December 19, 2013 By: Samantha
It’s pretty undeniable that Paranoid Android’s revolutionary Halo feature is amazing. In fact, the idea that one can concurrently run a full-fledged app on top of another on a mobile device was so amazing that to many, it was like a caveman discovering fire.
One limitation that was holding Halo back from its full potential, however, was that apps could only be launched in floating mode if a relevant notification was received on the device. This meant that many apps could not not launched because they do not have a notification system, and that apps that do have notifications will only be able to be launched in floating mode if something new happened.
There have been a few apps that feature the added capability of launching apps in Halo mode, of which some have been covered on the XDA Portal. However, more often than not, it’s a secondary function ontop of a primary function that not everyone may need. For people searching for a simpler solution, HaloShortcuts may do the trick.
Developed by XDA Senior Member zst123, HaloShortcuts is straightforward in concept. It allows users to create shortcuts to apps installed on their devices, and launch them in floating mode—a quick and simple remedy. zst123 notes that only ROMs that use the intent flag 0x00002000, such as Paranoid Android, will be compatible with the app. HaloShortcuts may also work with OmniRom’s multiwindow feature, but this is yet to be confirmed. HaloShortcuts is also open source, and its source and be found at its Github.
So if you’ve been looking for a simpler way of launching apps in floating mode without going through too many hoops, you may want to check out HaloShortcuts at its original thread for more details and download.
November 18, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps, and it’s widely available on various mobile platforms. It allows users to contact friends in many countries cheaply. However, many are unhappy with its default UI, hence the dozens of themes spread across the forum.
A great idea was presented by XDA Forum Member seebye, who decided to combine WhatsApp with some of the good originally seen in Facebook. As a result, Seebye Chat Heads was created. In short, this application uses the WhatsApp messaging system, and displays messages in a manner similar to Facebook’s chat heads.
The notifications can be freely moved around the screen and used while in other applications, just like Facebook messages. Despite the relatively early stage of development, as this app is beta, the overall experience is impressive and the application very easy to use. To be fully functional, WhatsApp needs to be installed and root access granted. And if you experience issues, good old reboot may be required.
So if you can’t live without WhatsApp and find your current client boring, visit the application thread and enjoy the HALO-like experience.
[Thanks to Forum Moderator GermainZ for the tip!]
PIE Controls and HALO are two open source innovations created by the Paranoid Android team that are just unquestionably awesome. However, as awesome as they are, you may not want them enabled at all times. Enabling and disabling them only takes a few taps and not much effort, but it can be made even easier.
If you frequently enable and disable PIE and/or HALO, XDA Forum Member filipkowicz‘s latest app PA Shortcuts may be exactly what you need. The app allows you to toggle PIE mode (full screen), HALO, HALO hide, and HALO reverse control.
So how do you access these shortcuts? Simple. You can either drag the shortcuts to your desktop like standard apps. However, if your launcher supports gestures, the preferred way of accessing the shortcuts is to launch the shortcuts that way. As described by the developer:
Best way to use them is attach them to gestures in your launcher but you can place them on homescreen like any other shortcuts. Moreover app can create one fake “APP” which make the same thing as shortcuts but system treat it as regular APP so you can attach this APP to HALO with HALO))) app.
To get started, head over to the original thread.
June 25, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The much maligned Android development known as Facebook Home has gone the way of the dodo bird. However, the “chat heads” feature of Facebook Messenger is still favored in the Paranoid Android feature called Halo. Halo was intended to bring a new level of multitasking to Paranoid Android ROMs by allowing the user to receive notifications from apps and act on them from a floating or “windowed” version of the app in question.
In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin shows you how use floating notifications and multitasking your device. Kevin talks about Halo and some other options. What are you waiting for? Check out this video.
We applaud new and interesting open source developments that look to find novel ways to solve a problem—things like the Xposed framework and OpenPDroid. It is these sort of projects that exemplify what open source is, and why we at XDA embrace it. It is also for that very same reason why we’re excited about a new open source project, HALO from the creators of the Paranoid Android ROM.
HALO, as previously discussed, brings notifications (conceptually derived from Facebook’s Chat Heads feature) from applications into a floating window and allows you to interact with that application. While this is similar to the Samsung Multi-window functionality, it differs in one key point: It is now open source! Any source-based ROM is able to make use of what the Paranoid Android team has done and bring this functionality to their users with minimal changes. From PA’s Google+ post, the developer of the ROM needs to look at these two commits:
HALO extends Android as it is based on the AOSP source, while also granting app developers the ability to bring the visual aspect to their application. Below is a nice overview of the project and if you like what you see, definitely head on over to the github commits and get involved.