May 8, 2012
Notifications, as they currently exist, are just simple lines of text that play across the top of the status bar when they come in, and make a sound when the screen is off, with no visual notification at all, like on iOS. Pops is trying to do something quite different with the way notifications appear on Android, and taking visual notifications to a new level.
When a user’s screen is off, a video with sound plays, and the notification text appears below the screen. The video is mainly just there to serve as an immediate visual cue that a certain type of notification has appeared. The notification text below the screen isn’t just there for posterity, it can also serve as a quick reply box. For example, a Twitter reply that comes in can be replied to without ever unlocking the phone.
While some services like Skype, SMS, and Google+ work out of the box for receiving notifications as long as they are already configured through their apps, Twitter, Gmail, and Facebook require separate logins through Pops for their notifications to work. Twitter notifications allow for replies to be sent directly from the video screen, but there’s no character limit; going over causes the reply to not be sent by Twitter, though.
There are a variety of free pre-made videos for users to choose from, largely comprising short animated clips that play. Users can also use their own pictures and videos to make their own videos. While the app is currently free, it seems as if monetization opportunities abound: selling new videos, or even through sponsored ones. A user could find out that they’ve got a new text message through a video of Katniss from The Hunger Games shooting an arrow. It makes too much sense.
Pops is currently available from Google Play, and appears to be compatible only with phones, not tablets, as it is incompatible with the Motorola Xoom.