Search in HRJ Tricks

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Paranoid Android’s HALO Notification System – A Complete Review

CyanogenMod is usually the first name that comes to mind when talking about custom ROMs for Android, but it isn’t the only big player in the game. Over the past couple of years, a few other ROMs like MIUI and AOKP have also joined the ranks of this behemoth, but none of them has been as innovative as Paranoid Android. In addition to bringing us per-app system colors, choice between phone, tablet, phablet and hybrid UIs, and the famous full-screen PIE navigation system, the latest and arguably the greatest feature brought to the world of Android by this AOSP-based ROM is HALO – a Facebook Chat Heads-style notification system that works universally for all your system and app notifications. What’s more – it also opens up the relevant screen of the appropriate app in a floating window for you to respond to the notification, so you don’t have to completely switch to that app from what you’re doing. Let’s take a more detailed look at it right after the break...
HALO is one of the best things to ever hit Android. It is basically an omnipresent bubble that shows you notifications for every app and system feature installed on your device right on top of whatever app or screen you have open, while still remaining unobtrusive enough to not cause a distraction in your workflow. The bubble also shows the picture or icon associated with the notification – basically what you would see in the notification pull-down gets shown in the circle. Here, take a look for yourself.
PA HALO Notification Home Screen PA HALO Drag & Drop

As you can see, the bubble shows toast-like popups for notifications from any app that you would otherwise get in the notification shade. It works no matter what app you have open, and can be dragged around on the screen to be positioned anywhere you like, and even dismissed by dropping it on the on-screen cross that appears. Being a feature of the ROM itself, it does require you to be running Paranoid Android on your device, but that doesn’t mean all Paranoid Android users have to use it – it is an opt-in feature and can be enabled by hitting its button from the notification shade, highlighted below.
PA HALO - How To Enable
If you thought receiving notifications like this for all your apps was awesome, try tapping on one of the notifications; what you’ll get is nothing short of groundbreaking. The app’s appropriate section opens up in a floating popup above whatever you have open, and lets you quickly respond to the notification. You can then tap anywhere outside that popup to dismiss it and return to what you were doing. The following screenshots should give you a clear picture.
PA HALO Notification In AppPA HALO Floating App Window
As you can see above, I can simply tap on a Facebook message’s notification to open that very conversation in the actual Facebook app in a popup, reply to it right away, and dismiss it to resume exploring music in Google Play All Access.
If you find the idea of having an omnipresent chat bubble on your screen intrusive, fret not – after being inactive, it is set to automatically set itself to half-transparent, and slide towards the nearest screen edge to hide half of it off the screen. If that bothers you as well and you’d rather have it gone altogether when inactive and only show up when a new notification is received, just go to Settings > Toolbars and enable the ‘Hide HALO after activity’ option.
PA HALO Floating App Window Home PA HALO Settings
You’ll also see a ‘Reverse HALO gestures’ feature here, which brings us to HALO’s gestures. If you have multiple notifications, you can simply double-tap-and-swipe or long-press-and-swipe on the HALO bubble and move your finger away from the screen’s edge that HOLO is docked next to, to switch between the notifications. You’ll see ) signs for every notification you have, and moving your finger from one to the next will switch to that notification, also changing the image shown in the bubble accordingly. Getting back to the ‘Reverse HALO gestures’ option, it lets you switch to the single-tap-and-drag gesture for switching between the notifications and double-tap-and-swipe or long-press-and-swipe for dragging the bubble around or dismissing it by dragging it to the cross.
Speaking of dragging it to the cross, using that gesture to dismiss HALO basically disables it, and you have to re-enable it from the notification shade to get it back. At the moment, there seems to be no way to selectively dismiss individual notifications from HALO, which is the only shortcoming we can see for now. However, dismissing them from the notification shade itself eventually takes notifications away from the HALO bubble as well.

