Multi-tasking. That’s one word the Android club love to throw at their iOS and Windows Phone counterparts. For no matter what the merits of those worthies, when it comes to multi-tasking – running a number of applications at the same time – Android is pretty much in a league of its own, with many handsets (including the Nexus) even coming with a button dedicated to show open and running apps, letting users switch to whichever one they choose, and even shut down apps in some cases. So well, one would be tempted to ask, what more does the platform need in terms of multi-tasking?
Well, apps like SwipePad, certainly, which provide multi-tasking with a few handy spins on it. A free app with the option to add features to it if one wants for a payment, Swipe Pad basically lets you launch apps of your choice irrespective of where you are on the phone. Doing the magic are what the app calls ‘Hotspots‘ (no, they have nothing to do with Wi-Fi). Launching the app gives you the option to designate certain parts of the phone’s display as Hotspots – these are all located around the edge of the display. Touching any of these hotspots will open a ‘pad’ (again, the app’s terminology), which is basically a collection of shortcuts to the apps, social networks and contacts you would like to access, each of which occupies a ‘portal’ (one thing we have to admit, the developers did spend some time on the terminology for this slice of technology). To open any of these, simply drag your finger from the hotspot to the portal containing the app/contact you wish to access. And well, the app opens.
If that does not really sound like a big deal, then consider the fact that unless you switch it off, the app runs in the background, letting you access a hotspot by touching the edges of your display (the top right one is enabled by default, but you can move it around if you wish), and lets you reach the app or person of your choice or just make a post to a social network by just dragging your finger to the requisite portal. So for instance, you might need to make a call in the middle of a hectic Angry Birds session, all you need to do is touch the edge of your phone on which you have placed the hotspot (you can set a haptic alert so that the area vibrates gently when you put your hand on it) and drag your finger to the contacts portal or the specific contact, if you happen to have it placed there. In simplest terms, it places a selection of apps and contacts available to you, irrespective of what you are doing on your phone, which we think is pretty neat.
You can edit the pad and add or remove the apps you want quick access to, move them around and if a single pad or a dozen portals do not meet your requirements, you can purchase more. Speaking for ourselves, we were more than content with what we got free of cost, and well, while the app does run in the background, it did not seem to have a negative impact on the battery life of our Nexus (we STILL need to charge it once a day but that is another story). If you are the type that has a selection of apps or people they always want close at hand on their devices, this is one app we would recommend wholeheartedly. It is simple. And it works.
Available from: Google Play