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.
The first notable update for the new Android version of Mailbox adds a spiffy, time-saving feature: action buttons in the app's email notifications. Users should now see a "Reply" button on the expanded Mailbox notification, as well as "Archive" and "Snooze" buttons, which are activated via swipes while in the app itself. These should help achieve the app's stated goal of making email organization faster and easier for time-strapped mobile users.
Mirroring Android notifications to a desktop is far from a new feature for Pushbullet, but now the app displays the full images that go with each message. This makes glancing at a pop-up and deciding whether it needs immediate attention even easier.
The Gmail app doesn't provide the option to mark notifications as read, and it drives many users up the wall. MarkAsRead entered the Play Store less than a week ago and, as the name suggests, tackled this issue head on. Now an update is available that adds the ability to mark a message as read and archive it at the same time, just as the developer promised.
MarkAsRead for Gmail is a quintessential Android app. It does just one thing, and before you go hunting for an app description to figure it out, try giving its name another read. That's right, MarkAsRead for Gmail... lets you mark Gmail messages as read straight from the notification. In between the usual archive and reply buttons that Google provides out of the box, this app sneaks in that ever-so-useful (mark as) read option.
The Touchless Control feature on the Moto X and Verizon's 2013 DROIDs (Ultra, Maxx, and Mini) is already one of the coolest Android manufacturer add-ons around. Today it gets just a little cooler: the Touchless Control app was updated to add a "What's up" command. This voice command will make your phone read out the unread notifications in your status bar. This should be great for hands-free updates while driving. Or bathing.
Lockscreen feeling a little boring? Why not toss the whole thing out and try something different? Many third-party lockscreens are a bit awkward and lack features, but SlideLock seems like it does some cool stuff. SlideLock stands in for your stock lockscreen and replicates the notifications from the notification shade so you can deal with them without unlocking the phone.
SlideLock has a clean interface with a clock, date, and custom (optional) status bar.
The latest update to the immensely useful Pushbullet app introduces the ability to fully sync your Android device's notification drawer with Chrome on your computer. Previously, users could only watch phone or tablet notifications pop up on their desktop, with a recent version adding the ability to dismiss them from either device. Now Chrome's notification center will fully sync up with your phone's drawer, allowing you to manage alerts even after they've faded from the screen.