1Tap Quick Bar is a handy free utility that lets you park just about anything you wished in the notification bar of your Android device. Very useful for all you who want your apps and data a notification bar pulldown away.
When Android arrived into our lives (wayyyyy back in 2009), one of the features that marked it out from the competition was the notification bar, the thin strip on the upper part of the display. It did not just show you the network status and battery levels (as on devices on other platforms), but also let you know when new mail had arrived, when you had missed calls and so on. Instead of being a passive holder of information, it was a dynamic element that delivered live updates. As Android has gained popularity, the notification bar has stayed constant (and even been aped by other OSes), but often with different manufacturers adding different elements to it - some throw in the option of fiddling with networks on it, others let you access social networks from it and so on.
But, what if you wanted to add more to the notification bar – apps, settings, contacts, and the like? Well, one of the joys of Android is that there are apps that enable you to do just that and one of the best ones is 1Tap Quick Bar, which is available in both paid and free avatars. We took the latter for a spin on our Sony Xperia S (read our review).
At around 800KB, 1Tap Quick Bar is a relatively lightweight app, but what it delivers is considerably hefty. Just hit the “ ” icon and you are en-route to creating your own notification bar, or a Quick Bar in this app’s language. Hitting that icon also shows you just what the app is capable of doing - you can place settings, applications, shortcuts, and even contacts on the panel. With 1Tap Quick Bar, the notification bar becomes a very handy shortcut area from where you can access the data or apps you want at short notice with minimum fuss - all you need to do to add a feature or app to the new notification is touch it to make it appear on the bar. Removing it is equally simple - just touch the icon on the bar and it will disappear.
And there’s more to come. You also have the option of tweaking the looks of your Quick Bar. You can add different coloured backgrounds, mess around with the icon colours and also choose the status icon, which will indicate the bar’s existence on the top corner of your device’s original notification bar. If you are willing to cough up some dough you can even have more than one Quick Bar - you get two for 0.99€, five for 1.99€ and an unlimited number for 2.49€. Honestly, we could not see why one would like to have more than one Quick Bar, as having several would make make the whole notification area look like a homescreen of sorts, but well, some folks would like that. Speaking for ourselves, we were very content with our single Quick Bar.
In terms of functioning, your Quick Bar slots just below the notification bar of your device and becomes visible when you pull down the notification bar - it appears below your regular notifications. We found it extremely handy for slotting important contacts and our browser. Some might say that the bar is nothing more than a store of shortcuts, and there is some truth but the stark fact is that as the notification bar/area is available across all apps on Android, so too will the items available on your Quick Bar. So irrespective of what you are doing on your device - playing games, watching video, or composing immaculate prose - reaching your Quick Bar is as simple as pulling down the notification bar of your device. Believe us, it adds a whole new dimension to multi-tasking, and is far more convenient than holding down a button to see which apps you have used recently and picking one from them!
If we had a complaint about the app, it was with regards to its slightly unpolished appearance - we would have liked more colour and icon choices to play around with. And well, it could have been implemented more elegantly. Right now it appears as a panel of icons at the bottom of the notification area, and cannot be moved from there - as a result, if one does get a stack of notifications, the bar gets pulled all the way to the bottom of the screen and occasionally off it too. But that apart, we found nothing to reproach the app with. It made the information that we needed available to us just a notification bar pull away. Definitely worth a download!
Available from: Google Play store
Tested on: Sony Xperia S (Android 4.0)