Despite a few innovations over the last couple of years, most notably by Samsung and Sony, smartphones still haven’t quite mastered the handling of multitasking. Keeping multiple apps running at the same time is a breeze, but switching between them is a pain.
MiniMap is a different take on multitasking and is built around a maps app. Instead of requiring you to switch between several full-screen apps, MiniMap places a tiny thumbnail map as an overlay onto any other app you’re using. It’s a great idea and offers the core functionality of the Google Maps app. The overlay sits in the corner of your screen (but you can reposition it if you want to) showing your exact location, and updates in real time.
MiniMap is a really effective approach to providing nonintrusive access to a ‘glanceable’ app, ie one that you look at regularly, but rarely need to interact with. It gives you the information you need, but also enables you to continue using your phone for other tasks. With screen sizes and resolutions still on the rise, we could easily see this idea extended to other apps. Floating YouTube video, anyone?