It seems that Android tablet apps are starting to pick up steam. In terms of productivity, “floating” apps, which are basically windowed programs similar to what you see on a Windows PC, are all the rage. Though Android is a multitasking OS, Google chose to omit using paned windows. As such, all apps run full screen. This might work for smartphones, but what about a tablet that have enough screen real estate? Apps like LilyPad HD picks up the slack that the folks in Mountain View left behind.
Like we mentioned, floating apps like OverSkreen and AirCalc introduced quick access to some commonly-used items without leaving your current app. OverSkreen brought a window browser and Aircalc did the same for calculators to the joy of math wizards everywhere. Developers Tablified Apps (of Tablified Market fame) have joined the fray with a much-needed chat client.
Though currently in beta, LilyPad HD performs quite well. Working in conjunction with an opened app is quite easy. Upon start up you’ll be prompted to enter your Google credentials. Unfortunately the app only currently supports the Gtalk client, though future updates will include Yahoo!, MSN, Skype as well as Facebook through in app purchase ($0.99 each). Once you log-in, your buddy list will populate and you can start chatting right away. Tapping on a friend's screen name opens the conversation in a new window. In a great design move, multiple chats will remain in one box and tabbed individually so users won’t drown in multiple windows.
One of the greatest strength of this app is being able to manipulate the windows. If LilyPad HD windows are obstructing your view, you can easily reposition boxes by dragging them across the screen, shrink or minimize the window or just dock it all together in your status bar.
On the technical side I did experience a minor hiccup: While browsing through my friends list the app listed one of my buddies under “offline” despite displaying the green status symbol for “available.” Checking with Gtalk on my desktop PC confirmed that this may be a bit of a bug. Relatively minor, as I at least can see my friends availability.
If you’re a power user and find yourself constantly switching between your current app and your chat client I highly suggest you give LilyPad HD a spin. Paying $1.49 for the app bundles you with the Gtalk client. Future updates include other popular messengers for additional in app purchase. This may disappoint some, but considering how much other instant messaging applications cost, you’ll only have to pay for what you actually use. Even in beta, LilyPad HD is a must-have productivity option.