It looks like our friends that make the customer ROM Cyanogenmod have hit a major milestone overnight. They have had 1,000,000 UNIQUE active users. This meaning that they aren’t counting redownloads, or reinstalls. Congrats!
CyanogenMod just passed 1 million active users. http://t.co/24UpkKx1 – koush (@koush)
Today I am going to show you a couple of great home replacement apps that will make your phone look like an iPhone or a Windows Phone 7 phone.
Starting off with the iPhone we have an app called EspierLauncher. It provides a nearly identical home screen to the iPhone. If you are familiar with the MUIU custom rom, it gives you the same sort of interface without having to reflash your whole phone. It gives you a bunch of iPhone features:
(As a new feature of the site we will be discussing the paid app of the week. Here you will find a hand-tested personally recommended paid app every app.)
This weeks paid app is WidgetLocker. WidgetLocker is a cool app that allows you to change up your lock screen and add a ton of functionality to your phone. The main feature is that it gives you the ability to add home screen widgets and shortcuts to your lock screen, therefore you aren’t wasting all that phone screen.
|WidgetLocker (on left), Waaaaay cooler.|
It also gives you the option to change the look of the lockscreen so that it can look like stock, HTC Sense, Samsung Touchwiz, or even the iPhone…
From the Developer:
Customize your lock screen!
WidgetLocker is a lock screen replacement that puts you in control of the look, feel and layout of your lock screen.
– Drag and Drop placement of Sliders, Android Widgets and App Shortcuts
– Sliders look selectable from built-in styles (Android, Sense, Motorola 2.2, iPhone, and Android 2.0 Rotary) or from user-themes.
– Slider Actions can be customized, for example Slide-to-launch-Camera or Slide-to-call-your-Girlfriend.
– Resizable widgets and custom grid size
– Notification badges on apps/sliders via ADWNotifier ( http://t.co/LDKMQii )
– Customize which widgets/buttons are allowed or blocked at the lock screen
– Optional Easy Wake Mode, allows all hardware buttons to wake, rather than just the power button (Does not work on all phones)
Portions of WidgetLocker are based on the excellent ADW.Launcher ( http://t.co/YvVMkGc ) by Ander Webb and friends.
Official Gingerbread 2.3.3+ breaks trackball wake: http://goo.gl/NaSwN
CM7 widget disappearing fix has been accepted by the CM team, expect it in a nightly soon: http://goo.gl/9xkex
So you may be wondering about all this talk about live wallpapers – what they are and how to install them. Well the install part is a piece of cake, but what do you do with them once they are installed. How do you open them? So you see a cool live wallpaper (like this cool Thunderstorm Live Wallpaper one), but once you install it the “Open” button is greyed out (disabled) and you are not sure where to go from here.
Let me start out by explaining what a live wallpaper is for all of you out there that are unsure. A live wallpaper is a wallpaper that contains an animation, which may or may not use the sensors and buttons on the device to interact with it. Check out the below youtube video for an example:
To set a live wallpaper as the wallpaper on your phone, you can’t just run it, although some newer live wallpapers are coming out that have an icon and take you to a direction page, telling you how to install them. What you have to do is go into the wallpaper setting on the phone. On most phones you just have to press the menu button, then choose wallpaper. If you have an HTC phone there is a paintbrush (or plus symbol) to the right side of the main menu, and you can press that too, It will give you a list of places to get an image file from:
-Gallery – Allows you to pick a picture taken from your camera and set it as a wallpaper (cropped or not).
-Wallpaper Gallery – Takes you to the list of preloaded (non-live/static) wallpapers.
-Live Wallpapers – Shows you a list of all the installed Live Wallpapers.
Once you select the Live Wallpapers menu you can change settings, and customize the wallpaper based on the predefined settings that the particular wallpaper offers. this just means that if the developer didn’t add a setting to change a certian color then the option is not going to be available. you can also preview the wallpaper, and if satisfied save it as your default.
