Love the ability to change up the look of your phone? Have a friend with an Apple iPhone or Microsoft Windows Phone 7 device that likes to brag about how incredible the interface is? Well that’s one of the great things about Android. You have the ability to change up your home menu to make it look like another type of phones.
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:
1. The ability to have the universal search as a screen to the left of the home screen.
2. Pressing and holding an app allows you to either put it into a folder, move them around, or uninstall them.
3. No app tray.
4. It auto loads all of your icons into the home screen pages.
5. Plus a bunch more iPhone looking coolness.
Next up is the Windows Phone 7 interface, which I will affectionately refer to as WP7. For that we will turn our attention over to an app appropriately called Launcher7. Launcher7 gives you the start screen look of WP7 along with the ability to customize your tiles, and pin an app to the start screen. it also allows you to swipe to the right screen and get a full list of all your apps. The colors are customizable and you can even create custom tiles using your own images.
So that is a couple of examples of ways you can change up your Android phone to make it look more like and iPhone or a Windows Phone 7 phone.
So you have an Android phone that you want to be able to make your own, or you may feel a little restricted by Google’s Android Market. What other options are out there? I do a lot of talking and linking to things in Android Market, but I also talk and link a lot about the Amazon Appstore. The Amazon Appstore (among others – see below) is an alternate place to download apps for Android and along with the below list gives you the freedom to get your apps from anywhere.
I will cover a handful of app stores below. Feel free to check them out and comment about your experiences.
Name: SlideME App Store
Description: SlideME is a great alternative to the Google Android Market, and is the site that has made recent (geek gamer) news because of the user yongzh getting booted out of Google’s market and pulling all of his apps and moving over to SlideME and releasing them for free. He is the author of the (insert-classic-system-here)OID games like, NESOID, SNESOID, GameBoid. Just for those apps alone you should go check out the SlideME appstore.
Description: AndSpot takes a unique approach to the idea of an app store. One that all you power users out there will love. They have a monthly service that gives you UNLIMITED Android app downloads for a low low monthly rate of $8 per month. It is in Beta so you have to sign up for it and wait to get an invite.
Description: Aproov is a web based app “store” that specializes is only Free apps. This is great if you are someone that spends a lot of time looking through the regular market’s free section and struggle with it because it is not designed for just free apps, where this app store is designed just for that.
Description: OnlyAndroid is an app store that has an option that is similar to the Amazon Appstore. It offers a “deal of the day” on an android app or service. Although it is not a free app, but it also does include services, for example the deal for today (7/29/11) is a 15 month subscription to the SmrtGuard service which gives you data backup and a lost phone finder service for 50% off. It is definitely a site to keep tabs on because they might offer a great deal on that certain app you have been eyeing.
Description: Amazon Appstore is the alternative appstore that I am obviously a huge fan of mainly because of the feature they offer every day that gives you a FREE app that you can just download. No strings attached. They have a great selection of apps and almost all of the apps have a sale price that is cheaper than the “normal” Android Market.
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I am a little bit embarrassed to say that I have been displaying all these fancy barcodes all over the site to be able to have a quick way for you do download these great apps, but I haven’t done any explaining on how they work or what programs to use to scan them. Well the way it works is simple. You just have to load the app (3 great examples below) and choose the option to scan a barcode. It will load your camera app up with a cool target or line on it to help you line up the barcode and once it focuses and recognizes the barcode it will load the appropriate page (or a confirmation screen letting you know where it is taking you to). So without further delay, here are my favorite 3 barcode scanners (in no particular order).
Name: ZXing Barcode Scanner
Description: Scan barcodes on products then look up prices and reviews. You can also scan Data Matrix and QR Codes containing URLs, contact info, etc. Also share your contacts, apps, and bookmarks via QR Code. This is why contacts permissions are needed.
Description: Scan any QR code from your camera, read from QRs shown in Android browser, saved in your SD card or any QR image given its Internet URL. The only QR code app rated “5.0 out of 5 stars” by PCWorld. Get the best!
Description: Barcode scanner for QR Codes and much more! QuickMark is a mobile barcode scanner app that allows auto-scanning of multiple barcode formats from your phone. (Quick Code, QR Code, Data Matrix, EAN 8/13, Code39, Code128) Use mobile barcodes to access web links, add contacts, navigate maps, and much more! Works with QuickMark’s Chrome browser extension!
Did you see how I did that? I just linked to a barcode scanner app with a barcode… Yeah, that’s how I roll. I guess it is there incase you want to test it out, or you already have on of the apps and want to try another one. Regardless of the reasoning enjoy!
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone: