One of the most powerful features of Android is the ability to have a custom home screen launcher. Don’t like your stock launcher’s appearance? Not comfortable rooting your device? Do you want to root your device and add further customization? No problem, launchers are where it’s at.
EverythingMe hopes to get in on the market for alternative launcher apps that work in place of the stock interface on Android devices. Continuing a trend that we see with launchers, EverythingMe tries to be predictive in nature, changing homescreen components based on factors like time of day. Moving from beta to an official release, the EverythingMe Launcher does include a few additional features in addition to the homescreen replacement function.
Widgets are certainly a dime a dozen on the Google Play Store however, it’s rare to find a good Gmail widget that is both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. In steps the Gmail Widget by Katzoft, a simple, intuitive yet very functional application for quickly glancing at your incoming Gmail. The application offers several different types of home screen widgets that display the accurate number of unread messages while also offering a quick preview of them. The developer touts they’ve made these ICS esque apps now available for devices still running Froyo 2.2 and Gingerbread 2.3. However, the application should work for most versions of Android out there. Get timely updates as emails arrive, quickly glance at subjects and the first line of the message while on the fly, see all of your priority inbox mail, compose a message and choose from several different widget sizes. The application will run you $1.49 in the Play Store and also works on tablets. Ready to give it a go? Check out the download link below as well as a qr code. Don’t forget to check out all of the features as well as the quick video demo of the app in action. Feel free to leave your comments below too.
Last week we mentioned that Fabio Maccari, the developer of the popular home screen replacement app, Launcher Pro, has added widget skinning to his application. Well, we’ve seen a number of skins already hit the market running and we’ve got to say, they look great. The OutInSpace skin in particular looks fantastic and is highly recommended for use with dark backgrounds. If you’re a Plus user, then what are you waiting for? Get on over to our popular apps database for the download or hit the QR code below after the break.
If you’ve got an HTC Android device running HTC’s Sense overlay, then chances are you’re pretty familiar with “Scenes”. The feature allows you to have different homescreen layout for different situations, such as work, play, driving, weekdays, etc..
Now, it looks like Motorola is following suit with their Droid Pro, and adding waht they’re calling “Profiles”. In a video (which you can view after the break) released by Motorola, they show off how you can set up different profiles for home, work, and weekend.
It’s always good to have more customization options on our devices, and we hope that the new feature on the Droid Pro is able to take off. Again, hit the break to check out the video, and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Ericsson has been busy working on a software update for the Xperia X10, but it’s missing one crucial component – an update to the Android OS! That’s right, five months after its release, they’re still not bringing Android 2.2 to the X10.
What they are bringing, however, is improvements to both the homescreen and the camera. The homescreen is getting the addition of an extra row of icons, bringing the total up to 20 from 16.
The camera has received a nifty continuous autofocus feature, which will readjust the camera’s focus as the focused object moves closer and further away.
Continue after the break for a video of both the new homescreen, and this continuous autofocus feature.
Do you have an HTC phone? How about a Samsung or Motorola device? If so, a lot of you are familiar with the way manufacturers put their own overlays on user interfaces: HTC Sense, Motoblur, and TouchWiz are what I’m talking about here.
Today’s rant comes in by saying this: manufacturers need to back off on the custom UI overlays. I’m not saying I don’t like them. Heck, I do like at least one, HTC Sense. I have an HTC Hero, and I enjoy all the features that come with it, and think it’s great.That being said, I use a custom ROM that gives me a stock Android interface. What I have a problem with is the fact that manufacturers have a need to try and make these UI overlays mandatory. While I suppose it may be their choice to embed it so deeply on their devices, I feel that the manufacturers should make their overlays optional.
There are a couple of reasons I feel this should be done:
- UI Overlays delay the release of major Android updates. When a new update is available for Android, say, from 2.1 to 2.2, if you have a device using one of these overlays, you have to wait for the manufacturers to get the update and customize it to work with their proprietary UI. This forces consumers to have to live with bugs, device issues and speed lags even longer.
- Some consumers simply want the option to use vanilla (stock from Google) Android… myself included. I like the speed of it: much faster than the experience when using Sense. HTC Sense tends to eat up spare memory, and I’m not too keen on that.
Like I said, I’m not saying I don’t like these UI overlays. I simply think that the manufacturers should give users the options to shut off these overlays without having to hack their devices or download home screen replacements to do it. I know they’re probably just trying to keep us loyal, but hey – we already bought their device, shouldn’t that be enough? So, manufacturers, if you’re listening, take this to heart, and give us the freedom to choose what our open-source experience should look like.
LauncherPro, one of the most popular third party home screen replacements for Android, is about to go through some major changes. The developer has written up a blog post addressing these changes, and they all look pretty good to us. The problem with LauncherPro now, according to the developer, is that the code is “a bit hacky”, meaning the features that are built into the app (such as 7 home screens, some of the widgets, etc.) weren’t really meant to run on top of the Android platform the way that they do. This has caused some issues for users in the stability arena. But, it looks like that is about to change.
The developer has said he is rewriting LauncherPro’s code from scratch. In his post, he states that, once complete, the update will mean:
- Improved speed
- Reduced memory usage, which means fewer force-closes and possibly allow us to have up to 9 homescreens
- Increased flexibility. I’m coding everything to make it as flexible as possible, which will allow LauncherPro to better adapt to new device form factors, such as tablets.
- Cleaner code that I’ll know inside and out. That means that adding new features can be implemented faster since I’ll know every single line of code in LauncherPro.
- Rewriting the app will give me the opportunity to fix the little bugs that haven’t been addressed yet, and to improve parts of the code that could use some improvement.
Also mentioned in the post is the fact that LauncherPro Plus paid users will not have to worry about paying again for the new version. He states, “The new rewritten LauncherPro will simply replace the current one.”
Recently, Google updated their Gmail app, breaking it away from being part of the slew of included Google apps and giving it some changes, one of those changes being Google’s new “priority inbox“. Unfortunately, Google decided to bury the feature down in some settings, forcing users to going to Menu > Labels > Important. Want this feature to be more up front, accessible via a direct link on your home screen? If so, LifeHacker tells us how:
To add a shortcut to your Priority Inbox, long press on an empty space on your home screen and choose Shortcuts. Scroll down to Gmail Label and choose Important. The shortcut will show up on your home scree, and you’ll have quick access to your important messages in just one tap. Unfortunately, at the moment, apps like previously mentioned Gmail Label Notifier don’t seem to recognize the Important label in Gmail. Thus, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get notifications for only high priority messages just yet.
The updated Gmail app is for Froyo phones only at this time.
Has priority inbox made your Android experience any better? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re the type of person that has a ton of shortcuts on your homescreen(s) for your apps, then this widget might just be for you. As you can see from the above screenshot, the Multicon widget puts four icons shortcuts in the space previously taken up by one shortcut icon. This is a great way for you to pack more shortcuts onto your screen, or just keep things a little more organized. The only downside I found (or I haven’t figured out how yet) is how to put less than four apps in the widget and not have the default spaceholders appear. But it’s a minor issue that I’m happy to deal with. But best of all? It’s ad-free and free to download as well.
Rate & download: Multicon