Paranoid Android's Hover - Hands On - YouTube 07 001352

Back in early March, the Paranoid Android team announced that Halo, the signature multitasking feature of the custom ROM, would be reinvented into a new feature called Hover. Now the latest beta release of PA brings the initial release of Hover, and it looks very promising.

Now available in Paranoid Android 4.3 beta 1, Hover gives you a way to quickly interact with your notifications without leaving your current app.

Let’s say, for instance, you receive an email while watching YouTube. Hover will show a sliding notification card at the top of the screen for about three seconds. If you want to see more, you can swipe down on the notification to expand it with a bit more info, or, you can tap it to open Gmail in a window that floats on top of YouTube, hence the name Hover. YouTube stays open, so you won’t need to pause it or close it to read your message.

To activate Hover, you need to slide down the notification bar and tap on the Hover button near the Settings shortcut. From there, the feature takes over all your notifications.

Hover looks like a very promising feature that will really set PA apart from stock Android and other custom ROMs. The ability to open up background apps without leaving whatever you happen to be doing can greatly improve multitasking on mobile devices. And that’s especially useful when playing full screen games, like demonstrated with Temple Run in the video below by Chris Nacca.

The feature already looks pretty solid, but the Paranoid Android team promises it’s only the “first step” towards adding more functionality to the ROM’s notification system. Of course, as with any initial release, some bugs and inconsistencies are to be expected.

Besides Hover, other features and changes in the release include the ability to pause and resume downloads and to open the last used app by long-pressing the recent apps button. There are also some tweaks and bug fixes, that you can learn about here.

Paranoid Android 4.3 beta 1 is currently available for modern Nexus devices from the official downloads page.