There's been a quiet trend among user interface augmentations as of late: the swipe-out app and menu bar. SwipePad is probably the progenitor (and still my go-to app), and we've featured a handful of interesting alternatives, but Edge: Quick Actions deserves special attention. This little app has managed to outdo Google itself by making the Recents function (the right-most button on the default navigation configuration) obsolete.
How so? Instead of tapping a button and then tapping the app you want to switch to, Edge embeds the last five open apps into a quick-firing mini-launcher that comes across the screen as a ribbon. Swipe in from the left and release when your thumb is over the relevant app - that's it. This is pretty much exactly what SwipePad and many others do, but the short list is dynamically filled with your recently-used apps. It's just like the Recents menu, only quicker (especially if you're using a device that hides the Recents function behind the home button a la Samsung). True, Edge is limited to the last five apps, but if you find yourself constantly switching between them, you can't get any faster.
Edge includes a few advanced actions as well: by default the lower ribbon embeds a home button, some basic music playback buttons, and a quick link to a full app tray, while the upper bar has toggles for data, WiFi, Bluetooth, and audio. The free app is pretty limited when it comes to adjustments, only allowing the user to change the height and width of the quick-launch area. A reasonable $2 pro upgrade lets you add more toggles and buttons, including a flashlight and some root-exclusive options that can completely replace the navigation bar. The Pro version also displays up to ten recent apps and allows Edge to be launched from the right side. Themers will be happy to know that it also has some basic adjustments for color and transparency.
Edge: Quick Action is still a little rough around the edges, and more options in the free version would be nice, but it's definitely worth a look if you need a super-fast way to access recent apps and a few settings. If you need something a little more robust, check out Sidebar Plus.