The Paranoid Android family of custom ROMs has a history of adding interesting custom user interface elements, but since re-starting with KitKat, the developers have been trying out some new ideas. One of the first new features for the revamped PA is called Hover, and it's basically a complete rethinking of the Halo idea. Hover is a short-lived visual overlay that temporarily replaces the notification bar with a richer and more useful version, including expandable alerts and floating windows.

You know what, there's no amount of exposition that I can put here that will adequately explain this. Have a gander at this handy video from Chris Nacca.

Though Hover is currently in beta, it already looks incredibly polished, especially for those full-screen apps that require your total attention. The decision to shorten the display time to one second when tapping elsewhere is especially useful, and the floating window should work well for anyone who's trying to get more utility out of their device. For email in particular, it seems like a great way to quickly get access to expanded information.

Like most custom ROM features, Hover can't be used as a standalone app - you'll have to flash one of the latest Paranoid Android ROMs to try it out. At present PA has official builds available for all the Nexus devices going back to the Galaxy Nexus. If you're a PA user who's not a fan of Hover, don't worry, it's easy enough to ignore and/or disable. Check out the Moto X-style "Peek" function for more Paranoid goodness.

Source: Paranoid Android Google+

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Niall Murray

    Coming to xposed in 3...2...1...

    • Gsizzle

      I will be stoked if that happened! Xposed is just unbelievably useful.

    • ddpacino

      Yes. Xposed is a GODSEND. I'll probably never use a custom ROM again.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Wish ART never replaces Dalvik in future android versions... Or we might have a big trouble there

      • IamTheFij

        Yea, unless you care about security...

        An Xposed module has full system access and is generally not as peer reviewed as a custom rom such as CM or PA.

    • TheSparks

      Is there an Xposed Module for PA's Halo and floating window feature?

    • folkrav

      That is exactly what I'm hoping for. Xposed helps me customize my stock Sony ROM because Bell Canada decided Sony has to lock the ZL bootloader. But CM11/AOKP or PA with Xposed is just such a powerful toolbox.

    • unsivilaudio

      Probably not, and for the same reason we haven't seen the revamped PIE controls, its just too complex of a feature to implement.

      • TLK3

        PIE is available in GravityBox. Nearly every custom ROM feature can be duplicated with Xposed.

    • vyktorsouza

      SlideLock does exactly the same thing though

      • akshay7394

        So does Floatifications

    • br_hermon

      I love Xposed and thought the same exact thing! But... I find myself leaning further away from custom ROMs and just getting the features I want via Xposed, my question however is... after installing X number of modules, at what point (if any) does it start to bog down your device (battery hog, slows operations, etc)?

      • Matthew Fry

        It's about the same as any other app. As long as they are correctly implemented, no. Xposed sits on top of the Android system and makes calls out to different modules as they occur. None of the modules continuously run.

      • Damien

        This is why I am on PA rom now. Fastest 4.4 rom for my S4, super stable, and is growing on quality feautures. I have soft bricked my phone a few times with xposed, and also had a few other issues (such as restarting, phone getting hot, excess battery usage etc). I generally use something like gravitybox to add some customizations but thats it.

  • whispy_snippet

    So what happens if you're about to touch near the top of the screen right as a notification arrives? An unintentional tap? Doesn't this introduce the same issue iOS has had with its notification system?

    • Nicklas

      > Doesn't this introduce the same issue iOS has had with its notification system?

      Which was? Serious question, i'm curious.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Accidental launch of the app that the notification arrived from

        • Nicklas

          Ah i see.

      • whispy_snippet

        My understanding is that iOS, at least at some stage, had notifications popping in at the top sort of in a rolling 3d effect. They would sometimes get in the way if you happened to be interacting with something at the top of the screen.

    • JLM

      it opens ups a floating window, but it doesn't exit you out of the current application.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    Realistically speaking, it's not too dissimilar to how iOS displays notifications when in an app (aside from the floating window when tapped), but it's a cool addition nonetheless.

    • Cj

      One of the devs said the final design choice was made based on iOS. Apparently there were a few iterations internally

    • ddpacino

      Yea, but the difference is that these notifications are expandable, as well as open the app associated with the notification via floating over the current app.... both of which are not iOS features.

  • Abhishek Kulkarni

    man this feature is so annoying lol

    • Alex

      Don't enable it then :)

      It looks good to me, but I'd likely need some time with it to see if I liked it. I'm still not sure about the floating mini app windows. I imagine that quite a few apps with notifications won't work well with it, but again I'd need some time with it to see.

  • Cj

    Here's a not from one of the devs on xda -

    "Just a quick comment on Hover and future developments

    Ideally there should be 3 components introduced to replace Halo.

    Hover being component 1, is for instant notification response. This replaces the Halo scenario where an incoming notification pings Halo and you tap the bubble to respond. Halo also allowed you to respond to previously received notification and launch pinned apps. The decision was made to split all of these functions instead of bundling them all under one UI element.
    As such, two additional features will be developed for
    1. Launching pinned apps in floating mode

    2. Opening older notifications in floating mode"


  • O’s Fan91

    Darn cool, I could easily see something like this in a future version of Android.

  • Bruce

    Oode is on android police? Must be very proud!

    • ChrisNacca

      Very hounred :)

  • Justin Quang

    especially dont like this because it reminds me of ios and makes me feel like im using one of those iphone-wannabe android phones.