HALO))) App

While HALO itself works great for all your notifications by default, what if you had a way to open apps of your choice in HALO’s on-screen popup mode from any screen or any app, even when you don’t have any active notifications from those apps? HALO also comes with a companion app called HALO))) that can be installed from the Play Store for free, and this app lets you do just that! Simply launch it, use the pin icon from the action bar to select any apps that you want to access from anywhere via this method, and hit the right-most button (that initially looks like a play button) to start the service.
PA HALO App Home PA HALO App Pin
Doing this will instantly add entries for all the selected apps to your notifications, and you can access them all in their own minified popup forms from anywhere in Android using the same gesture on the HALO bubble that’s used for all other notifications.
PA HALO App Gesture PA HALO App Active
This can be immensely useful, as you can imagine. While doing some reading on Flipboard, if I’m getting annoyed by the screen timing out and turning off while I’m in the middle of going through an interesting article, I can just use this gesture to quickly bring up Wakey on my screen, tap its bulb icon to enable the ‘keep screen awake’ mode, and tap anywhere outside that popup to dismiss it and resume reading. Previously, I would have had to go to my home screen, then to the app drawer to launch Wakey and enable it, then back to Flipboard using the multitasking screen. See all the steps it saves you? You can add any app to the list, and the few that we can think of being immensely useful this way include the Calculator, Camera, your favorite file manager and note-taking apps, and just about any tool that you frequently need to access quickly for one small function while you already have a main app open.
To sum it up, HALO is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to Android, and has already become a daily driver for me on my Nexus 4 running the latest alpha version of Paranoid Android. The feature is currently available only on Alpha released of the ROM, but has been stable enough in our experience. HALO as well as the ROM itself are being actively improved, and the developers plan on pushing it to stable releases pretty soon. You can learn more at Paranoid Android’s website and Google+ page, and grab the ROM for your device via its XDA thread linked below.
If you want Chat Heads-like notification bubbles but don’t want to install a complete ROM for the purpose, you might want to try out our recently covered Floating Notifications.


  1. There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue.
    I like all of the points you have made.

    Visit my web page - best band shirts (

  2. Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the great work.

    My page ... book synopsis

  3. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed
    to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that
    they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    my web page understanding dating

  4. With list at your fingertips, it is possible to create some powerful ways of help
    you eliminate or reduce your financial troubles personal Creations coupons Printable the provider make use of this as payment when
    it is with regards to a chance to spend back the mortgage.

  5. Possibly the very best of these portable electronic book readers,
    and the first ereader, is the The amazon online marketplace Kindle.
    Gifts for Pisces - Imagination is their dominant characteristic.
    Combing through shopping aisles and clicking through online catalogues can be daunting.

    My blog what to get your husband for christmas

  6. Quality is very important when choosing your pocket knife, although there are
    many different types of knives on the market they range from cheap to very expensive.
    We can only hope these terrorist thugs will quit terrorizing the world and disappears from the face of the earth.

    My list would contain items such as, my sleeping bag, fishing
    pole and fishing tackle, canteen, uniforms, insect repellent and of course my scout pocket knife.

    Here is my web blog: pocket knife reviews

  7. And of course, if you were to include the rest
    of the world, there are millions more who suffer
    from this disease; the majority of which are women.
    Perhaps son is built like mom and has developed the same patterns of walking or sitting.
    Another common complaint of fibro sufferers is headaches.

    Also visit my website ... fibromyalgia

  8. In this event nothing can print because the device is offline.

    Sporting a trusted brand name, ink-jet cartridges, and a price tag
    of only $52, this is a nice choice if you operate a
    home business or do not print an excessive quantity of documents.
    There aren't much negative things I can say about this printer, but I've heard other people complain about things
    like the toner system in this printer, and the installation in Windows Vista.

    Also visit my website ... wireless printer

  9. This is rеally interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I've joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of youг eхcellent post.

    Also, I've shared your web site in my social networks!

    Feel free to surf to my blog :: xen vps plans

  10. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
    By the way, how could we communicate?

    Visit my blog post :: Sony reviews

  11. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to
    go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but
    I had to tell someone!

    Also visit my page - coin pendant

  12. A large number of women have to contend with the different kinds of medical problems that make it nearly impossible for them to conceive and get pregnant.
    Typically, most women are seen between 8 and 10 weeks gestation.
    Basically, alkalinity favors the Y-sperm and the acidity favors
    the female sperm.

    Here is my web blog :: medicine to get pregnant

  13. they are not the only factors to a successful blood pressure reduction.
    Add a crushed garlic clove to pasta sauces, soups,
    vegetables, and meats. Stresx is a natural cure recommended to get relief
    from hypertension problems.

    Also visit my blog :: meds for high blood pressure

  14. Tinnitus comes in some different forms and can start as early as birth.
    Almost all live entertainment is too loud to be safe for your ears regardless if it
    is classical, jazz, or rock. Tinnitus miracle serves as a manual that will educate you on how to cure your tinnitus for good.

    Here is my homepage ... home remedy for hemorrhoid pain

  15. That's right, put old pictures, notes, and special tokens that
    remind you. You need to find opportunities to be around her, then
    reach out and communicate with her. These things are very important because the next
    time you see your ex boyfriend you want to make sure he knows how
    healthy and happy you are.

    Here is my site :: ways to get back at your ex (

  16. Tinnitus comes in some different forms and can start as early as birth.

    Some of these can be a contributing factor in the onset of tinnitus symptoms.
    3 inches, which makes it the largest known beetle species in the Amazon.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post - piles surgery