Let’s say you go into a meeting that lasts a couple of hours and need to be away from your phone. When you come back, how does your notification situation look? Is it overwhelming? Are there lines for Gmail, Twitter, application updates, and calendar notifications all jumbled together in some random order? Probably, I know my notification area looks like that if I am away from my phone for even 30 minutes.
Echo is an app that wants to help fix that frustrating situation by taking to your lock screen and organizing it with notifications.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Echo takes your notifications and prioritizes them depending on a number of factors. There is a “Priority” category for the most important stuff, but also categories for things like “Work” and “Social.” Echo will light up your screen for the important notifications, which would be those in the “Priority” category, while keeping things a little less in-your-face when the notifications aren’t so pressing.
How does it figure out what to put in “Priority?” Well, it tries to learn your habits to automatically prioritize the notifications you open often. That’s about all we know for now, but the app is still technically in “beta,” which means new features or more control over this category could come later on.
Each category acts like a drop-down menu that shows individual notifications that can either be dismissed one-by-one or with an “X” that clears them all.
Beyond the notification organizing, Echo also takes a page out of Mailbox’s book by allowing you to dismiss notifications with an option to bring them back later on. With a swipe on a notification to the right, you can tell Echo to bring that notification back by location (ex: when you are out, home, at work) or time (ex: one hour from now, in the morning, or tomorrow).
To unlock your phone with Echo on, a simple swipe to the right will do it. As your lock screen, Echo also shows time, date, and your current battery percentage.
If you were looking for a couple of things that need to be addressed that may prevent you from fully diving into Echo, we have a short list to suggest to the developer. For one, actionable items in notifications like Gmail messages don’t seem to be there. So you can dismiss a Gmail notification, but not quickly reply to or delete it. Notifications also are not synced across devices, so Hangouts messages that were read or dismissed long ago on your computer or other device, may still be showing in Echo. And finally, notifications from the same app do not seem to be bundling, so if someone were to send you multiple Hangouts messages, they may show up on separate lines.
The app is completely free and only asks that you give it access to your notifications. Feel free to give it a shot.
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