Android App Review: QuickDesk Beta

My QuickDesk
My QuickDesk

Publisher: Faruq Rasid
Platform: Android (All versions)
Cost: Free! (Donations Encouraged)
[AppBrain Link]
Release Date: June 20, 2010
Version Reviewed: 0.2

As an Android user, I rely heavily on my home screens to launch and switch between applications.  While this works well, I’ve often wondered if there was a better way to move between applications.  One trick I use often is to hold down on the home button; this will bring up a list of the most recently used applications.  While this feature is nice, it is very limited.  Thanks to the creative mind of Faruq Rasid, there’s now a better way: enter QuickDesk.

QuickDesk is not a home screen replacement, it’s an add-on that allows you to launch an app or even use a widget from within any application in Android.  It’s a semi-transparent screen that you can pull up from anywhere by simply double-tapping the home button or long pressing the search button.  On this screen, you can add app shortcuts, folders, and widgets in the 5×4 area.  It’s a great place to put settings widgets, direct call links, or anything you use frequently.

Home ChooserI keep the SwitchPro widget, some direct call links, and some of my favorite shortcuts on my QuickDesk.  It’s a great way to check the e-mail I just received while reading online or playing a game.  Having the settings widget there also makes it very easy to change my ring volume and brightness settings on the fly.  I also added my Slacker Radio widget to QuickDesk, making it easy to change songs from anywhere.

Adding items to QuickDesk is just as simple as adding them to your home screens.  Just long-press on a blank spot, and select shortcut, widget, or folder.  To add an application, select shortcut, then application, and choose from the list.  The menu button has a configure option, notifications (great when you’re in a full-screen app), and Android Settings.

After you install QuickDesk, press the home button, and it will ask you what you would like the button to do.  If you would like to use QuickDesk by double-tapping on the home button, select QuickDesk.  If you’d like to use it by long-pressing the search button, select your regular launcher.  To set it to the search button, hold the search button, and you’ll receive a similar choice of applications.  If you hit menu->configure from within QuickDesk, there is a Help/Quick Start guide as well.

For a very early beta, QuickDesk works quite well.  It is still lacking some features such as horizontal rotation and possibly multiple screens, but Faruq is off to a great start with this app.  It comes up very quickly when set as a long-press on the search button, though I’ve had some occasional issues with it launching slowly on the home button double-tap.  My only other complaint is that when Android decides to kill it, it can take a couple seconds for the widgets to load. It has yet to let me down by not opening or force closing though.

Overall, this is a must-have app for any Android device.  The ability to jump to just about any program or setting without the extra step of going back home can be a big timesaver.  Also, the price can’t be beat!  If you love QuickDesk and wish to support the developer, there is a donate link in the app menu.

Published by

Ryan Minert

is the resident Android nerd. His hobbies include golfing, video games, and tinkering on his Motorola Droid. He is currently a database/project analyst for an education planning and financing corporation.

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