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Paranoid Android to Introduce New Multi-Windowing Chat Head-like Feature in Upcoming Alpha Build

Paranoid Android

Details are still scarce as to what exactly is going on, but there are plenty of teasers on Google+ and YouTube taking place, showing proof of concept for a new “multi-window” feature that is to be baked into the Paranoid Android ROM. Please allow me to try and explain. Imagine a Chat Heads-like function for every application on your device. That is what they are working on. 

From what they have said on their G+ page, this will be a marriage (that’s what we’re calling it) between multi-windows and Chat Heads, allowing users to access apps/messages while they are doing anything else on their device. For example, if you are playing a game that takes up your full screen, then get a message on Gtalk, a window will pop up allowing you full control over Gtalk while still inside your game. This functionality will work for any app on your phone. Facebook, Skype, uploading photos to Dropbox, or anything else you might need to do on your phone.

If this sounds exciting to you (it certainly should), you can expect alpha builds to start popping up for Nexus devices within the next couple of days according to the video’s uploader on YouTube. In the mean time, below is a video showing off the initial concept, but how it actually works and looks will be different according to the uploader. Once builds go up, we will link you to them.


Via: +Paranoid Android

Cheers Chris and everyone else who sent this in!

  • big jeff

    Lmao all of u got sacked your galaxy nexus does this by itself lol this ain’t new to galaxy nexus its pre installed by default under google activate by default by google don’t get googled by this waste of space on ur phone nexus does everything nexus generation does the best phone onmarket today don’t mess ur phone up

  • Sergio

    it is a good news… cant wait to have it.

    Legend Cars

  • Chatheads was the only good thing about FB Home…everything else was soooo boring…made me feel like I had iOS…But I’d want to shut off normal app notifications cuz I was getting two texts…if this is the new Android text service on Nexus devices though..woooo

  • NCSUgolfer01

    I also dig that wallpaper. Anyone know where to find it?

  • this is really awesome. i’m using ninja sms now, and i love that is doesn’t stop any app im running. keep it up!

  • The Paranoid Android team is like Apple. They take everyone’s ideas and somehow make it seem like they “revolutionized” things.

    • napes22

      The difference is that they are actually making it happen.

  • DanWazz

    Can’t wait! I switched to PA a few months ago and have not turned back. Every time I think of switching, they introduce something new. Plus, the ROM is stable and smooth.

  • Christopher Riner

    OMFG. Dude, software just keeps getting g better and better. People are getting more and more creative, and (honestly) more simple with their approach of how to interact with a device. This feature alone blows basically any other feature ever created out of the water. I can’t wait to try this out; I’ve been waiting to see a multi window port for nexus devices but this is waaaaay sweeter.

  • Lane252

    all hail DROID

  • Guest

    all hell the great Droid

  • Man I am about to flash Paranoid ROM I cannot wait for the nest stable release

    • Steve Benson

      If you’re on a Galaxy Nexus, skip PA. Nexus is getting too tired to run ROMs like this. It’s really starting to show its age.

      • Not true, PA runs perfectly on my GNEX. Always has.

      • I have Nexus 4
        But I dont see how PA would have any problem with G Nexus it has pretty good spec for two year old phone

  • Bunklung

    Looks like someone will be switching from an unlocked HTC One and switching back to a Nexus device. PA might be a VERY long way away for a port on the HTC One.

  • Chris Badalucco

    Cheers Tim!

  • I use a app called contactplus that does something similar. It pop up text over any app you are using.

  • brkshr

    I’m not exactly seeing where the advantage is in this, over how Android currently implements multi-tasking. I feel like this is just a crowd pleaser, so people can see that their app is still in the background, unchanged & they can go back to it. Meanwhile, they have to use a smaller window to see whatever the notification/task is at hand. How is this any better than how Google currently handles multi-tasking, with full windows & the recents menu? I go to the notification/task, then go back to the last window in Recents… all is the same. If there were two windows open side by side, I could see the advantage in that.

    Edit: I give them props for taking on a huge task like this. I just don’t get why… Maybe, I need it in hand to see why?
    EDIT: Maybe, ‘popup app windows’ would be a more accurate term?

    • Roy Harper

      One benefit is that it leaves both apps in the foreground. Some apps, especially games, will have to reload when you come back after switching to another running task.

    • Jon

      Well it would save you having to press the recents button and then press the app you want to go back to. You just simply finish up whatever your doing in the pop up, and your previous window is already sitting right there waiting for you.

      I think this new option has a lot of potential. It will be interesting when it gets into peoples hands and the average users start making feedback and some more refinements are made. Could be really amazing after a few tweaks and updates.

  • Jon

    This looks like it may be really awesome. chat head like icon that stays on top of a game or any app, and allows you to quickly pull up a pop up window to address whatever app is on top, then you can go right back to the main app underneath without interruption.

    That’s a very cool idea and I am now very happy that Facebook innovated with Facebook Home. Even though I will never use Facebook Home, it has obviously sparked the imagination of a few others to create something great.

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  • This looks amazing

  • I’m sorry to sound ignorant but I don’t really understand what the benefit of this is. Can someone explain it to me like I’m 5? (I read the article and saw the video, I just cant wrap my head around it)

    • tanknspank

      Have you seen any of the videos about Facebook’s “chat heads”? It’s the same basic idea. Whenever you get a notification, be it at your homescreen, in the facebook app or in the middle of a game of angry birds, a little circle will pop up on your screen, allowing quick access to that notification without having to leave the app you’re currently in. So imagine if someone messages you on facebook while you are in the rousing game of Angry Birds, you can tap on the chat head, pausing the game but not removing you from it (forcing a reload on most phones), reply to the message, and get right back to your game.

      But let’s not stop there. Imagine you are uploading a photo or file to dropbox. After starting the upload, it could take a while so you move onto something else, like browsing twitter. When that finally uploads, a “chat head” will pop up on your screen, allowing you to take action on the finally uploaded file or photo and share it to the person you wanted to in a text. After you send it, just close out the popped up app and you’re right back to browsing your twitter feed.

      The possibilities go on and on.

      • Holy hell, that IS beneficial! I guess it’s something I just got use to but now that this exists I can see how I’m handicapped by the lack of notification and ACTUAL multi tasking. It’s such a small set back but it’s so important.
        Thank you for the explanation man, appreciate it.

      • JoshGroff

        That was an excellent description, it certainly yields some interesting possibilities.

  • tanknspank

    This is why the Android community is awesome. It has it’s moments where it makes you wonder if it’s made up of a bunch of 12 year olds, but then someone comes along and introduces something extremely innovative like this and brings it all back together.

    • And then you realize most of the 12 year olds are working on Sense and Touchwiz.

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  • derek connolly

    Anyone know what icon pack that is. I really like it!

  • Shane Redman


    • tanknspank

      All notifications will be able to be accessed this way. So while your music is playing, a chat head will appear that when tapped will pop up with the music player, allowing you to change the song just like in the video.

  • Not really like a chat head if you have to put the notifications down then click on it to pop up. still cool i guess

    • Like I mention in the post, that is not how they will be accessed upon release. That is to show proof of concept.

    • cjohnson481

      just that the showed off the underlying multi window part of it. from what ive read from their G+ page, the “chat heads” like portion of it will be where notifications would pop up and be actionable, rather than pulling down the notification window.

    • dp917

      The video is just showing the basic function. The picture at the beginning of the post is more what will happen with the bubble with a 2, it will pop up on screen, then clicking that will function like in the video

      • Ah ha didnt even see the chat head icon in the pic.

    • aj

      Ray is so hot! 😀 I’m sorry, but you are…