Most of you should be pretty familiar with Facebook’s Messenger App. Although there are a couple of concerns for some users like random crashing, delayed notifications, certain bugs, etc, one cannot deny the usefulness of the ‘chat-head’ bubble feature in Messenger. Basically, your chats appear as a pop-up bubble that floats on top of other application so you can easily keep your conversation going without having to minimize or switch between apps. This feature makes chatting much faster and sending/receiving messages becomes easier than on a browser.
Similarly, there are plenty of ‘Floating’ apps on the Play Store that offers similar kind of functionality. Say you want to take some notes while watching a tutorial video on YouTube, trying to complete a game but can’t ignore a special someone’s chat, calculating some scores from an online spreadsheet, etc. There are many instances where floating apps can be very useful for multitasking or increasing workflow and here is a quick guide how to use a few of them.
Float any messaging app on your phone
Using Flychat, you can create chat bubble-heads (similar to Facebook’s Messenger) for different messaging applications. To get started with Flychat, simply download the application from the Play Store, open the application and it will automatically detect all the messaging apps that are installed on your phone. On the application, you can select for whichever messengers you want the chat heads, and you can even put in different themes, change the chat color, set notifications or even block particular contacts.
Flychat currently works for messengers like WhatsApp, Telegram, Hangouts, Line, Allo, Slack, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, and many more. However, note that the Application isn’t perfect and it might not work flawlessly for every messenger. In our testing, we noticed that it didn’t display videos on WhatsApp and also it didn’t always create chat heads for Hangouts. Another issue we noticed was that it wouldn’t create separate chat heads for a single app. For example, if you would have more than two different conversations going on in WhatsApp, you cannot have multiple chat heads for each conversation. All your conversations are laid out in different columns but the transition between them isn’t as fluid.
Float your notes
As the name suggests, Sticky Notes is a simple hassle free app that can be used to take notes and save them. Similar to the Windows Sticky Notes, your notes can be easily resized, minimized or dragged anywhere on the screen. You can even share your notes directly to other applications and the best feature is the ability to take notes instantly on top of other applications be it any games, whether you might be watching a video on YouTube, browsing the web or even while taking a call.
Watch YouTube videos in a floating video player
Say you want to stream YouTube while fiddling on Twitter at the same time? You can do that using ‘Background Floating Tube’. Basically, it is an app that allows you to play any YouTube Videos on a floating re-sizable player that can play on top of any other application. The video player is movable and can also be minimized. The player also gives all of the controls similar to the mobile YouTube app and so you can easily share, adjust volume, video quality, enable/disable subtitles, straight from the floating screen itself.
Float your web browsing with floating tabs
Flyperlink and Flynx are basically web browsers specifically designed for multitasking on smartphones. Using these apps you can open any links or websites as bubble heads that can also be minimized. The heads float on top of other apps so you can easily multitask. Using Flyperlink, you can have multiple links opened and switching between them is only a swipe away. Another cool feature in Flyperlink is that it supports adblock and also includes Chrome Custom Tabs.
Float specific apps and even folders
There is a ‘completely free’ app called ‘Fast Access (Floating Toolbox)’ on the Play Store using which you can create a fast access launcher/toolbox for your apps and even specific folders. The application will detect all your installed programs and you can easily select the ones for which you want a quick launch shortcut. Once you have selected a list of applications, they should be available for fast access from the app’s floating icon. The icon is translucent, movable and can be activated by a simple tap. A long tap to the icon will close it while a quick double tab will take your phone to the home screen. There is another similar app called ‘Floating ToolBox-Floating App’ which gives similar functionality with a slightly different look.
Get multiple floating window apps
With Floating Apps, you can create multiple windows like on a computer with all running different application at the same time. The app currently has 32 individual apps that you can access and operate in smaller windows. For instance, you can have a browser, a stopwatch, YouTube, calculator, and even a phone dialer all operating at the same time. The application offers a lot of customisations and from the settings you can change the theme, font size, transparency, language, even add a launcher notification bar, enable or disable hardware acceleration, etc. ‘Tiny Apps’ is another similar application that might not include as many features as ‘Floating Apps’ but offers a more intuitive and responsive UI.
Set a multi-window launcher for large screens
Leena Desktop UI (Multiwindow) is an interesting theme that gives your Android device a desktop (that’ll strongly remind you of the MacOS) like appearance. The launcher comes included with its own browser, file manager, a native video player, image viewer and also a couple of web apps. The primary aim of this beta launcher is to use your smartphone to replace your desktops for all basic tasks. To get started with the whole Leena UI experience, hook up your smartphone to a keyboard, mouse, external monitor and be blown away with how much mobile operating systems have grown over the last decade.
Float any song lyrics
Musixmatch is actually a music player but with a huge database of song lyrics that can automatically sync lyrics for music playback be it from the app itself or any other players and streaming services like YouTube, SoundCloud, Play Music, Apple Music, Spotify and many more.
Musicmatch can also identify and get you lyrics to any song that’s playing around you, be it from your phone, computer, radio or any other device. The lyrics pop out of a bubble which you can minimize or integrate into videos with a single tap.
This article was first published in April 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit e-magazine app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.