Since its inception, one of the best features built into the Android experience is the manner in which notifications are handled. Yet, as great as the status bar is at displaying missed calls and new emails, app developers have come up with even more clever ways of delivering bite-size broadcasts.
I've collected a smattering of Android applications designed to enhance notifications and updates, some of which you can highly customize. If you're interested in putting a new twist on those boring old text message notifications, these are a great jumping-off point.
While some of the following apps can be installed and ready to go without much work, others come with prerequisites. Go Launcher Ex Notifications requires a custom launcher app, and Notifications Off only works with rooted devices. Here we go!
Inspired by Facebook's Chat Heads system, Floating Notifications presents users with small, floating icons. Set atop your home screen and other apps, this one works with all of your notifications. Be it a game update, missed called, or instant message, you'll never be too far from your updates. It works well in games and videos, and can be tailored with user-defined settings such as size, opacity, behaviors, and number of lines per message.
The app is free to download and install, but you can only get a 30-day trial; a full license is a one-time $1.97 fee.
Those of you who like to tinker and mod their Android apps might also appreciate the ability to create and install themes. A quick glance at XDA forums shows dozens of custom looks and tweaks and the app makes it quite simple to toggle themes on the fly
Similar to the stock notification Android system, Notifier Pro delivers updates across the top of your screen. What makes it different, however, is that each message is shown with its accompanying icon.
As with Android Jelly Bean, you can swipe to dismiss notifications or tap to launch apps. One feature I like most is the ability to toggle notifications on and off for specific apps.
Like the Floating Notifications above, Notifier Pro also allows for custom themes and additional development. What's more, the developer, Productigeeky, has a number of other notification apps that might pique your interest as well. While I tend to like the simplicity of this one, others may prefer Popup Notifier Plus, for example.
For those times when you need to create your own notifications and reminders, Notif is one of my favorite apps. As simple as choosing between a photo, simple text, or a list, this one puts your notes into the standard drop-down notification bar.
Users can choose from 20 different icons, so that you can quickly identify calendar appointments and grocery lists. Once you're done with your notification, simply swipe it away or clear it. Additional details include ongoing notifications, three levels of prioritization, and the ability to create notifications with your voice.
Although the free version of the app will suffice for most readers, I definitely recommend springing the $1 price for Notif Pro. Features in the paid model include Android Beam support, a full history of your notifications, and a choice of 200 icons instead of 20.
In addition to that, the Pro version also gets you the ability to share notifications to and from other apps, to create notifications via Google Now, and because sometimes you just need a quick glance at your reminders and notifications, it also integrates into your lock screen.
Go Launcher EX Notifications
Those readers who opt for a custom home screen or launcher may be interested in Go Launcher EX Notification. As the name implies, it requires users to install Go Launcher EX in order for this to work properly. Once both are loaded on your phone, you will find handy notifications that sit atop your home screen icons.
When you get a missed call, an unread email, or a Facebook notification, you'll find a numerical indicator in the corner of your icon. Go Launcher works with multiple apps, including WhatsApp, Yahoo Mail, and K9 Email. Additionally, Go Launcher EX Notification ties into Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and SMS.
Perhaps one of the more handy details, this notifier keep alerts pervasive throughout the app drawer and the home screen dock. Rest assured, it's nearly impossible not to know what you've missed.
Because we don't always want to see any notifications at all, Notifications Off completely shuts down pesky alerts, reminders, and updates. While free to install, this particular app does require you to have root access on your Android device.
A handy utility, Notifications Off provides users with a quick and easy way to toggle off notifications to any and all applications. Even better, you can also do this on a case by case by basis with today's later Android devices.
Thanks to a system of 'Profiles' you can create pre-configured settings and toggle between them with the press of a button. Don't have time for that? Integrate with Tasker and let the apps switch things for you based on location or time.
Notifications Off can also be configured to automatically disable notifications for new applications or games upon installation.
Have your say
There are many other Android apps plug-ins available for users enhance their notifications; I have only listed a few of my favorites. Which apps do you like? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.