Customizing Your Android Device…Power Overwhelming

The world of Android can be a complex place if not navigated properly. Android offers a high level of customization, openness and freedom which cannot be found in the other major smartphone operating systems (iOS and Windows Phone). This unstructured but free nature breeds a misconception about Android…that it’s only for high level tinkerers, developers and power users. Fortunately, there is no truth behind this. In all aspects, your Android device can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Customizing an android phone or tablet is no different in this regard. Below is a quick guide to customizing your Android device. This will allow you to effectively transform it from a plain device to a device that caters specifically to you. After each section, examples of my personal setup will be shown, as well as what apps or widgets were used should you want to try something similar.

BASIC CUSTOMIZATION

Download a home screen launcher

A homescreen launcher is usually one of the first items I download from the Google Play store. The launcher replaces the stock homescreen (TouchWiz, Sense or whatever UI overlay comes with your device) and in most cases adds additional functionality and flair to the homescreen. On top of customizing the overall look of your homescreens, most launchers allow you to modify many underlying aspects of the homescreen such as swipe speed across home pages, screen transition animation, grid sizes, gestures, etc.

My launcher of choice is Nova Launcher

   

Get a Good Wallpaper

Do not underestimate the power of a good lockscreen and/or home wallpaper. The wallpaper is the first image you see when unlocking your phone or moving through various home screens, so make the wallpaper something you find appealing. Android also allows for live & interactive wallpapers.

Here’s a link to a great resource for HD Wallpapers 

  

Use Widgets!!!

Widgets bring your home screen to life by bringing information to your home screen. All forms of widgets are available…ranging from clocks, to productivity widgets, to complex system widgets. The good thing about widgets is they display the information you want without having to open an app to find it. They can be placed anywhere on the homescreen. Several custom homescreen launchers will also allow you to resize the widgets to fit your homescreen better. Widgets consume varying amounts of memory so if you experience significant lag on your homescreen, try removing some of the memory intensive widgets that are present.

     

Recommended Apps with widgets. This list could go on for ages but here are a few that I’m currently using/have used in the past.

Time & Weather: Go WeatherBeWeather , Beautiful Widgets

Calendar: Simple Calendar Widget, Pure Grid Calendar Widget 

News: Flipboard, Pulse , Scrollable News Widget

Music: Poweramp , TuneIn Radio

Sports: ESPN Scorecenter, Goal.com

System: System Tuner, Brightness Level DiscGO Power Master

Try out multiple apps

The Android market has hundreds of thousands of apps. If you don’t like a particular app on your device, then search the Play store for another similar app. Android offers choice and lots of it…so try out several similar apps and decide which one best suits your needs.

Example: Stock Samsung Calculator vs  Seven+ WP7 Calculator

 

EXPERT CUSTOMIZATION

Rooting your device

Rooting takes having control of your device to the next level. A rooted phone grants you system wide permissions so you can access and change system files, uninstall bloatware, install programs that allow for system control, overclock and underclock the CPU, and many numerous other things. Rooting your phone isn’t something to be taken lightly and requires you to follow specific instructions or risk your phone or tablet becoming an expensive paperweight. That being said, there are plenty of resources and forums where you can find step by step instructions, how to guides, and programs that root your device for you.

My go to resource for anything having to do with a smartphone or tablet is XDA Developers Forum.

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What are your favorite ways to customize your android? What apps or widgets do you use? Feel free to share your homescreen setups and favorite apps in the comments below.

By: Chisom Agada

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Editorial

Author:chizzwhiz

Full Time Engineer, Oil and Gas Industry Full Time Tech Enthusiast...Part Time Blogger Favorite Sport: Soccer

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2 Comments on “Customizing Your Android Device…Power Overwhelming”

  1. Ronny
    August 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM #

    Lovely article mate. I’ve never thought about the little things that add to my devices aesthetic like a simple calculator. Seems like its time update the wireless wardrobe. Lo

    • August 2, 2012 at 8:04 AM #

      Thanks Ronny. Android has so many options that I can’t help but explore what’s out there when it comes to themes and apps. Aesthetics are important to me since I spend so much time on my devices.

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