Every major Android update changes the way notifications work in several ways, but those of us who follow Beta revisions to the OS know Google experiments with even more temporary modifications before settling on a final version. We've already covered the new naming, grouping, and snoozing features for notifications in Android Q Beta 5, but another aspect has been tweaked as well: lockscreen notifications.
Now that you can put widgets on your lockscreen, there's a whole host of things you can do even before unlocking your phone. and if that's not enough, there are afewalternativelockscreens that will let you do even more. Today we're getting another one from a slightly surprising source: Microsoft. Say hello to the Next Lock Screen, an app from the company's Microsoft Garage internal team.
I say it's only slightly surprising because Microsoft has been releasing a staggering amount of Android apps of late. But I digress: Next Lock Screen attempts to combine an agenda view sourced from your phone's calendar with a quick launcher system, accessible with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
At this point, Android's notification system is pretty elegant. But there's no way to avoid confusion (and for some users, frustration) when a ton of notifications come in all at once. Echo Lockscreen attempts to fix that with a lockscreen replacement that puts your current notifications front and center, then organizes them by app or urgency. Currently Echo is in alpha testing, and it's a free download in the Play Store.
The primary display has a date, time, and battery widget above the notification area. Incoming notifications will automatically be tossed underneath the appropriate header by app: missed calls, texts, and emails are under "Priority," Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media apps go in "Social," Dropbox and finance apps go in "Work," and so on.
When it comes to getting various notifications while your device's display is off, a built-in LED is useful. However, it's far from perfect. Sure, you can customize each notification with something like Light Flow, but that doesn't let you know the message contents at a glance. And, of course, there are also devices that don't have an LED at all, like the Nexus 7 for example. If you're looking for more out of your notification experience, Knock²+ may be the answer.
Update: Apparently the app isn't compatible with the Nexus 7 right now, but the dev is working out the kinks and should update the app "soon."