Aug 19th, 2012

Uniquely Android is a series we started last month to shine the spotlight on those apps that take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform and provide an experience that you wouldn’t find in most other phones. So far, we have featured Plug In LauncherAirDroid, ShushLlama and Swiftkey 3.

Thanks to a lot of popular demand, I’ve finally decided to add SwipePad to the Uniquely Android series. The app allows you to create a drawer of sorts, containing any app, shortcut and, with another plugin, even widgets. This drawer can be launched by swiping from any specified region on the edge of the screen while any app is opened. In short, if there’s any app or contact that you use frequently, you could simply add it to the drawer, and launch it from within another app by swiping and releasing at the location you have set for it.

Personally, I must admit that I’m not a big fan of the app, however I won’t for a moment hesitate others from trying it. It definitely ticks the boxes for Uniquely Android, and I could see it being extremely useful on a pre-ICS device. However, with the improved app switching and folders in Android 4.0+, I haven’t found the need for it. Some have said that it has even slowed down their ICS devices, though I never found that to be the case even on a single-core phone.

The main fault I had with it was that I found the swiping to be inconsistent, maybe because I only use a 3.8″ screen device and hence might have a very thin swipe area (I do understand the thickness can be increased, but I still found the experience lacking). Additionally, I found the 4X3 drawer grid a bit too much because I felt like I’m having to pay too much attention to perform the action I want.

What I would have preferred was the ability to perform a multi-touch action, such as a three-finger swipe, to launch the drawer from within the app, or maybe even choose from a set of multi-touch actions to launch an app in a manner similar to the Mac app called BetterTouchTool. I doubt how feasible that would be though, since SwipePad puts a surface over the opened app and effectively prevents the app from getting touch feedback from that region.

You can get SwipePad here, and I’d love the feedback of those users who get the most out of it. Maybe I’m just using it wrong or something, but as of now I’m probably going to be uninstalling it soon.