Android Free App Recap October 30th – Replacement Home Screen Launchers

Android Free App Recap October 30th – Replacement Home Screen Launchers

Oct 30, 2012

One of the coolest things about owning an Android is the ability to change the look of the home screens. I don’t mean just changing the wallpaper, I mean really changing the look; colors, icons, fonts, you name it. To make these changes, there are a couple of steps. The first is what we will talk about here; changing the home screen launcher.

A launcher is an application made to replace the layout of the Android phone or tablet. Changing the home screen launcher can have benefits other than cosmetic changes. In some cases, changing the launcher can extend Android battery life. For some great theme ideas, take a look at the weekly Theme Thursday article where a new theme for a launcher is reviewed each week.

GO Launcher EX

GO Launcher EX is arguably the most popular home screen launcher in the Google Play Store for phones and tablets. There are tons of add-ons and themes for this and all of the GO Dev products. Add plugins like Go Locker, Go Notifications and different widgets. GO Launcher EX also has more themes than I can count. GO Launcher EX is the base or framework and can be easily changed using a theme. Some themes simply change the colors while other themes change the icons and fonts. Themes range from seasonal to holiday to cartoon characters and everything in-between.

Download GO Launcher EX


ADWLauncher is another popular Android home screen launcher. In fact, ADW is used in many custom ROMs. However, ADW only works on phones. The layout of the launcher is pretty simple. At the bottom there is a 3 application dock. One of the spaces in the dock is set to open the app drawer. If desired, gestures can be used to evoke actions. Swipe a finger to open the app drawer or pinch the screen to go to an app. ADW can also be customized with thousands of themes.

Download ADWLauncher

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher is a fairly new Android home screen launcher. One of the neat things about Nova is the option to use both GO Launcher EX and ADW themes to customize the home screens. Another unique feature is being able to change the colors of parts of the launcher without adding a theme.

Download Nova Launcher

Chameleon Launcher Review

Chameleon Launcher Review

Sep 27, 2012

Finding the right launcher can make all the difference in the world when better productivity is needed. The problem is, most launchers don’t allow for both a cosmetically pleasing look and enhanced productivity. Chameleon Launcher is a new launcher that does both.

The reason Chameleon Launcher is different is because of the layout. When first starting out there’s a blank main screen and three application icons at the bottom. By pressing and holding the screen, a list of the different widgets will appear. Select one of the widgets like Facebook or Twitter for example and a space on the home screen grid will be filled by that which. The widgets take up two spaces but can be resized to take up more or less space.

The widgets can also be a rearranged by pressing and holding the screen. Once the the little gear icon shows up on all of the widgets, drag the widget where it would look better. This is also how to change the settings of the widget or log into the social account being displayed in the widget. The different home screens can be set up so there’s a personal, a work and a weekends setup. Some of the widgets available are the time of day, Facebook, weather, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail and others.

Another widget that’s handy is the RSS feed option. There’s a specific site whose information is important, this widget will keep the up-to-date information on the home screen. Chameleon Launcher is the only launcher to my knowledge that allows the end user to create their own widgets. Use their API to make a widget and make the tablet home screen even more personalized and useful.

Initially at the bottom of the screen, there are three applications in what looks like a dock. To get to the applications, simply press the space off to either side of the applications in the dock or press the icon to the right side that looks like a small grid. All of the applications will pop up. Dragging and dropping the application icon into the dock is all it takes to move the app to the dock.

Extended Controls

Extended Controls

Sep 23, 2010

A favorite past time of any Android user is tweaking one’s home screen to utmost perfection. And unlike our iPhone loving friends, we can actually do something besides just rearrange our apps and put them in folders. On tap for your home customization fix today is a super duper fantastic widget with an incredibly creative name: Extended Controls. What does it do, you ask? Why, it extends the power control widget that comes on Android with some awesome features. And it’ll only cost you 79 Euro cents!

You may remember my previous review of a similar widget app, SwitchPro Widget. Extended Controls is very similar. It mimics the style of the original power control widget and gives you tons of customizable options. You can change the icon style, background transparency, and even the shape and color of the indicator.

Extended control gives you a myriad of toggles to add to your home screen. Some of my favorite are the toggle for sd card mount and torch (flashlight for those on the west side of the Atlantic). Like SwitchPro Widget, you can set your widget size from 1 to 4 spaces wide. But Extended Control lets you cram as many toggles as you want on there. If you see the screen shot below you can abserve the rather ridiculous possibilities this option affords you.

My hands down, favorite feature of Extended Control is the ability to edit widgets after you place them on your home screen. Just run the app in your app list and it will give you a list of widgets and you can go in and tweak them to your pleasure. Not only that, but you can enable a modify button the widget itself for easy editing.

Users seem to reporting some bugs at present, like the APN toggle not working. However, I had no trouble getting it to work on my HTC Incredible after I switched the setting to have it control the mobile network directly.

I think we can all agree the the stock power control widget leaves much to be desired. So it is imperative for any self respecting Androider to get a souped up control widget like Extended Control. So is this the best one out there? That’s not so easy to say. I advise all to check it out, try it, and see if you like it. Either way you’ll certainly find it worth your .79 Euro.

Launch-X Pro Review

Launch-X Pro Review

Aug 26, 2010

Ah, the Android home screen. It’s the first argument in any Android vs. iPhone debate. Not only can you put all kinds of widgets and shortcuts there, but you can replace the stock home altogether. I mean, your iPhone toting friends only just got wallpapers. Anyway, the way I like to keep my home screen is neat and tidy. I keep most widgets on screens adjacent to my main page so I can appreciate a nice nature-scene wallpaper. Launch-X Pro is a handy and very customizable widget that has furthered my goal of home screen tidiness. And at .99, it might be your ticket to home screen bliss.

Launch-X Pro has two parts: the application and the widgets. In the app you can create widgets that appear as a row of shortcuts on your home screen. You can select up to 49 shortcuts split into 7 different pages within each widget. Besides apps and contacts, anything that appears in the “shortcuts” menu when you add items to your home screen can be added.

SlideScreen Pro Review

SlideScreen Pro Review

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. That’s where SlideScreen Pro steps in.