Android’s default homescreen is simple, and as we all know, well…bland-ish. Larva Labs is stirring up some serious competition with their replacement GUI app, which is described as an almost Facebookian approach, and a mix between “Zune, Motoblur, and HTC’s Sense”.
Instead of the mundane grid of icons and widgets we’ve seen in handhelds since the days of the likes of the Palm OS, SlideScreen manages to integrates information from “various sources—Google Reader, Twitter, email, text messages, calendar appointments, and stocks—right onto the homescreen.” These are impressions from CrunchGear and Gizmodo.
What was immediately apparent was the level of work that went into it: the whole shebang runs very smoothly, and at times seemed more responsive than the normal homescreen ever was. Each category is color-coded, and dragging the status bar up and down allows you to cycle through new tweets, stock updates, unread Google Reader items, new text messages, emails, and calendar entries. A quick tap on the corresponding icon opens up the associated app, while a long press lets you create a new entry. Without the traditional homescreen, the menu key is now in charge of bringing up the app drawer, along with a shortcut bar along the top for quick access to the apps that were normally out front.
I love how the app frees you from the standard homescreen. No longer does your home button lead you to a portal for opening other apps; SlideScreen gives you access to the information within the apps that you want. Tapping on any individual update, like a tweet or an email, takes you into the corresponding app (in this case, it might be Twidroid and Gmail), but you can just look at the homescreen and get the gist of what’s happening in your phone.
I’m expecting to receive an Android phone in the next couple of days, and one of the few things I was not looking forward to was the blandness of the default homescreen – this looks incredibly slick and quite possibly a thrill to use. It’s available now in the Market either as a free, ad-supported version or a Pro version going for $6.99. Any thoughts?