Though it's a bit late to the party, Amazon is entering the competitive fitness tracker space with its new Halo Band wearable and corresponding Halo app — complete with a subscription service, because you need another one of those. Amazon's version takes a decidedly low-tech angle compared to other options on the market, skipping the screen for a bunch of sensors, a benefit that provides up to seven-day battery life. It'll even use a microphone to record your "Tone" throughout the day and determine the "energy and positivity in a customer’s voice," and the app can use its camera to measure your body fat percentage.
In a world full of ways to express oneself, sticker packs and emoticons remain some of my favorites. Being a user of Telegram, I often take advantage of the stickers there (my favorite is the Geralt of Rivia/Witcher pack). SwiftKey is continuing to add new features via its Toolbar. Now users can look for two new items: a set of emoticons from Skype and a Halo sticker pack.
Do you like Halo? I mean really like Halo, like you've got a little light-up Cortana on your desk and you actually know the names of the various rainbow color versions of the Master Chief? Can you write me a 20-page essay on the leadup to and fallout from the battle of Reach? Then today is your lucky day, because Halo has come to Android... in the form of a video app with clips and guides and stuff. OK, so maybe not especially lucky.
Since Microsoft seems oblivious to the fact that no one really expects the next installment of Halo to blow anyone away, they've decided to try and push it as a cultural nexus analogous to Call of Duty or League of Legends.
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.
Fans of ROM flashing were a bit perturbed when a Paranoid Android developer announced several weeks ago that PA's Halo multitasking system was dead. The situation was certainly more nuanced than that, but the Paranoid Android Google+ account has finally posted a clarification of what's happening with the next version. The short version is... everything's changing.
You are going to be waiting a loooooooooooong time. Halo is dead.
The story was picked up by the folks at the Android subreddit, where reactions ranged from dismissive to inconsolable. Luckily, another member of the Paranoid Android team, "SferaDev," stepped in to shed a little light on the situation. The developer stated that the shifting UI standards introduced in KitKat have led the team to reconsider its approach to the unique software additions in PA.
The developers behind ParanoidAndroid have been busy building incremental updates to the popular ROM. It's usually a few bug fixes and a couple new features, but the newest version of ParanoidAndroid contains something super-cool. Halo 2.0 has been demoed on video as part of PA 3.97.
Halo is ParanoidAndroid's custom multitasking system that works on the same premise as Facebook Chat Heads. A tiny floating icon can be used to retrieve notifications and background apps without leaving the current application. It was already cool, but v2.0 could be an amazing update. The new Halo supports multitouch so you can interact with the notifications and app previews without pulling up the floating window.
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.
Paranoid Android made headlines last week when it announced a new take on mutitasking called Halo. While the feature wasn't available for user testing at the time, the team has now pushed out early alpha builds for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 3G, GSM Galaxy Nexus, and Oppo Find 5.
This is still a "very early build" of the ROM, so expect bugs, crashes, and other odd side-effects that come along with using alpha software; in other words, don't expect to use this as a daily driver.
Still, the PA team claims to be about halfway through its Halo implementation, as it has broken integration into three phases: rewriting the framework, getting Halo performing its basic functions, and allowing notification-switching directly through the Halo interface.