Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hidden Feature Found in AOSP; Called "Heads Up" and Tutorial to Install it!

Google have a history of implementing changes that custom ROM developers have invented and implemented into the AOSP. Nothing wrong with that. The AOSP is there for a reason. One of its purposes is for developers to try out new things and feed the changes they make upstream and back into AOSP. Google also keep an eye on the custom ROM community and their customization and if they see something they like, they will implement it with their own spin on it.

Heads Up is a new notification mode that was buried in the AOSP source code and should probably be implemented in the next major Android version! The Cyanogenmod team have already started giving that option to users in the nightlies and hopefully, it will come in the next Monthly build.

Heads Up allows for a floating notification to display on top of your current activity, with the full access (eg. Expand, Reply, Interact, etc) that you would expect from a standard notification. This allows for a quick and easy way to read incoming notifications while in otherwise full-screen applications (ie Games). Obviously, no one likes being nagged in the middle of their favorite Youtube video of cats – so, the Cyanogenmod team have introduced a ‘Do not disturb’ filter to this functionality. You can select which apps the new Heads Up functionality should not interrupt.

According to me, this feature looks very similar to Hover by +Paranoid Android. Ofcourse, because it is in the AOSP, it has less features as compared to Hover. For e.g.: Hover opens apps in floating mode when clicked directly. It also has a blacklist feature that allows Hover to ignore notifications for certain apps.

GravityBox is easily one of my favorite Xposed modules and the creator has already implemented Heads Up in the module! The GravityBox implementation allows for deciding which notifications will appear as Heads Up windows and which will be ignored, and users can expand notifications (if supported) with a two-finger swipe. Other nifty additions to the tool set include better options for the "quiet hours" function, an expanded battery tile in the quick settings menu, user-definable actions for plugging in or unplugging headphones, and a lot of bug fixes and language translations. Check out the update post for a full list.

In order to run GravityBox, you'll need a rooted Android device running 4.1 or higher, and preferably a Nexus/Google Play Edition one, since it's designed for AOSP hardware and ROMs. Then you'll need to install and configure the popular Xposed Framework. Finally, grab GravityBox from its home on the original XDA thread. As always when tinkering with root-enabled software, it's probably a good idea to make a backup before you go digging into the various settings. NOTE: For UNC, you need to donate to GravityBox.

EDIT: There is another module on Xposed framework exclusively for Heads up. Get it here!

So guys, that's all about Head Up! Let me know any suggestions in the comments section below. If you liked this article, you can read similar ones by using the labels on the right hand side. Follow me on Google+ to be one of the first people to know when we post more awesome content! Keep reading! :D

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