A couple of things to remember with live wallpapers: They are always running, so they can negatively effect the performance of your phone and the battery life. Also depending on how advanced the live wallpaper is it can take up application storage memory, especially because live wallpapers have to be saved to the phone, and can’t run off the memory card.
Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:
For this part of the conversation about Root we will talk about Custom Roms.
All of the internets are a buzz talking about Custom Roms. You may be asking yourself, “What is a Custom Rom?” Well (put simply) it is an alternate build of the operating system for your android device. So let’s describe it this way. Android is an Open Source operating system. This means that the source code is all accessible to the common man. So someone (or a group.corporation) can take the source code and make various changes/improvements. So once installed it could have a different look, removed bloatware, added apps and features.
A couple of great examples of high quality custom roms are Cyanogenmod and MIUI. Both of these are available for a long list of devices and give you some very cool (and very different from each other) features. Cyanogenmod gives you a more Android stock look, preloaded with ADW Launcher and a bunch of preloaded features like tethering and different settings. On the other hand, with MIUI you get a totally redesigned launcher and menu system. The software doesn’t have a menu tray, it preloads all of your apps into the expandable number of screens. You can sort them however you want, and add widgets too.
Check out these youtube videos.The MIUI videos are all in Japanese, but the software is available in English.
There are a couple ways to install either of these 2 custom roms to your phone, but today I will be covering the easy way, because if there is an easy way to do something why would you do it the hard way? So what is this easy way, you might be asking? Well it is through an app called Rom Manager.
Rom Manager is a pretty simple looking app that gives you a few cool options. First off, to make it work you have to choose the first option at the top of the app, “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery”. What this does is overwrites the phones boot menu. The manufacturer puts together a bootloader menu to give a few simple options if the phone’s software gets corrupt. This overwrites it with a different menu that just adds a few options there. This allows the phone to be easily flashed with non manufacturer software.
Once this is complete you can install a file downloaded from the developer’s website, or browse compatible roms right through the “Download ROM” menu. Depending on what model phone you have it will give you a list of compatible roms, complete with screenshots, ratings and comments.
Once you choose the ROM it will download it and alert you when finished. Then it will give you the option to backup your current setup, and wipe your data (which I usually do). Once you hitok it will reboot itself into the bootloader screen and do the options you have specified. Then it will reboot into your new setup. Try it out, see what you think, and if you don’t like what you see (provided you chose the Backup option) all you have to do is choose the “Manage and Restore Backups” option (Not shown in screenshots, scroll down on main menu to see it) and it will let you restore to your previous state.
So go out and try it! Just make sure you are completely backup up before starting. The cool thing about the recovery is that once flashed onto your phone (through the app) you have an extra step of protection on your phone for backups. Also remember that we are not responsible for any damage or data loss.
Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:
|Name: SwiftKey X|
SwiftKey X is a next-generation AI keyboard, now with unrivaled prediction and personalization.
SwiftKey X for smartphones builds on TouchType’s SwiftKey keyboard to offer cloud personalization, a new prediction engine, and a host of new UI improvements.
Using artificial intelligence breakthroughs, the SwiftKey X keyboard accurately predicts your most likely next word based on what you’ve already written. It can also scan your sent messages, and learn as you use it to make predictions even more accurately over time. The more you get to know your SwiftKey keyboard, the more it will get to know you.
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/VwvNj (Amazon)|
|Name: Keyboard from Android 2.3|
If your phone isn’t updated to gingerbread yet you can get the keyboard from 2.3 and load it right on your phone.
1. Multitouch keyboard
2. User dictionary, built-in dictionary
3. Auto correction
4. Redesigned and optimized keyboard layout and style
5. Speech to text
6. Split main keyboard app and dictionaries.
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/ms99g|
|Name: Better keyboard 8|
Better keyboard is the best and the most popular keyboard on the android market
Supports many languages:
Arabic, Czech, Danish, Deutsch, English, Espanol, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Hebrew, Italiano, Korean, Netherlands, Norwegian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/gbEBT|
|Name: Perfect keyboard|
Take command of your Android device’s touchpad keypad with a Perfect and smart Keyboard for android. You can customize the look of the keyboard with eight different themes and add additional functionality to your device. Perfect Keyboard lets you use custom dictionaries, control background and text colors, and adjust the keyboard’s vibration density. In short, Perfect Keyboard allows you to setup your Android phone or tablet’s touchpad keyboard so that it works best for you.
