the facts..

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

          But yet tablets (since Honeycomb) don't, the situation with physical buttons is confusing. Why can't Android just have software buttons on every modern device?

      • Fatty Bunter

        SGS3? HTC DNA?

        • Jaymoon

          Exactly! Quality phones that clearly don't *need* physical buttons, yet there they are!

          At least Sony is moving towards on-screen buttons. I'm curious to see how long it takes the others to catch up, especially since Samsung is cranking out a new +5" device every month it seems like. The Note, of all things, doesn't need physical buttons in the slightest bit.

      • xploited

        If everything Google does is so great, than why do custom roms exist?

        Capacitive buttons > on-screen buttons any time, any day.

        • fonseca898

          Hardware buttons > capacitive buttons any time, any day.

          I'd rather have a larger LCD screen and less bezel, with software buttons that can be hidden instead of physical buttons. But as long as that empty real estate is there, why not utilize it?

        • Jaymoon

          I haven't run a stock ROM in YEARS, so I am by no means saying customization is dead.

          In fact, customization is the sole reason on-screen buttons are better! Physical buttons are set by the manufacturer, in the order of their choosing.

          On-screen keys?... they can be anything you want. Want a menu button showing all the time, add it in. Want a dedicated Facebook button, add it in. Want to change the color of the Back/Home/Switch keys, or better yet, do you want to change the icons of these buttons? All possible with on-screen, and when you're watching fullscreen video, they go away when not needed.

          I've never had a problem with on-screen keys, even though it took a few days to adjust at first. Now I am handed an S3 from a friend, and I simply dread having to hit Home because of how clunky it feels. Can't change anything about that, so oh well!

    • RocketScience11

      It's still useful. I have a back button, home, and menu on my LGOG and I'd like this custom menu for search and multitask along with whatever other functions it could have (maybe a custom app launcher?)

      • Justin Swanson

        Yeah, if you had a large phone (see Note2/DNA/etc) you could still benefit from the slide in from the right/left :)

  • Román Rodríguez

    The wallpaper is really creepy. :$

  • br_hermon

    I love this navigation. Question though... what's PA like? I see that it's "What we're known for" is the hybrid mode. But aside from that is it closer to AOSP but with slight tweaks or is it heavily modified?

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

      I tried the first build that came out with "Pie" not long ago, and while Pie is a great concept, it didn't have several basic CM options I can't do without, like status bar brightness control and WiFi-AP toggle on the Quick Settings panel.

    • Jaymoon

      Paranoid Android is awesome! The main feature of this ROM (other than AOSP and stability) is the ability to set different modes and user interfaces. Phone UI, Tablet UI, Phablet UI, or a mixture of these are also possible.

      You can also set DPI settings on a per-app basis. For example, I love Gmail's tablet mode for a bigger inbox and quick access to side labels. But I prefer "phone mode" for GDrive. With PA on my Galaxy Nexus, I can configure apps to use different DPI settings from each other, as well as set the overall system UI.

      • br_hermon

        So it's basically AOSP, stock with the ability to adjust DPI / layouts and use PIE?

        • Jaymoon

          Well I always looked at it (and still do) as CM10 with per-app DPI settings.

          What more do you want in a ROM? Unreadable fonts? Orange icons? :P

          When I say AOSP, that sets it MILES apart from any manufacturer-specific overlay. Pure Android without the bloat, and ready to start tweaking. Add a theme of your choosing, flash a new kernal, etc.

  • — —

    Imo, thats bells&w since we can set the height of navbar to minimum

  • Fatty Bunter

    I seems like the right/left-side configurations won't work in something like the Chrome browser that already has swipe-in actions from the left and right, no?

  • J
  • Edward Smith

    DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :O.....................................................................................................................................

  • Jon Garrett

    PATENT IT, or you'll see this "revolutionary" new feature on some future iPhone.

  • Ryan O’Neill

    This app is what convinced me to finally root my Razr HD today.

  • LondonGuy

    Can this be installed on Galaxy S3?

  • Ivan Myring

    I am rooting my nexus 4 just for this!
    Got it months ago but am now fed up. Now I will root. Also I want to re consider the apps I have installed

  • youdoneyo69

    How do you get to Google Now tho?

  • Hardik Salot

    Hii I am on 4.1.2 stock rom rooted with cwm and custom kernel speedmod k5-5 (samsung galaxy note N7000)

    i want to flash 3.15 paranoid android rom...what is the procedure and can i install it on stock rom with speedmod kernel ?

  • poppiesgdd

    How do I get rid of the pain in the neck pie control , and that disc that hides at the side of the screen covering up icons making them unusable ???. I love Paranoid Android , I think its the best , but pie control to me is the worst !. Every time I try to use an icon , or sign into a site , it's always in the way . Putting it at the top or bottom doesn't help either , because at the bottom it stops me from using the icons for making a call or text , and if it's at the top I can't read the notification blind . Please don't tell me how to use it , I already know , and , don't want to know ?!. Anything that requires me as a user to go to settings to move it , every time , just so I can put my Facebook password in the box isn't a good thing !!!. Sure it looks good , but anything that makes something harder to use is a liability , not an asset . It seems people have forgotten rule no.1 , KISS ( Keep it simple stupid ) . Nearly every post I have read ,people are like sheep , blindly praising pie control . That's good if you need it , but if you don't , at least make it as simple as possible to turn it off .This may sound like a rant , but to me ,and probably a few other people , I think I should have the option of being able to remove , or at least turn this feature off .I think the developers are doing brilliant work , but please give us options . The reason most people root their phones , is so they can customize them for their own circumstances ! . Valid point ???. HELP PLEASE ?.

    ps Using PA interface doesn't work in any setting combination ! .

  • asdf

    you managed to make PIE look annoying. Both it and HALO are annoying to me.