JR Raphael

This Android app will change the way you use your phone

March 21, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

Android AppWe see a lot of cool apps in the land of Android -- apps that take advantage of the platform's flexible nature to do innovative things you won't find on any other mobile OS.

Link Bubble is one of the most brilliant examples I've seen in a long time.

The app, launched yesterday by developer Chris Lacy (the guy behind Action Launcher), really has the potential to change the way you use your phone or tablet. In short, it acts as a companion to your regular mobile browser by intelligently handling all the links you open from within other apps.

That sounds a little strange, I realize. But once you use it, you'll be amazed at just how clever of an approach it is. And if you're anything like me, you'll wonder how something this sensible never existed before.

Say you're in the Google+ app and you tap on a link, for instance. Normally, your device would kick you out of Google+, load Chrome, then load the Web page while you watch and wait. (I'm using Google+ for this example, but the same could be said for Facebook, a Twitter client, or almost any app where you open external links.)

With Link Bubble, the page starts loading in the background as soon as you tap the link -- then gets pulled up in an overlay window when it's actually ready for you to view. No waiting, no interrupted work flow, and no wasted time.

Link Bubble

You can collapse the page down and move the Link Bubble circle anywhere on your screen if you want to save it for later. And if you'd rather save the link to a service like Pocket or share it to any other app on your device, you can simply touch the circle and then drag it to the appropriate shortcut. You can even do that before the page has finished loading, if you want.

Link Bubble

You can tap multiple links and let them load with Link Bubble, too, then keep doing whatever you were doing and view the pages in overlay windows when they -- and you -- are ready.

Link Bubble

One of the cool side benefits of Link Bubble is that it also eliminates the jumping back and forth that sometimes happens when you tap a link within an app -- like when you tap a YouTube or Google Play link in Twitter and watch it first open in your browser and then ping over to its appropriate destination. Link Bubble skips that extra step and just takes you directly where you want to go.

You almost have to see it in action to appreciate the full scope of how it works. Check out this demo video:

 

To be clear, Link Bubble isn't intended to replace your regular browser but rather to supplement its functionality and work alongside it. You wouldn't ever open Link Bubble to start a new browsing session, for instance; it just jumps in to handle links opened from within other apps in a more elegant way.

Android Power Twitter The main Link Bubble app is free. In order to take full advantage of all its features, you'll have to pony up five bucks for a Pro license key.

I'd strongly recommend giving it a whirl.

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