Shortly after Facebook announced the Chat Heads feature of Facebook Home, the folks behind ParanoidAndroid started expanding that idea into a new take on multitasking. HALO was the result, but it was exclusive to ParanoidAndroid. I say was, because HALO has just been open sourced.

The code has been added to a Github for other ROM developers and curious users to play around with. HALO is still in beta, but the feature set has come along quite well in recent weeks. The code in Git still needs some cleaning up, though. Support for the tablet UI and PIE could use some work too. After seeing no show-stopping bugs, all changes available in Git have been merged with the main PA branch. ParanoidAndroid lists the full alterations as follows:

  • HALO has white & blacklists now. Blacklists prevent apps from pinging through HALO. Whitelists do the same but only allow pinging when you explicitly allow it for individual apps.
  • Everything is silenced
  • Dismissal of notifications has been improved
  • PA Wallpapers has been taken out of the rom and can be downloaded for free on Google Play Store:
  • DCHSPA symbol when the DCHSPA network is being used.
  • Dirk Rettschlag's Quick unlock
  • PIE option for empty angle (the start gap)
  • Brightness dialog updates
  • StatusBar Date/Time layout changes
  • Option to use volume keys to control media volume anytime
  • Launcher does not need to be started when you go in and out of full screen (no more black flicker)

These points are of most interest to current ParanoidAndroid HALO users. Everyone else can look forward to seeing this interesting feature make its way into other ROMs soon.

[Google+, Github HALO 1/2, Github HALO 2/2]

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://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Nick Giulioni

    Good news! What do you think the chances are that it comes out as a root app rather than a ROM?

    • Dennis

      0% this needs to be integrated in the framework

      • S Mahmood Alawi

        not true, if someone with enough knowledge wanted, he can use xposed to do it

        • Dennis

          good luck ;)

      • Nick Giulioni

        Well that is disappointing! I thought with floating notifications out there it might be possible.

    • Matt

      I don't think.. need a "patched" frameworks/base and settings..

  • DeadSOL

    This is why we love Android developers!

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/114994124650840583731 Phil D.

      They have to, don't they?

      • DaveNull

        Open source it? No.

        Android framework is released under Apache 2.0. Linux kernel is GPL.

  • Jase Mase

    Anyway we can get these through Xposed? That'd be nice.

  • mark01

    there's already, it's called floating notifications on xda http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2263987

    • elzafir

      Does it have a pop up window? No? Shut up!

      • mark01

        that's the useless part

        • elzafir

          Keep living in the past, granpa.

      • mark01

        that's the useless part.

        • elzafir

          So you say.

          • Kendozaaa

            I don't know, I've been using pa on my gnex for a long time now and I really don't rate halo.. why bother having a pop-up screen when you could just switch to the full screened app? You need to hit back anyway to return, so what'sthe point having a smaller version of what you're doing? The halo notification itself isn't that bad, though hardly mindblowing I think, considering it's a straight rip from Facebook,I don't think they deserve that much credit for it.saying that,I think pa is a great rom and I'd recommend it to anybody.

          • elzafir

            A smaller window means I don't lose my focus. I Can quickly switch apps, less taps todo what I want.

          • Justin Swanson

            For me, it's context.

            I don't like having the app I am currently using, close when i switch to respond to a Hangouts message. It doesn't happen with every app, but some apps (especially games/chrome) close when I respond to my message and try and go back to what I was doing.

  • Marcin Kowalczyk

    cant wait for this to come to LiquidSmooth....Love that ROM...or better yet built into CM10.1

    • Woodrow Douglass

      Probably not CM10.1 this late in the game, maybe CM10.2 or 11 or whatever the next one is.

      • Justin Swanson

        I agree if 4.3 drops in the next 2 weeks, otherwise why do you think it'll get pushed?

        • Woodrow Douglass

          Because CM10.1 is in the RC stage. They usually don't add big features like this right before a 'stable' release. it'll get added after.
          EDIT: if at all...

  • Pablo Calero
  • fonix232

    How come I get the feeling that this is more innovative than the whole WWDC Apple keynote alltogether?

  • Carlos

    Frameworks/base is edited now for my ROM (CM Based) 'Dreams', and seems like ROM is successfully built. Now I just have to edit /packages/apps/Settings/ anymore.. if everything goes well then I'll upload my changes into github... and then I also make thread into XDA > Gnex > General.. :) took over 2 hours to edit files from frameworks/base/