Feb 8, 2012
For those who can’t put down their phone or tablet, even when they should be looking around them, a new tool called Transparent Screen is available. What this does is that it adds a transparent overlay of a camera view above everything in the OS, in order to see what’s going on around the user. While this kind of thing is not necessarily new â€“ an app like Walk and Text exists on both Android and iOS, what is new is that this allows anything on the OS to be used with the camera view. So, there’s hypothetically nothing that stops users from walking down the street and playing Angry Birds.
This is not recommended, of course. We here at Android Rundown do not want anyone to die while using their phone or tablet because they got hit by a moving vehicle while using this app.
Depending on the device, the app supports multiple camera resolutions. Obviously, higher resolutions mean more quality, but it does tend to slow down performance more. As well, there’s a general lagginess that comes with higher resolutions. This is because of the transparency, according to the app description, although apps generally work well underneath. Games testing did not go particularly well though; Sonic CD ran at a slow framerate while testing it, and once the process was killed, things were back up to full speed. This means that there’s something about the transparency that’s killing screen refresh rate.
So, while this does have drawbacks, Transparent Screen is otherwise a fairly impressive piece of programming that, who knows, could come in use for those people who share the desire to always be tweeting, texting, and Facebookâ€¦ingâ€¦while also trying not to bump into anything. Transparent Screen comes in two varieties: a free version with an ad on the configuration screen, and a paid version with no ads, the ability to start up the process on application startup, and a setting to stop the process when the screen goes off. Both are available now from the Android Market.