Multitasking isn’t a novel concept in mobile operating systems anymore, as pretty much every modern mobile OS including Android, iOS and Windows Phone allows users to run more than one app at the same time, and switch between foreground and background apps on the fly. Although Android has pretty awesome multi-tasking capabilities, its default task switching process requires users to long-press or double-press a button in case of many devices that don’t have a dedicated task switching button or softkey. Even on devices with that key, users have to tap it first and then select the app from the list that appears. Though a great thing about Android is that even a core OS feature like this can be improved or even entirely replaced via third-party apps. A new such tool called Switchr aims to make multitasking more efficient and effective by letting you switch between running apps using a touch gesture, eliminating the need for taps and long presses often needed for the job. All you have to do is swipe from the left or right edge of screen to instantly switch between apps.
When installed, Switchr walks you through a quick start wizard in order to get you acquainted with its operation. It also allows you to choose the app switching style between Switcr Flow and Switchr Slide. The former displays and switches apps using a coverflow-like animation while the later is inspired by the app switcher of Windows 8. By default, Switchr is set to be activated when swiping in from the upper-left screen edge, though you can easily switch it to the right side from the app’s Settings screen.
Both switching modes act quite differently from one another, and both in terms of functioning and the animation. The Flow mode is easier to use and displays cover flow-like animation of app icons. When activated, you just have to hover over the required app and let go off your finger to switch to it.
The Slide mode, on other hand, lets you switch apps by dragging the app icon all the way to the opposite direction of its activation side. While there’s an apparent learning curve for each mode and it will require a few tries before getting the hang of it, both of them work like a charm. Another exciting feature of Switchr is ‘Live Task Switching’, which switches apps in real time in the background as you perform the gestures. This feature is experimental at the moment, and may not work properly or on all devices.
Switchr works pretty awesome out of the box, but you can make several changes regarding its functioning from the Settings screen. For instance, you can change Switchr activation position between left and right, adjust the size of its trigger area, change its sensitivity, and vibration, toggle app labels, set a maximum limit for the number of apps to display, change the fade effect, icon size and maximum rotation, and tweak a few other options.
Switchr is currently in public beta and the developers have hosted the APK file at XDA-Developers forum before the final stable release is pushed out to Google Play Store on October 22nd.
Update: The app is now available on the Play Store. We’ve updated the download link.