Note: Perfect Keyboard works only on Android 2.2 and up
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/W9BSX|
|Name: Swype Beta|
-Swype v3 introduces two major new features: Tap Correction and Horizontal Word Choice List
-Our Tap Correction engine utilizes many of the concepts that make swyping so accurate. Seamlessly go from typing to swyping and back without missing a beat!
-The Horizontal Word Choice List replaces our popup word choice window, giving users an experience more in-line with evolving Android standards. It also makes dictionary control and word selection faster and easier.
-Swype v3 is available for devices with HVGA, WVGA, FWVGA, QVGA, WQVGA, WSVGA, qHD screen sizes
-Introducing a special Honeycomb-only WXGA version for Android tablets, with features like “moveable keyboard” that you won’t find anywhere else!
-To see which languages are supported on your device, check the language and resolution table
-Improved licensing: Swype will no longer be disabled after a reboot on some devices; added support for devices that don’t have a cellular radio (wifi-only tablets); no more license failures for CDMA devices in airplane mode.
-Simplified registration by allowing users to authenticate their email address directly through the installer
-Too many other improvements to list! Download Swype v3 NOW to explore everything the next generation of Swype has to offer!
-Limited End User Support – mostly via our forum
-If your phone came pre-installed with Swype
-DO NOT download this beta (it won’t work)
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/1yfdg|
Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:
So you are sick of the main menu of your phone, you want to change it up a little but fear the idea of rooting your phone. There is a great option for Android phones that will allow you to change the menu system that loads when you press your home screen. There are a countless Home Replacement options, so I will just give you a Top 10 list here – in the form of a countdown to make it dramatic.
|Name: 10. Claystone Launcher|
|Description: What sets Claystone apart from the others is that it has a really cool icon stacking capability that has a neat 3D look. Aside from this the features look pretty standard, but I recomend it if you are looking for something a little different. Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/embed/fNMW18_aPmE|
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/OsIeU|
|Name: 9. Slidescreen|
|Description: Slidescreen is a completely different home screen. It presents you with your information first. You will see your Facebook information, RSS feeds, Twitter, Etc on the home page. You have the ability to slide the center clock bar up and down to see more of one or the other. To access your apps you simply have to press the menu button. It also has a cool option for your top 8 apps at the top of the app list.|
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/IdF0q|
|Name: 8. Launcher 7|
|Description: Launcher 7 is an Android launcher that gives your Google powered phone the look and feel of a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phone. It has the ability to scroll up and down through the main menu, and access your app list by swiping to the right. It’s very true to the original and even comparing the 2 side by side shows very few differences. The developer is really good about keeping it updated too.|
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/D7LHE|
|Name: 7. Regina 3D Launcher|
|Description: Regina 3D is a launcher that at a glance looks a lot like all the other launchers, until you go to switch between the different screens and you will find that it has a 3D cube effect, much like a desktop computer can have. Looks really cool to show off to your friends, but it does get a little old after a while.|
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/egA0Y|
|Name: 6. vLauncher|
|Description: vLauncher has a clean look to it that reminds a lot of people of the iPhone interface. One of the main pros to this launcher is that all of your icons are on your home screen, you don’t have to open a tray to see them, plus without all the widgets and extras it runs very fast, even on an older device, like me…|
|Download Link: http://goo.gl/yqMKO|
So if you like these and want to try them, follow the links and download them to you phone. After they are installed the next time you press the home key it will ask you if you want to load the current launcher or the new one. You can also set one as a default by checking the check box. So check them out and stay tuned for the top 5…