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Video: Hands-on With Paranoid Android’s HALO Feature


Paranoid Android’s HALO feature is currently the talk of the custom ROM town. Acting as a “Chat Head on steroids,” you can get system-wide notifications popped up in a fully-functional chat bubble for easy access and management. It works for any app no matter where you are throughout your device. If you are playing a game and get an email, you can easily pop up the bubble, reply, then get back to gaming. No need to leave the game. It’s pretty sweet. 

With all of that said, there is still some work to be done. For example, the ability to manage multiple notifications simultaneously would be helpful, as well as the ability to re-size the HALO. These are alpha builds, so who knows what else we can expect from this extremely talented team of developers.

To get Halo onto your device, download the ROM here.

  • Lane252

    Tim sounds so monotone… come on get excited…we love your work but perk up.

  • Steve Benson

    I loaded the previous build of PA on my Gnex a couple weeks ago and it ran like garbage. Constant stuttering and lag everywhere. Flashed back to Shiny and all was well.

    Loaded the current build of PA on my Nexus 7 yesterday and again, it ran like total garbage. Stuttering and lag all over the place. Unresponsiveness for 2-5 seconds at a time. My user account was okay but when I switched over to my wife’s account, her UI was completely unusable.

    Any JB ROM I’ve ever used that was branched off of the CM tree has been complete garbage for me. I’m hoping for a better experience when 4.3 (or 5.0) comes out next week.

  • David Narada Brown

    I love this new feature in my already favorite rom. The next phone i purchase will need support from the dev to make this rom available or it must have a new feature that tops this and other advantages from this rom. Paranoid Android is a game changer!

  • I wish some dev on xda will creat a flashable zip of this

  • spickle

    euummmm. ummmm. euuummmm. ugh.

  • tim make that clock on your nexus 4 3×3 it looks so much better

  • Alex Hutchins

    I tried this and I didn’t really like it. I guess that’s because I didn’t like chat heads either. I just hope PA makes clicking a notification bring up the windowed app instead of having to use that HALO; like in their first teaser video.

    • EraserXIV

      I think this is the perfect middle ground for people who are opposed to having the small little circle in their view.

      • Justin Swanson

        The _only_ foreseeable issue why they might want a permanent head would be because of full screen apps/games that hide the status bar.

        • Sherri Felix

          THIS is why I need an AOKP ROM. I use Light Flow so led lights up even if I am using full screen, and Smart Taskbar to open any app that lights up. (Different color LEDs for different apps…)

        • Alex Hutchins

          Well in that case you can enable it real quick if you want to use it fullscreen. I do like the fact that the halo is easily disabled, but dislike the fact windowed apps no longer work if it is disabled.

        • triumphtriple

          As long as you are not on silent mode, Smart Status Bar is the solution. In full screen mode, swipe down from the top for the status bar. Works on any phone.

          • Justin Swanson

            Yeah, I’ve seen it and have it installed. My wife’s Note 2 doesn’t even need it. Something with Touchwhiz.

  • Robert MacDonald

    He is a little wrong. it dont work for everthing. Kik messenger dont work

  • JMonkeYJ

    i do like the potential of this once the improvements Tim mentions are in, but i gotta say, dang PA’s default talk app is a mess!! haha

    • Justin Swanson

      It’s just in tablet mode 😉

  • Mike

    Sorry for going a bit off topic but what rom is the S4 running in the vid? I like the app icons on that.

    • Steve Benson

      It’s not a ROM but a custom launcher theme. Tim’s most likely running Nova Launcher with one of Kovdev’s themes from the Play Store. Search for Kovdev in the Play Store. It’s most likely Tersus, Lustre or Stark.

      • Mike

        ahhhhh. Launcher. I didn’t even think of that. I always just assume its some gnarly ROM customization. Nice to know its a quick launcher set up. Thanks for the info.

  • EraserXIV

    Anyone try flashing it over CM10.1 without a full wipe? I usually wipe but I’m not quite the crack-flasher I once used to be, don’t have the patience any more to reinstall all my apps.

