'Overlays' Lets Android Widgets Float on Top of Your Apps

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Now you can uncage your widgets from the home screen. Overlays, a new app for Android 4.0 and higher, can make your app widgets appear as a layer on top of the UI, even while other apps are open.

The new app works with any widget downloaded to the phone, including any and all third-party installs. So, for example, it was simple to make the Spotify widget a steadfast element while reading in the web browser and surfing Twitter. 

While LG and Samsung are no stranger to hovering apps or custom-built multitasking interfaces and there are several third-party apps that perform similar tricks, the Overlays app builds on those designs by making widgets persistent across the system and adding the ability to create profiles with pre-determined widget arrangements.

For instance, users can create a work profile that, when activated, will persistently display the number of unread emails or missed calls on the screen. A personal profile may include docking the Twitter widget in the top-right corner of the screen or making music player controls for DoubleTwist a permanent fixture on the screen.

Of course, widgets are not a one-size fits all solution, so each one can be dragged around the screen into a new location, resized to take up less space, or removed from the screen together-- all directly on the present screen, without launching the Overlay app.

A paid version of the app, Overlays Pro, costs $1.99 and includes the ability to assign profiles based on apps, where you can assign a specific app to launch with pre-assigned widgets. We used this feature to launch our favorite read-it-later app with a widget for our note-taking app of choice.

Overlays and Overlays Pro are  available in the Google Play store now.

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