If you have been a loyal flasher and/or follower of the Paranoid Android ROM since it started it’s adventure into Kit Kat based builds, you probably already know about the new features that have been added to PA since around beta 3. Peek, which is a nice little feature to give users on the ROM a similar type of Active Display like quick glance at notifications as seen on the Moto X, and Hover which is the evolution of what HALO used to be back in the Jelly Bean version of Paranoid Android. The latest Beta for PA is out and brings with it some nice changes as well as the usual big fixes and improvements, pushing the ROM towards an ever stable build. The Beta 7 release of PA isn’t the only thing the team at Paranoid Android has been working on though.
They recently released a Peek application to the Play Store that allows anyone to get the capabilities of Peek that is embedded in the latest version of the PA kit kat based ROM, without root and without device model specifics. The one catch is that devices need to be running on at least Android 4.4 Kit Kat for the app to be compatible. While free stuff like the PA ROM itself and all the features that the dev team pack into it are exactly that, free, the Peek application for all is not. This has garnered the fellas at PA a little bit of negative attention and feedback from those who have been using the PA ROM and want to have some of the features of the Peek App that the embedded ROM version doesn’t have.
The negativity mostly seems to span from users of the ROM that have been told they won’t get the same Peek experience as those who have purchased the app. Although users of the ROM can still buy and install the app, which will disable and take over the functionality of the embedded Peek feature if enabled itself. No need to turn the original Peek off as the app handles that task. From personal experience with both the Peek feature embedded in the ROM since its release and the app that I have picked up this morning, there aren’t a whole lots of differences, as they both perform the same basic functions. The Peek app simply has a few customization tweaks available for users, like an app notification blacklist and the ability to use either a black background or a transparent background(so your wallpaper peers through) on the notification screen. The PA team states that users shouldn’t feel obligated to buy the app if they already run the PA ROM, since the functions are similar. However if you like the new design and settings tweaks that can be made, laying down $4.09 will be required. Reasons for not porting this app version of Peek into the ROM itself is that it doesn’t mesh with the visual design of the PA ROM as stated by the Paranoid Android team. In either case, the app is great and if you want the design changes and the blacklist feature, go for it.