One of the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone’s most endearing features, is the ability to play back videos in a pop up window so you can watch them while also doing other tasks, such as browsing the web. Thanks to this little free app this functionality is now available on other Android phones and tablets.
Popcorn Player is very easy to use. Once you start it up it shows you a simple menu screen where you can choose either to play local content or internet clips. If you click on the internet option a box pops up into which you have to paste the address of the video. Videos can be in MP4 or WebM format, so it’ll happily play YouTube videos, for example. Alternatively you can choose the local option and play videos that you’ve already got stored on your phone. What’s more, you can have two videos playing back at the same time. All you’ve got to do to load the second one is to pull down the notification panel and then tap the Popcorn Player entry to open another player window. However, at present two player windows is the maximum you can have open at the same time.
While videos are playing back you can tap and drag on the windows to move them around the screen, resizing them by using the pinch to zoom gesture or by taping and dragging on the bottom right hand edge of the window. The video continues playing smoothly even when you’re moving the window around or resizing it, which is pretty snazzy.
The main problem at the moment is a lack of support for popular video formats. For example, the Android app will not allow you to play the Xvid or MKV videos that we tried. Seeing as they’re probably two of the most popular formats for video at the moment, this is a major failing.
There are a few other niggles too as sadly the Popcorn Player app does not open videos using the correct aspect ratio, so you usually have to resize the player window to correct this.
Nevertheless, the app shows real potential and there’s a serious wow factor to seeing video play back so effortlessly in a popup window. As a result we hope the developer continues to improve the app and add support for more formats in the future.
Popcorn Player Verdict
It’s still early days for Popcorn Player, and the app is missing some key features that would make it a must have. However, it does show a lot of potential and hopefully the app will continue to grow with new features and improves to the video format support added in the near future.