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2011 marked the arrival of a design standard for Android apps. Until then, badly designed apps were the hallmark of the fledgeling Android ecosystem. But come Ice Cream Sandwich and the beautiful Galaxy Nexus, Android got a nice makeover. For once Android looked good, and much to the dismay of the “fanbois”, it even looked better. The following iterations had built on this new look Android. Even with Android 4.4, KitKat, barring the visual and a few functional changes, Android still feels the same.
However, Android, being the nice, open OS that it is, will always give you options. And this past year has seen some wild options, that have completely revolutionized the way we interact with Android. Here are 5 Android apps, which give the popular quite the makeover
This has got to be one of the most popular Beta’s in the world right now. A contextually aware lock screen that presents the apps that you’re most likely to use, is quite interesting. The ones who’ve got their hands on the pre release beta are quite happy with it. Apart from the lock screen, it also presents these apps in a sidebar when you’re not on the lock screen. It has now launched for US and Canada, but for us in the far east, we've still got to wait. 🙁
Another Beta, only you can find someone who can invite you to using the app. They have a radically different take on the Android home screen. Again, context aware app presentation on the main screen. It’s got a few interesting location based features, through integration with the FourSquare API. But the most interesting feature is their approach to organizing apps. There are two separate screens, which sorts your apps by categories and alphabets. It’s a little weak on widgets, but otherwise, a completely different Android experience.
Another Beta, but this a public one. As the name suggests, it’s a theme engine for Android’s home screen. But this is no ordinary theme engine. So different are the themes on Themer, that it takes you back to those Symbian S 40 days, where each new theme made you feel you were using a new phone. What is interesting about this app, is that the interaction on the homscreen is different for every theme. But like any other launcher, this does cause a battery drain, as the stock launcher is also running in the background as you’re using this one.
Every time an OEM comes up with a cool new feature, you will surely find an app or a hack for it, and you can have the feature on your phone as well. Appsi is one such app. The Galaxy S3 came with the pretty near multi screen option, which was essentially a sidebar with a list of all your important apps. This cut down at least 2 clicks to opening an app. Appsi is one of those apps which brings this to all other Android phones. In fact, you can even slip in a widget or two in Appsi’s sidebar.
On the face of it, this is probably the least radical of all the homescreen apps on this list. But don’t be mistaken; upon using it, you will see that there is so much more to this launcher than what meets the eye. Be it the pie launcher-esque lower corner app launchers or the most epic snake transitions between the screen, Launcher 360 pro really gives Android a completely new dimension. Then again, it has the same issues that every other launcher has - battery.
I’m sure there are few that we’ve left out. Use the comments section to show us some more epic apps on Android, that has given it a makeover.
Also, if you’re an Android developer or a Designer, sign up to this form and we’ll give you a challenge that will put your skills to the ultimate test!