29
Apr
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Running multiple apps side-by-side is something that many users – especially those with tablets – have wanted on Android for a long time. And while we've seen a few implementations before (remember Cornerstone?), none have really taken off. Sure, Samsung has an option for multi-window on its more recent devices, but that's still a far-from-perfect solution, as it only allows certain apps to run together.

Given how oft-request/desired/lusted after this feature is, the devs behind the Paranoid Android ROM decided to try to bring it to life in a practical, usable way. However, it's probably not yet exactly what you're expecting, as it's little more than just pop-up windows with containerized apps held within. They released a tech demo showing off how it's functioning thus far, though not without noting that this is just a "first draft" and only shows about "10%" of what the finalized version will be capable of. Thus, watch the clip with an open mind.

The Google+ post highlighting the feature goes on to mention that this is far from the final implementation of the way apps will be launched, and calls the notification popouts a "cheapo plan B" solution in case "what [they] have in mind" doesn't work out.

If they can deliver on the hype being currently built around this feature, then it's definitely something to look forward to. Keep an eye on Paranoid Android's Google+ page for further developments.

Paranoid Android (Google+)

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.

  • Clayton

    I love PA for this reason. always pushing new features instead of perfecting the old.

    • dextersgenius

      Indeed. Hybrid engine with per-app DPI and layout selection, per-app color settings, PIE navigation, Nexus 4 color calibration and now multi-window! PA continues to innovate with elegance. Not only that, their devs are very helpful and actually respond to you *directly* - something CM fans can't brag about.

      PA is the reason why I purchased a Nexus 4 in the fist place, even though the phone itself is the worst Nexus ever made. :)

      • chandradithya

        You lost my upvote at "worst Nexus ever made"

        • dextersgenius

          Why?

          1) Broken USB host
          2) Glass back (I thought everyone learnt a lesson from the iPhone 4?)
          3) No LTE
          4) Non-calibrated display (washed out colors)
          5) msm_hsic wakelocks (still present in official 4.2.2)
          6) Non-removable battery
          7) Did I mention a glass back?

          Yes, I know there are workaround/solutions to all the above (I'm already using them), but that's not the point. The point is, out of the box it's the worst Nexus ever made. No other Nexus had as many issues as the N4. And don't even get me started on the whole "out of stock" fiasco, the pricing fiasco...

          I challenge you to bring up any other Nexus that has had as many issues

          • chandradithya

            Well, That way every single phone in the world has a big bunch of problems.

            Take the Galaxy Nexus i'm using for over a year,

            1) The AMOLED has a weird purplish tint while displaying grey colors (The grey that is found in the background of Settings. Etc)
            2) The AMOLED has its own big share of problems, From bad image burn-ins to colors not calibrated properly ( Only around 5% of the people report to have a perfect screen)
            3) The processor wasn't one of the best ones of that time.
            4) Inefficient processor and internal parts in combination with an average battery gives pretty bad battery life.
            5) The pretty useless pogo pins on the side giving me tiny shocks every-time i connect to a device/ a power port thats not properly earthed.
            6) Phone heating up like crazy, And the thermal throttling getting activated almost every single time i play a game. ( I live in india, Temperatures hit almost 40 deg C daily )
            7) Below average GPU, was launched with an over-clocked GPU that was more that 2 years old at the time of launch.
            8) Plasticky build, feels a lot cheaper to hold when compared to HTC devices and ofc the Nexus 4.

            Agreed, The bugs you mentioned are quite bugging. But that doesn't exactly make it the worst phone ever. I just look at the bright side of it.

          • yashwantreddy

            I'd second that. Galaxy nexus user from India here too. Phone heats up like its on fire. Have to occasionally stop doing intensive CPU tasks.
            As far as the screen calibration goes, it can be adjusted to your comfort by either trickster MOD or Franco kernel updater.

  • József Király

    As it is right now, I find it quite useless. On phones, window-based layout is useless, though if they manage to add an app switcher on sliding events (something Meego-ish, or more like, the new 4.2 Camera app), then it can be used (also, resizing!!!).

    On tablets though, it is another question. I would, for one, kill for a PROPER window manager on tablets, and if they do it right, this very feature from the video can provide that.

