Paranoid Android team bringing multi-window mode to Android

Paranoid Android is a custom version of Android that’s been pushing the boundaries of the platform for a while. The developers were among the first to let users decide on a per-app basis whether to use the tablet or smartphone version of various apps. And Paranoid Android’s PIE menu reinvents the Android button and notification scheme.

Now the team is working to change the way Android handles multitasking, by adding support for apps that don’t run in full-screen, and which can be viewed on top of your currently running apps.

Paranoid Android overlay

Right now the software is very much a work in progress, and the Paranoid Android Team says the demo video shows less than 10 percent of the planned functionality.

What you can see in the video is a system that lets you open an app in normal full-screen mode, or open that same app in a small pop-up window that partially covers whatever you’re already looking at.

This lets you interact with an app (say a music player, Facebook or Twitter app, or chat app) without really exiting the other apps you’re using. You can see the background app while using the foreground program, and when you’re done you just minimize the pop-up and it goes away.

CyanogenMod already offers the same sort of pop-up view for incoming text messages. But Paranoid Android wants to make it available to all sorts of different apps.

But pop-up windows are just the start. Eventually the plan is to put together a complete system for multi-window management which could let you run more than one Android app at the same time on the same screen.

via reddit

  • http://twitter.com/mikecane Mike Cane

    This is a capability I’m hoping Key Lime Pie itself will offer. It needs to be Official Android for widespread adoption by devs. Hacks are nice, but I still sting from PalmOS 5.0 taking away Hackmaster and all the lovely hacks I used.

  • obarthelemy

    Cyanogen had started working on something similar, but they got shot down by Google with threats of “no more market access”. At issue is that this capabilitiy can break apps, because apps are not supposed to handle having their window resized after launch, nor weird ratios.
    One of the few rules of the market is “don’t break/modify other apps”. Apparently, that rule applies to mods who want the market, too.

    • drcmda

      it was cornerstones work, cyanogenmod just kanged it by clicking a button and that was their involvement.
      as you can see from the video this obviously doesn’t break apps – at worst it has the same effect on apps that a smaller screen has. since even a htc wildfire runs these apps (in a smaller frame probably) i don’t see any reason why this would cause google to get upset.

      besides, this is not PA trying to re-invent the wheel here, it will be different from the usual approach. when people think of multi-window they literally have not the slightest clue what this will turn into, it will not be about dragging apps around for no reason.

    • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

      Cyanogen isn’t allowed to distribute the Market/Play and other Google applications anyways. You have to load them manually after the installation of Cyanogen. (at least this was the case for my HP Touchpad)

  • J.Ack

    This is misleading.

    It’s just a window overlay.

    THey shouldn’t have called it ‘multi window’ because that’s like Samsung’s, and Parandoid’s one isn’t the same.