While nosing around the web for some Android research, I came across a piece of software called Open Home. Mashable included it in a top Android application roundup this past weekend, but the software has existed for a while. The application takes the place of your default Android home screen, which is what you see when hitting the dedicated Home button. Technically, the button runs “Launcher” but for all intents and purposes, most people call it Home. The Open Home software adds a bunch of usability features, but I also noticed that it provides me with seven home screens on the Nexus One.
Although Open Home is an $3.99 app, I’d really call it a platform. With it, you can skin or customize your Android interface, add Live Folders, shortcuts and such. And there’s tons of custom skins, fonts, icon packs for sale in the Android Market to enhance it. There’s even an experimental 3D cube interface in the latest version — as you swipe to other home screens, the screen rotates like a cube. I haven’t dropped the $3.99 just yet, but I did install Open Home Lite, which is free. It wasn’t until after installation that I realized the software adds two extra home screens to the Nexus One. I don’t have enough apps and shortcuts to fill up seven screens just yet, but I’m heading in that direction, so the extra space will come in handy. Each of the screens can hold a custom descriptive title as well — check this old but relevant video to see how one user categorized the screens on his HTC Magic.
Aside from the extra home screens, Open Home adds dedicated search on the left and an interesting little slideout drawer on the right side of the screen. Simply tap and swipe the star to pull out the drawer. I’m thinking of placing the most used apps in the little drawer so that they’re available from any of the seven screens. And I don’t even have to give up my Live Wallpapers since Open Home supports them on my handset. Perhaps one of the best features of all — Open Home allows for home screen rotation to landscape mode, something I wish Android would support natively.
I’ll be playing some more with the free, lite version of Open Home, but I’m already inclined to drop the $3.99 — it’s a small price to pay for two extra home screens and customization features.
Images courtesy of Better Android Apps
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