    • http://tinyroar.com Cats-R-Friend

      It only opens the window from notifications, so if you were to receive a chat notification you could open it, reply, and close without ever leaving your current application.

      This would work perfectly on a phone

      • ssj4Gogeta

        without ever leaving your current application

        How are you "not leaving" your current application when all you can see of it is a shadow behind a popup?

        But that's not the point of this video. They're able to run applications in a custom-sized area of screen.

        • TKfromCLE

          You're "not leaving" your current application because it appears to continue to run in the shadows. I would be interested to see if media applications, specifically video apps, would continue to run with the popped-out application in the foreground. I would love to leave Netflix/Hulu/YouTube running while I bang out an email or reply on Google+.

  • Patrick van Oostrom

    Dat swiping

  • Chip Estrada

    Palm's Web OS was the best! Slightly better than Android and way better than Apple crud.

  • alexcue

    Team Synergy, the guys behind my favorite TW ROM, have had full multi-window working for awhile now. They even have floating windows implemented in their latest release, which gets pretty nuts. Obviously it would be cool to have that feature in an AOSP-type ROM, though...PA is super awesome.

    • Kenneth Porter

      Are the floating windows only with TW apps? I have an S3 but i can't stand how ugly TW is and i like the simplicity and functionality of AOSP. If I can use multi window with any app I my might give TW another shot

      • Derek B

        Any app.

        • Kenneth Porter

          Thanks *digs through TW roms on XDA*

    • drcmda

      it gets misinterpreted. it won't be about cluttering your screen with two apps. that is nice and all, but it does nothings for you. hand to heart, how often did you use it. once? twice? this will be something else entirely, what you see there depicted is just the technical background. doing this well is important so part 1 covers the basics, which means making apps float, any app. part 2 is not out yet and no one has seen it so far. this will make actual use of it. launching apps via notificationcenter is a quick way for us to debug stuff - tons of warnings and descriptions couldn't make people think this is it, so why am i even trying. (-;

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

    I really hope this feature reaches CM when stabilised. It's good to see the PA are taking a crack at multi-windowing because if I do get a large device I won't be wasting screen-space.

  • bigmase521

    Can someone please tell me what happens at 15secs into the video where he flings the app from phone to tablet? Is this a PA feature or something I can get from anywhere. Multi window will be cool, but that, that I need NOW! Thanks to anyone who can point me in the right direction on this one!

    • dextersgenius

      Yep, it's a feature of PA - part of their hybrid engine. You can change the interface of the whole phone, or selective apps - to run in their phone / phablet / tablet mode. A really good example of an app that looks and works great in tablet mode is the Gmail app (which is run in tablet mode by default on PA).

      • bigmase521

        No I know about hybrid mode..sorry, let me try to clarify...look closely at ~14-15 seconds in the video..the guy appears to make a gesture swiping down from the notification tray, and it looks like he flings the gtalk app from the N4 and it opens up the N7.. is that an actual feature of an app, or is it just coincidental timing, and gtalk opens up on the N7 by itself? Kind of like with chrome2phone, can you "send" an app from phone to tablet and vice versa with a gesture?

        • dextersgenius

          It's not very evident in the video (because the bottom right corner is cut off) but I'm pretty sure he just launched Gtalk manually, most likely a shortcut on the bottom-right side of the tablet. What *is* evident though is he has quick hands. :)

          • bigmase521

            Damn, I think you're right haha. Now that I watch it again it does look like he launches it. Man I was really hoping someone had created something like I was talking about and I just hadn't heard about it yet. Someone should create something like this, imagine how useful this could be?!

          • dextersgenius

            Haha. :) But yeah, that is a cool idea though.. I can certainly see it being useful for those who switch between multiple devices. Who knows, maybe PA might implement something like this in the future? They do think out of the box. :)

  • Sean Bunquin

    An App called multi window control actually allows you to force apps that don't support the multiwindow feature to support it, anyway, for anyone wondering, I got ULTIMA ROM(a TW based ROM) with Nova Launcher and Jellybean Domination Theme I've eradicated most of touchwiz from my S3

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