Android App Review: WidgetLocker Lockscreen

Publisher: TeslaCoil Software
Platform: Android 2.1 or higher
Cost: $0.99 (Introductory Sale)
[AppBrain Link]
Release Date: June 17, 2010
Version Reviewed: 1.1.2

As most of you know, one of the best things about Android is the customization ability of the operating system.  Even without rooting, you can do many things to personalize your device and make it fit your style.  Besides the home screen, probably the most seen screens in Android is the lock screen.  The lock screen is the boring old slide to unlock screen with a clock, and that’s about it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to customize the lock screen with some widgets to make it more useful? Enter WidgetLocker Lockscreen.  WidgetLocker allows you to completely customize your lock screen with widgets, and even application shortcuts. Continue reading Android App Review: WidgetLocker Lockscreen

To Root, or not to Root?

SuperUserOne of the biggest questions that Android power users must face is whether or not to root their device.  The majority of Android devices have been rooted, and those that haven’t will probably be rooted soon.  Rooting your device can be risky, but there are several benefits to doing so.  These include themes, screenshots, backups, wireless tethering,  overclocking, and custom ROMs.  Read on past the break for more details.

Disclaimer: Rooting your device is risky.  It may void the manufacturer’s warranty, and may ruin your device – even if done properly.  Hijinks, Inc. and myself take no responsibility for any damages that may occur by doing so. Continue reading To Root, or not to Root?

What You Need to Know About FroYo

Android 2.2The talk in the Android world right now is about Android 2.2, codenamed FroYo.  FroYo will build on the improvements made in the last major release, Éclair by increasing speed and adding some great new features.  More on that in a bit.

Google has been releasing builds to Nexus One owners already, but as for the rest of us, we’re still waiting for phone manufacturers to build their versions and release the official builds for our phones.  The source code was released a few weeks ago, so we should start seeing releases by the end of the month.  There are rumors that the release for the Motorola Droid will be coming as soon as mid-July.  The Droid should be one of the first phones to receive the update as it doesn’t require any major changes to the interface.  In contrast, HTC has said that they will have FroYo released to all of their latest phones by Christmas, so you Sense users have some waiting to do. [Phandroid] Continue reading What You Need to Know About FroYo

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. Continue reading Android App Review: QuickDesk Beta

Android Users – Ditch Your Stock Launcher!

Hi! I’m Ryan – the new guy here! First, I want to say thanks to Aaron for bringing me on board here to write about Android. I’m looking forward to sharing tips, tricks, and great apps to a great new reader base!

For my first article, I’d like to start by talking about the most used application on just about every Android phone – the home screen (or launcher). Everything starts from here, so why not make it the best app on your phone? Those of you with the Sense UI on your phones (most HTC phones) have it pretty good. You get seven pages, and switching between them is very smooth. For the rest of us, especially Motorola Droid users, the home screen experience isn’t nearly as good. The stock Droid launcher only has 3 pages, and scrolling can be choppy, especially if you have several widgets active.

The good news is that there are options. Android allows other applications to become the default launcher. There are currently two great options for launcher replacements, and both are FREE on the Android Market – LauncherPro and ADW.Launcher by AnderWeb.
Continue reading Android Users – Ditch Your Stock Launcher!