    • Cj

      Hate on something because it's similar to an iOS interface?
      That's a very close minded view.

      • Justin Quang

        you cant be too open-minded when it comes to apple. they dont like you making things similar to them while its okay the other way around.
        and this is a completely ripoff, not similar.
        also, there are other ways to implement this (someone mentioned they had different iterations for testing and they intentionally chose this).

        • Cj

          If it's true they tested various implementation I can only assume they have their reason for why they considered this the best solution. It also means they didn't just go out and rip off Apple. It just so happened they considered Apple's implementation worthwhile. I think there is something to be said for that sort of open-minded development. You don't make a feature just to be different, if something works why not utilize it (and in this case enhance it).

          • Justin Quang

            thats how I think and understand the way technology works. but try to tell that to apple. and you know where youll end up. theyre very selfish, self-eccentric, and self-absorbed. and thats why i dont like it. its like begging them to take you to court.

          • IamTheFij

            Doubt they'll take it to court. Anyway, I haven't reviewed what patents Apple may have, but it doesn't seem identical in interface.

            Before Apple added notifications like that there was Growl on Mac (open source). It added pop up style notifications to Mac Desktops. Then Growl came to Jailbroken iPhones. Then Apple built similar functionality into iOS and OSX.

            So even if Apple does have a patent on it, it must be very specific to get around prior art. Good chance that this wouldn't even infringe. That is, if it was worth Apple's attention.

            As litigious as they are, you'll notice Apple doesn't really sue the "little guys". It's the big guns vs big guns. If HTC or Samsung did this, then sure.

  • xmattjus

    Now try to implement that Cyanogen team, instead of uselessly modifying the lock screen (see 1+1's CyanogenMod 11S).

  • EH101

    Interesting. I like the much improved notification preview, but the floating window thing seems a bit pointless.

    • lolz

      Were you familiar with Halo?
      The floating window allows you to open a second app without leaving for first app so you don't need to exit your game or youtube or whatever just to reply to a text.

      • EH101

        Yeah I get that, but I never liked it. What's the difference between that and going to the app via the notification, replying, then using task/app switcher to come back? 2 button/on screen presses and a few seconds? Color me unimpressed.

        • lolz

          I mean, everyone doesn't have to love every feature implemented (that's obviously not expected)
          But to me, I love that I don't need to reload my video or restart my game or whatever. It's a very minor thing but it makes the process feel like a much for fluid multi-tasking experience

          • EH101

            I could see how those would be issues back when we had devices with less than 1gb of RAM, but those aren't issues anymore for the most part. On my S5 with its relatively small(these days) 2gb of RAM, I can load a game, pause and leave to search something in Chrome, then go back and it's still there waiting on pause. That's exactly how a real computer works when you leave a fullscreen game. (if you only have one screen)

            These over-another-app apps seem like an exercise in laziness more than anything.

          • lolz

            To each their own :)
            works for me and I appreciate it

          • EH101

            Indeed. I will just hope they have an option to launch the associated app instead of the floating window. Best of both worlds.

          • Mario E Hdez

            I must admit when i first tried Halo through a custom ROM I really didn't like it. Now however, running it through XPOSED I really appreciate and love it. I get a pop up bubble when a notification comes through and I have the option of opening as a normal app or opening as a floating window. Using XHalo and Floatifications combination.

          • TLK3

            It's called efficiency and ease of use. Not laziness.

        • Labrat

          Initially I agreed with you but when I tried Halo, I understood the usefulness. I wasn't a fan of the hovering bubble so I will give this a try.

          Anyway, it's less common these day but some applications will loose their context when not in focus. Games like Clash of Clans will often re-start to reload content to make sure it's fresh and I guess for security reasons. Youtube is a good example too where the buffered video and play/stop can be finicky sometimes.

          With the big screens and per app DPI (not there yet in PA4) it was quiet useful to just have the app overlay and auto dismissed on action. You are right, it's minimal but this is a use case you might do 10 times+ a day so it does compound.

          To each is own, but I do suggest trying it before knocking it!

          • EH101

            I will say I tried the Halo implementation and I wasn't able to last two days with it before disabling it. If this comes with the pop up not being able to be disabled, it will suffer the same fate as Halo for me.

          • TLK3

            Per App DPI available via App Settings Xposed module.

    • Matthew Fry
      • EH101

        Yup, really like that app. Only issue is it isn't built in so it handles multiple notifications pretty badly. Can't have it all. Not yet at least.

  • Ant
    • Anon

      And probably some other apps, iOS and windows phone .... no one said the interface was brand new. It's a simple notification drop down. The benefit is the expanded option and the floating windows.

    • Matthew Fry

      I'm going to try that out and see how I like the presentation but I agree that the floating window makes it much more functional.

  • vyktorsouza

    Looks like SlideLock

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS


  • Serotheo

    That Droid Sans.

  • dodolom

    Does it work on locked screen or just when the screen is unlocked?

  • n_a_v

    apparently i've been mispronouncing no-iffa-cation and beeta incorrectly all this time.

    • peatcoal

      Yep, you have.

  • Jess L

    Dang! I want that but I'm running rooted Stock 4.3 on my Note 3.

  • Deeco

    Xposed bound. Custom roms are so dead!

  • GJV

    Dude, trim that skin hanging off your finger before you make a video!