Multitasking is one of Android’s real strengths. It’s cool to be able to run multiple apps simultaneously without tricks like pausing background apps or locking them into memory. Plus, with the growing amounts of RAM we see in newer devices, Android can run plenty of apps at once. It’s great for multitaskers.
Normally, the multitasking button works fine for that kind of thing. ICS and Jelly Bean really improved the interface. However, XDA member Nathanael Presson (also known as id0x12345) created an interesting and different way to switch between apps. He rethought the concept of a launcher itself and came up with something unique- HomeFlip.
Flipping around your home screen
At its core, HomeFlip is a launcher. Press the Home button after you install it and you’ll get the traditional “Which launcher would you like to use?” screen.
However, instead of taking you to any kind of static screen, HomeFlip brings up a list of recently opened apps for you to switch between.
Press home again and HomeFlip takes you to a more traditional launcher like Nova or Trebuchet.
When switching between apps, swipe an item left to mark it as a favorite. Swipe it right to hide. Swipe up and down to navigate between the most recently opened apps.
“The ability to switch tasks quickly was missing from my Note 2,” Presson said. “Long-pressing the Home key is a pain and I found most alternatives on the market at the time to be either badly implemented, ad-supported or just too intrusive and big for my tastes.”
The best part of HomeFlip, though, is that it is completely free to download and free of advertisements. Presson also plans to open-source the app sometime in the future “so that the crowd can take over.”
HomeFlip is a useful app, but it’s easy to miss its flexibility without digging though the settings. The app comes with tons of helpful adjustments that can make the launcher exactly the way you want it.
For example, HomeFlip can be activated with more than a simple tap of the Home key. You can have it open on a double or triple-tap of the Home key or even a swipe from an adjustable custom hotspot.
In theory, you could even daisy-chain GMD Gesture Control to HomeFlip for some really impressive multitasking gestures.
On the visual side, HomeFlip supports third-party themes. There are also options for changing the fonts, shadow, stroke, and app item spacing. The whole app offers granular control that power users will like.
HomeFlip is not necessarily better than just using the multitasking button within Android. With that said, we would definitely recommend this app to people with devices without a dedicated multitasking button or anyone still stuck on Gingerbread.
Even if you don’t fall into those groups, HomeFlip is worth trying for its novelty and potential for customization. You can’t theme the Android multitasking screen, but you can theme HomeFlip.
HomeFlip is a neat app. It’s free, eventually open source and easy to customize. Presson promises to continue adding features.