Aug 5, 2010
One of the most prominent differences between the iOS platform and Android is the ability to truly customize your home screen. By default, the Android OS, depending on your firmware version offers you the flexibility to place your favorite apps, widgets, and even live wallpapers on your home screen to customize the look and feel to suit your needs. Unfortunately, this does take quite a bit of work and to get everything you want on your home screen, you could wind up having multiple screens configured to give you all of your information. Thatâ€™s where SlideScreen Pro steps in.
SlideScreen Pro is the most solid home screen replacement app on the market to date. Loading the application for the first time will bring you to a tutorial screen which helps you seamlessly configure the app to suit your needs. After you finish the tutorial, itâ€™s time to start setting up your SlideScreen.
The status bar is the only constant element of the app and provides quite a bit of information for you along with separating the content of your SlideScreen. Above the status bar is your personal information, including text messages, emails, and calendar appointments. Below the status bar is your public information, including your news feed, stocks, Twitter, and Facebook. Depending on which way your information stream slants, you can tap and hold on the status bar to drag it up or down, providing more visibility into whichever side youâ€™d like to see. With all of the information thatâ€™s contained on your SlideScreen, there are times where youâ€™ll want to see just one specific section, like Twitter for example. Dragging your status bar to the top of the screen enters you into Filter View. The icon in the right hand side of the status bar determines which section youâ€™re filtering, while tapping it switches the sections for you.
But SlideScreen Pro isnâ€™t just for viewing information. All of the categories that are displayed also have an icon in the right hand side of the screen. A single tap on any of the icons will load the appropriate app and content you were looking to read more about. A long press on the icon will create a new item in that category. For example, holding your finger over the Twitter icon results in a prompt for you to send out a new tweet while tapping the icon will load the Twitter application. Thereâ€™s also the ability to clear certain data from your SlideScreen. By swiping from left to right over a specific item, youâ€™ll be able to hide it from that category and load in another item from the bottom of the category.
When first getting use to SlideScreen, you may feel that it shows too much of one category over another, but itâ€™s actually displayed like that for a reason. With 8 different categories available for you to display on your SlideScreen, the ones that are empty (often times Phone Calls and SMS/MMS) will be hidden until they have an item in them. Scrolling the status bar up or down will hide the empty fields first, then reduce the more populated fields, and eventually hide the less populated fields before you get to Filter View. While it would be nice to select the minimum and maximum number of rows that each category could be allotted, that would over complicate the greatest appeal of the app: simplicity. With SlideScreen Pro, youâ€™re configured in a matter of minutes to display all of your information on one single home screen. Thereâ€™s absolutely no fuss to it and getting use to the new layout is much easier than you would have expected.
My only complaint about the entire app is that you lose the ability to truly customize pages of your applications. My original home screen contained several applications that I used often and would be able to quickly press after unlocking my phone. While the apps are only one page deep (pressing the menu button on your phone when the app is configured as your home screen will load up the app screen) the fact that you can only set 8 apps at the top of the screen for quick access will make you really think about what apps you want to use most often. My personal suggestion would be to take advantage of the status bar area. A swipe action from left to right could reveal all 8 hotkeyed apps or perhaps pages of apps that youâ€™ve already configured. That way, youâ€™re limiting the amount of time that youâ€™re spending off the main SlideScreen page.
Iâ€™ve had a chance to enjoy this app on two devices: the Motorola Droid and Motorola Droid X. The main difference that youâ€™ll notice with SlideScreen between the two devices isnâ€™t performance, but visual. On the Droid, I found that the limited screen size would often result in the rows having brief information. On the Droid X, the additional size made it easier to read and kept me on the SlideScreen more often as I could make decisions on whether I needed to launch the category app to read more or just swipe away that row to make room for something more interesting.
I highly recommend this app for all Android users of any device (except for the incredibly small devices such as the HTC Tattoo) for complete home screen replacement.