It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.
What better way to celebrate the end of Customization Month than with some of the most insane examples of Android homescreens out there? The Android customization community is one of the most passionate bunch of smartphone geeks out there and they’re working dilligently every day to outdo themselves and their colleagues to explore possibilities of what you can do with a phone, a bunch of ingenious apps and some insane bursts of creativity.
And one of the best places to see this creativity at work is MyColorScreen, a site that encourages users to share their homescreen setups and discuss them with fellow modders. Without further ado then, here’s a list of some of the most awe-inspiring homescreen setups on Android, hand-picked from MyColorScreen.
I’ve offered a brief description of what I think is so great about each screen as well as the key apps and widgets that have been used to create it. For a consolidated list of links to the most popular apps used in these setups, scroll to the end of this post.
One of the most popular homescreen setups on MyColorScreen, Pie UI Revisited by ColorfulVisuals has inspired tens if not hundreds of clones all over the website. The setup revolves around a bright colored donut with apps mapped to each quadrant and a bunch of shorcuts and indicators all around. Apps used in the setup are SwitchPro Widget, Minimalistic Text and UCCW.
Focusing on vibrance and simplicity, the Tiles 3.0 homescreen setup by dadilydoo uses the available screen real estate beautifully. The top half of the screen is dedicated to a colorful wallpaper with a clock in the bottom-right corner, followed by a row of notifications, a full month’s calendar and a row of frequently used apps at the bottom. The setup is built mostly by just using Nova Laucher and UCCW for the notification widgets.
By far the most minimalistic homescreen setup in this list, Leaves by Keeent is a super simple layout that can be termed as the opposite of a typical iOS homescreen. Instead of the clutter of app icons and docks, this one just focuses on collating the most important information front and center with a deceptively placed app drawer icon for when you need it. As has been the pattern till now, it is powered by the UCCW widget.
If you like big photos and a vivid home screen, this setup by Giang Huy should be right up your alley. Using Desktop Visualizer to use actual photographs as icons, he divides the space beautifully between his six most used apps, a UCCW clock and calendar and a small bottom panel with a button for the app drawer. The launcher is Apex Launcher, but I’m not sure it matters much in this case.
Taking an entirely different approach from the icon focused setups of most phones, Rounded Tiles by nikk creates a busy layout that utilizes every inch of the screen’s real estate for a dashboard-like visual spectacle. This one may not be for everyone but it is a style on its own and can’t be discounted. The apps used are Nova Launcher Prime, UCCW, Fancy Widgets and Simple Calendar.
This one is pretty unique. Making brilliant use of the beautiful 3D wallpaper image, BRKotucs has created a home screen setup that tends to hide the icons and widgets he’s using in plain sight. Look a little deep and you will notice the clever ways in which he has integrated functionality within the page as if it is all part of the image. Again, it is all done using UCCW and the assets can all be downloaded from here.
Talking about hiding things in plain sight, how about an infographic style layout that looks like a pretty image wallpaper but doubles up as a functional homescreen setup once you know exactly what’s what. This setup by fukumin is nothing but a piece of art that uses apps like Glaeja & SwitchPro Widget to compose app icons and widgets into something to behold.
Another photo based approach, the Rewinds setup by S4l3h breaks the usual norm on Android by placing elements in a vertical layout rather than horizontal, including replacing the usually horizontal dock of frequently used apps with a vertical one at the left edge. This one uses the ADW Launcher EX with the UCCW and Multipicture Live Wallpaper apps. More details and a tutorial can be found here.
Tired of all the multicolor icons cluttering up your screen? How about this almost entirely text-based setup by Shukla? Using UCCW for an all-text clock, Missed It widgets for a notifications HUD, text-based app shortcuts instead of icons and a quick view of the week’s agenda using the Simple Calendar widget, the setups achieves a subtle, minimalistic and yet very futuristic look that goes brilliantly with the white Galaxy S3.
Continuing with our minimalism theme, here’s something you don’t see very often — an excellent combination of a minimal look with perfectly balanced functionality and quick access to everything you need. Pippoto takes an almost empty screen, a gorgeous wallpaper with pixel perfect positioning of widgets and icons to create this beauty. As you’ve probably guessed, that’s UCCW at work along with Nova Launcher.
As the name suggests, this setup by nikk is all about clean lines, a minimalistic look and a simple homescreen that is meant to stand out in a crowd with it visual appeal. There’s just enough information on-screen that you need on a regular basis and icons to the three main apps on the phone. Everything else is hidden away either on another screen or in the app drawer for when you need it. The setup uses SSLauncher, UCCW, Fancy Widgets and SwitchPro Widget.
Here’s another photo-based setup that uses a precisely composed wallpaper and cleverly positioned custom icons by oemstyla. The map of circles in the center makes for perfect icons for the five most used apps with the clock at the top, notifications at the bottom and the tiny app drawer icon in the bottom corner bringing up the rest. Apps used include UCCW and Simple Calendar Widget.
There’s something to be said about skeumorphism. I don’t want to get into the debate of whether it is good or bad, but GaRyArTs here seems to really dig it. Why else would he make his entire homescreen look like a notepad with a todo list on it? The list, if you notice carefully is rather cleverly put together and provides perfect placeholders for the most common tasks on the phone. He even weaves in notifications for phone calls, messages and e-mail although there’s no details on what apps are being used here.
From just a few icons and shortcuts to a whole bunch of them. Shorcut Ring by Peszek takes a completely different approach with placing as many apps and widgets across the perimeter of a circle as possible. Categorized by color and using tiny icons with text, this setup makes accessing what you need extremely simple. Made entirely using UCCW running on top of Apex Launcher Pro, the assets for the setup are available on the screen’s page if you need them.
We are one earth is a beautifully bright and yet simplistic setup by Karsten that takes design cues from the Google Now UI and adds a healthy dose of color and visuals. Following the illustration at the top are the clock and few app icons, then the centerpiece earth image that doubles up as a missed calls indicator and the dock at the bottom. The setup makes good use of UCCW, Desktop Visualizer and Missed It! to put all the functional elements together nicely.
If you are a fan of dark themes, check out this one from Chromium. Dark Complex makes brilliant use of black and blue to create a futuristic dashboard that looks less like a phone homescreen and more like a HUD from a sci-fi movie. A majority of the screen real estate is taken by the clock and notifications, neatly arranged around the portal in the middle, with just the five app icons at the bottom. As has been the case with pretty much every setup here, this one is all about a bunch of UCCW widgets working their magic.
Apps That Make It All Happen
Having seen all that brilliant work, I’m sure you’re wondering how they all put it together, right? Well, it takes a fairly heavy dose of creativity, of course, which I can’t really help you with. What I can do however, is to point you to the apps that these artists have used to make all of these setups happen. Check out the list below and go have some fun messing around with your Android homescreen.
Of course, another tool you will need is a good desktop image editing app like Adobe Photoshop to get all those wallpapers exactly the way you want them. Remember that a huge chunk of the visual appeal in almost all of these setups comes from the precisely edited and positioned wallpapers that form the basis for the final design.
Inspired much? Then what are you waiting for? Go grab the tools, pick up some munchies and soda, lock yourself in for a few hours and start customizing your Android in whatever way works for you. And once you are done, don’t forget to share the result with the world — either in the comments below or over at MyColorScreen where you’re bound to get some super useful feedback and motivation to carry on.