Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Android Home Replacement Round-Up

androidOkay, so you have yourself a great Android phone, but you don’t care for the UI (user interface).  Perhaps you are not a fan of Blur, Sense, or any of the other home UI’s that LG, Samsung, Motorola, or HTC uses, but the stock interface just isn’t enough either.  I feel you.  I love the stock interface for its clean appearance, but there are times when I need more.  Those times are a lot.  I love options and the ability to have a choice on what my phones appearance is.  With that, let me introduce you to three of my top pics for home replacement apps.

I know there are a lot other home replacement apps out there.  Some have great features, but are buggy and crash prone.  Others are great for lower end model android phones with minimalistic appearances and very few features.  However, if you have a mid-range to high end model Android, you will want features galore that let you alter everything about your device.  Here are those three that can do just that for you.

ADW LauncherThis is a popular home launcher that offers a slew of great options to let you tweak your home UI until your hearts content.  This app lets up to 7 home screens and gives a classic style app drawer or an iPhone/Galaxy S style.  You can change how the background scrolls, elastic bounce when flicking screens, etc.

LauncherPro – This one used to be my Home UI replacement of choice.  I still have it installed, but may not be using it anymore.  It isn’t because it sucks.  On the contrary, it is a great home UI replacement app.  Why I switched, I will tell you later.  This one lets you have up to 7 home screens, a scrolling dock, the ability to have a dock image, and also includes some very useful widgets built it.  This app has a free version with tons of options, but if you purchase it, which is cheap, you get access to the widgets.  Another great option is email, missed call, and new SMS counters.  This is pretty handy.  Also, for missed calls and new sms is a pop up screen when you click up on the dock icon in question.  There is also a Pinch zoom that lets you go to a screen preview of all your home screens.  One issue with this is that it does eat up a LOT of ram.

Go Launcher – This is my new Home UI Replacement of choice.  Why?  It takes features from LauncherPro and ADW and mashes them together in a clean, stable app.  You also have the awesome ability to rearrange home screens.  If you have a tendancy like me to add and remove home screens, you don’t like having to move icons and widgets around to be on your main home screen.  With this app, you just press and hold on the home screen, drag it to the spot you want it in, and viola!  As I said, this contains all the features of ADW and LauncherPro except for some of the pop ups and the widgets of LauncherPro.  I personally find the App Drawer the best in this version with on that very closely resembles that of the Galaxy S phones, but you can also switch it to the up/down scrolling style of the standard UI.

So there are my three picks.  If you think you know of one that is better and why, please let me know in the comments below.  All three of these home replacements are free, except for LauncherPro’s premium widget features.  I say give them all a whirl to test them out.  Don’t forget to install an easy Home switching app so you can set one as a default and then change it later.

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