    • Justin Swanson

      You probably won’t like the results. You must always wipe, crack flasher or not.

    • Ayush

      I mean you can wipe and still not need to “reinstall” with a nandroid backup. It’ll do the reinstalling for you 😀

    • Pengwn

      I would wipe the device first. They did a rewrite of some framework files in order to get HALO to work. That could play screwy with whatever leftover CM code is.

      I typically do a clean instal when going from one ROM to another (CM to PA in your case), flashing to a major update, or if it’s been 5-7 dirty flashes in a row.

    • David Narada Brown

      PA is based on CM10 and a few months back CM made it so you dont have to do a full wipe. I just Wipe Dalvik cache, then flash my @$$ off (excuse the lingo i got a lil excited)! lol. but as long as you are within CM10 base rom I dont think a full wipe is necessary.

    • EraserXIV

      Ended up doing a full wipe. Liking what I see so far, there’s a lot of potential. UI needs to be tweaked a bit, there’s some quirky stuff going on from a design standpoint, but functionally it’s pretty smooth.

  • Mario Beric

    Ongoing notifications can’t be displayed, since this uses only the information from the ticker notifications. They are the ones with just text and image. Complex notifications, like the mentioned music one, use a custom view, so this just won’t work for them.

  • tracy norton

    I’ve had that same functionality for a long time using sms ninja. Great lil app

  • I’m about to flash it here in a few minutes. Is there anyway to pick which apps use halo? I really just want to use it with stock sms and gtalk.

    • Been running this since last night. No way to pick and choose — it’s all or none.

      • I flashed. Didn’t like and flashed my aokp back. PA and all the dpi for the individual apps is a pain to get back to normal and also seemed laggy. Anyway you can get PIE and have the statusbar?

        • Archangel

          LMT, search for it on XDA. Love it, live it. So much more useful and informative than any other PIE controls baked into any rom.

  • Hey man.

    • ‘Sup bro!

    • Tim242

      How’s “it” hangin?

      • Justin Swanson

        Hey Homes

  • For those of you who don’t like the tablet layout of the apps on the window which opens, let me just say. You CAN change it. I didnt like it either

  • Chris Mullins

    It’s a chathead. Literally. It shouldn’t be a question.

  • Tyrone Thomas

    If I have UCCW widgets covering my home screens, do these chat heads go over top of them? Currently with FB Messenger chat heads they do not.

  • Stevedub40

    Man, do I miss having a Nexus device. I am hopeful that development for the S4 will be better than the DNA and I will get to play with some of this new stuff. This is why iOS will never be on the same level as Android, just too many great devs using technology to its fullest.

    • Aaron

      More iOS/Android comparison comments. Sigh, when will these go away.

      • Sqube

        When will we stop comparing the two biggest names in the mobile space? I’m going to go with “not anytime soon.”

    • KleenDroid

      The DNA is not a device that should have been purchased with development in mind. If development is of interest there is a very clear winner with a few distant runner ups.

    • Steve Benson

      S4 isn’t a smart choice if you’re looking for development. It will get lots of attention, but will always have a ton of bugs just like the S3. The clear choice is always a Nexus device if you’re buying a phone with development in mind.

  • TheCraiggers

    “With all of that said, there is still some work to be done. For example,
    the ability to manage multiple notifications simultaneously would be
    helpful, as well as the ability to re-size the HALO.”

    Both of those features are on the roadmap to be done, looks like.

  • Damian

    I wish Google would bake this into the next version of Android

    • Tim242

      Why? It goes against Android’s design/use.

      • idk. I think it goes pretty well with the google+ look.

      • Damian

        Because I like it? Just my opinion, no need to listen to me

        • Tim242

          It would be cool as an add on. I just don’t think it should be a part of stock.

          • Damian

            It probably never will be, but one can dream

        • Ronaldo


      • FIts pretty well tbh.

        • Tim242

          Not with Google’s notification system.

    • eidylon

      Or even if PA would release it as a standalone app. I’m sure there must be a way, integrating with notifications along the same lines as LightFlow