Uniquely Android is a series we started that shines 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. Previously, we have featured Plug In Launcher, AirDroid, Shush, Llama, Swiftkey 3, SwipePad, Widgetsoid2.x, Unified Remote, AirCalc, WiFi Keyboard and Puzzle Alarm Clock.
What is so unique about Notif?
Notif is an Android app that allows the user to add custom entries to his/her notification tray, in the form of a normal text entry, an image (useful for the Jelly Bean+ rich notifications) or lists, hence turning it into a to-do list of sorts. While it hasn’t replaced Any.DO for me, it has proven to be a significant productivity boost with several add ons that I’ll get into below,
You can add three types of posts to the drawer: a normal text message with a title and subtext, an image (also with a title and subtext) and a list. You can also set priorities or set a notification as ongoing depending on how important it is for you that the notification remains on the top.
My immediate reaction when I first tested it out was that I wish it would integrate with Google Keep, so I could sync stuff between my phone and my laptop’s Chrome browser. However, the pro adds some other features that make the app useful in its own right.
The one that I love the most is the use of the share intent: if you are inside any app, and want to add something important (in my case, typically URLs) to your notifications, just click the share button. This way, I basically use the app as a form of bookmarking tool. Why not just use a bookmark? Because I never get back to them. Since it’s in my notification drawer, they’re always there, nagging at me to read whatever I felt was important.
Another cool feature is integrating with Google Now’s voice search, where you can map the “Note to self” command to Notif and quickly save notes. The free version has the capability to take Speech-to-text notes from within the app, but the integration with Now makes it that little bit quicker and more intuitive. You can also edit notes, save a history of them (except images) and use Android beam to share them in the Pro version.
How does it work?
The app itself is nice and clean, with three tabs representing the type of notifications you can set up. All you have to do is fill in the fields you want, and press create. Simple. If you want to add a note with speech-to-text, just click on the mic on the action bar, and first speak out the title, and next the message. Done. The note will appear in your drawer immediately.
To customize the app for your personal requirements, just head into the settings, and have a look around. I like having all the notifications as ongoing to prevent me from accidentally swiping them away or dismissing them with the clear all option. You can also set the ongoing and priority defaults for voice notifications, which is important since you don’t get an option while taking the note. You can also set the defaults for notes added from the shared intent.
Actually, a pretty big one. The developer has mentioned that he hasn’t yet been able to save notes in a manner to prevent a loss of them when the app is updated. For some, that is probably a huge loss of function. I’m OK with it since I don’t automatically update apps any way, and have simply resolved not to update the app until that bit is fixed or I have no notifications currently.
To download Notif, head over here. Also, if you have any apps that you would like to recommend to the Uniquely Android series, or would like to have some thoughts regarding Notif, feel free to share in the comments below.