A major issue with mobile devices is the screen size – the small screen size limits the ability to be productive on a mobile device, which is why features such as Continuum exist to expand the device’s capabilities beyond its puny screen.
However, the limitation of screen size does not mean we should stop trying to figure out more ways to be productive anyway – ClipLayer, is an app that might help with that. The app comes out of Microsoft Garage – the same program that has nurtured apps like the Arrow Launcher, and Color Binoculars.
Android’s freedom allows for apps like ClipLayer to exist – Android allows users to change the default ‘Assist’ app, and therefore, the ClipLayer app replaces Google Now on Tap.
Of course, this means you have to sacrifice Now on Tap if you want to use ClipLayer – it might, however, be an ideal tradeoff, if the app does what you need.
The app is developed by Steve Won, a senior designer for Microsoft’s Office team.
“I like to share what I’ve seen and I noticed a couple of problems unique to consuming on a smartphone,” says Won while explaining the need for an app like ClipLayer. He found Android’s text copying feature to be cumbersome – if it was possible to copy text at all, as many applications didn’t always let you copy text.
Steve Won has previously worked with a team on Hub Keyboard – a keyboard for Android that includes a clipboard, ability to pull up information about contacts, get links for documents from cloud services, translate text, and much more.
The experience gained while developing Hub Keyboard helped him in building ClipLayer – especially, since he worked on it by himself this time around.
As mentioned, if you want to use ClipLayer, you would have to give up Google’s Now on Tap – but here’s what you get:
Copy anything: ClipLayer will let you copy any text on the screen with a single tap. It can also understand and differentiate between paragraphs and sentences – it will select these by itself, so you don’t have to use the grabbers to select text.
Wunderlist integration: ClipLayer integrates with Microsoft’s Wunderlist, and lets you create tasks out of the copied text with a single tap – this can be extremely handy, if you just want to quickly turn a chat message into a task, for example.
Share: The app will also let you easily share the text via email or the default Android share menu.
The Plan & Availability
The app works – and while it is quite basic at the moment, Won plans on expanding its features. Thanks to modern analytics, the data gathered simply by users using the app would allow him to notice patterns – do users share using email, or make a task using Wunderlist.
Won wants to use this data to figure out if ClipLayer helps users at all – and if it does, what do the users do with copied text most often. This data will help Won improve the app with updates.
ClipLayer is now available via the Google Play Store, and you can read more about Won’s inspiration and his work at the official Microsoft blog.