If you don’t like the look of your stock Android Mobile Desktop, Home Screen Replacement apps are a great way change that. They allow you to alter the way your phone looks by changing the icons, shortcut docks along with several other things. There are plenty of them available in the market, but we picked 5 that stand out from the rest. Here are the Top 5 Home Screen Replacement apps for your phone…
1. Launcher Pro
LauncherPro is one of the most seamless, bug-free launchers out there. With almost every aspect of the application customizable, it’s hard to make the choice to switch to anything else once you give it a go.
When you first load the application, you will see the basic home screen layout with three screens and some default widgets and icons. Unlike your default launcher, LauncherPro sports five dock icon spots for you to customize with custom icons, actions, pop-ups, and much more. These icons act as shortcuts for you to set your own favorite applications to be accessible on any screen within the home screens. By swiping these shortcut bars left or right, you will notice that there are three more shortcut bars, made up of five icons, allowing you to set 15 of your favorite applications to be accessible at any point on the home screen.
In addition, you are also able to set custom icons for the applications you choose to put into the shortcut bar as well as the dock background, ranging from the default set to any image that is appropriately sized to fit the dock dimensions.
As you begin to look through the settings, you stumble upon an abundance of things to “tweak” to your liking. LauncherPro lets you change the number of home screens, the transition effect between the screens, and the size of the grid on each home screen. Other bells and whistles include a 3D drawer, super-smooth scrolling, app drawer opening and closing animations, customizable app drawer grid size, elastic scrolling, Sense UI-style animated screen previews, and even more.
Summary: Combined with its “free” price tag, the quality of this application is well worth the time to check it out. There is a reason the majority of the Android community opts to go for LauncherPro — it will not disappoint!
2. ADW. Launcher
While LauncherPro is my first choice of launcher, the brilliant people at AnderWeb have made a close second. With most of the settings and features nearly identical to LauncherPro’s, you may find it hard to tell them apart.
Nevertheless, there are certain things that allow ADW.Launcher to stand out from its competition in addition to the features already mentioned in LauncherPro. By flicking up on the app drawer icon, you have the ability to drag and drop an unlimited number of shortcuts and folders into the dock which is useful if you have a large pile of things you need to access quickly.
Another feature that sets ADW.Launcher apart is the app drawer styles that you are able to choose rather than being stuck with one default one. If you are a fan of the Samsung Galaxy S line of phones with the side scrolling app drawer, you’re in luck. AnderWeb has made that available to you, as well as the default Android fluidly-scrolling vertical drawer.
Another feature that LauncherPro lacks but that ADW has is the ability to long press on any icon on the home screen, which reveals a menu where you are able to change the icon and name of the application. (LauncherPro requires you to remove the icon and create a new one from scratch.)
Summary: Overall, ADW.Launcher is a solid, powerful, and free home screen replacement solution that will keep you satisfied for weeks to come. With lots of customization options, smooth scrolling, and fast response time, it is one of the best you will find.
Larva Labs Ltd have taken a different approach to the Android home screen. SlideScreen is made up of a multi-paneled screen that consists of a Phone, Messaging, Calendars, News, Stocks, and Twitter feeds. At the center of all of these is a main slider that consists of the date, time, weather information, battery status, and signal strength for both 3G and Wi-Fi, all very neatly packed into this container.
By sliding the main slider, you are able to adjust the size of each of the media section, allowing you to pick which sections you use or want the most. Access to all of your installed applications can be found through a shortcut in the menu.
By clicking on a slider section, you are greeted with the application that is associated with the section. For example, if you see that you missed a call, you tap the “phone” section, and are taken to the call history. Any upcoming appointments or important dates are shown under the “calendar” section and will take you to Slidescreen’s version of a calendar app when pressed.
Summary: Larva Labs Ltd have broken away from the generic Android-esque look and tried something new — and it’s quite polished. There is the occasional bug or poorly coded section here and there, but an update will fix those without a doubt. It’s definitely something new if you want to get away from the same old look of every other launcher out there.
4. Go Launcher Ex
A relatively new launcher on the scene is GO Launcher EX by the up and coming Android development stars and authors of the GO SMS application, GO Dev Team.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this launcher is that inside the app drawer is a task killer of running applications. Rather than having a task killer running all the time and ruining your battery life, you now have the ability to shut down any running tasks on the fly, within the application, in case you are running low on memory.
By looking through the Preferences of this application, it becomes obvious that the GO Launcher Dev Team are huge fans of customizing. So many preference selections — Display, Screen, Dock, App Drawer, Operation, Advanced, and Theme Settings — may seem overwhelming at first, but after looking through all of the settings, you can customize GO Launcher EX to look like almost anything you like.
If you don’t need LauncherPro Plus’s widgets, GO Launcher Ex is definitely the best choice due to the build quality, number of features, usefulness and overall depth of the application. If you happen to have purchased LauncherPro Plus already, then GO Launcher doesn’t have any extra features that may warrant the switch after having shelled out $2.99. Regardless, it is a fantastic launcher. I cannot stress that enough.
Even though GO Launcher EX all the same features of ADW, and LauncherPro, the developers go that extra mile by including all of the incredible visual customization and are extremely active on their thread on XDA, jumping at the opportunity to include any features users suggest.
5. Launcher 7
Launcher 7 is a Windows Phone 7 style launcher for your Android phone. It has 2 x 1 tiles, original windows 7 background, and configurable tile colors. The launcher will really give your phone a different kind of look from the other launchers in the market. There are free & paid versions available, the main difference being that the free one has an ad in the application list.
Let us know below in comments if you find any other better home screen replacement screen, and we will try including that in the article.