Sep 5, 2013
Android devices have what is known as a notification bar. This notification bar is where all of the missed calls, incoming emails and messages, alarms and other important reminders show up. All in one nice neat little place. Well, there are alternatives to the notification bar. Portal is one of them.
Portal brings your notification bar out in the open and pairs it with a basic app launcher making it all the more useful. WHen I first looked at Portal, I was curious at how this was any better than dragging down the notification bar to see the same thing. Well, After playing with Portal for a couple of days, I found some things out.
First, it is easier to see what the notification is at a glance with Portal. I say that because the message scrolls across the little box below the Portal circle. WHile the circle can be a bit intrusive at times, it’s really easy to move out of the way or even make disappear.
Second, there are apps I use pretty regularly that automatically go into full screen. I know there are times when I am using these apps and am expecting an email or SMS it is much easier to glance over at the Portal bubble than to exit the app or game to see if it is the message I was waiting for.
Aside from seeing what messages are waiting in the notification bar, it is also a quick launch for some popular apps. Right now, there are four options for apps: SMS, Facebook, Twitter and a browser. These apps seem to be part of the Portal app. Twitter and Facebook ask for sign in credentials and do not redirect to a different app or a browser. This is nice because it can help if there is a concern about storage space on the device. One app can do the work of a few.
I am not sure Portal is for everyone, but there is a real use for it. Since the initial testing, I have toggled it on and off a few times as needed. I mostly use it as a quick access tool, not a total replacement for my notification bar.