One of the many great things about Android, particularly when it comes to comparison with iOS, is the fact that the operating system is almost endlessly customizable. If you don’t like the launcher your phone or tablet came with, there are countless others to choose from.
However, despite a few differences here and there, the basic idea behind many launchers and homescreen organizers is essentially the same. If you have a large number of icons that you need access to, this can mean that you end up getting a thumb workout as you scroll back and forth through screens. Imgy is here to give your thumb a rest and provide you with virtually unlimited amount of homescreen space.
The app takes the idea of tag clouds, once popular with blogs but now seemingly dying out, and gives it a visual twist. With Imgy installed you can view a massive number of shortcuts on your homescreen – links to apps, contacts, bookmarks etc – and the more you click a particular icon, the larger it will become.
Imgy is not a launcher in the traditional sense of the word so it will not replace whichever launcher you are currently using. Instead, it provides you with three different styles of widgets that you can use individually or together: shortcuts, contacts and bookmarks.
Imgy’s widget selection allows for great flexibility.
Each of these widgets is available in different sizes, and while the bookmarks and contacts widgets are undeniably useful, it is the apps one that is going to be of most interest to the majority of users. You may resent Imgy for forcing you to create folders and customize homescreens one more time, however the advantage is that its smart behavior means that you will never need to do it again.
Even though Imgy is available free of charge, its best features are disabled. In order to unlock these you’ll have to buy the companion app; Imgy Unlocker costs just £0.63/$0.99 and gives you access to the automatic icon resizing feature as well as the ability to make icons more transparent the less they are clicked. These are really the most noteworthy features of the app, so to consider using it without this low-cost upgrade is an unwise move.
To get the most from Imgy, you’ll need the full version
Having selected the style and size of a widget you’d like to add to your homescreen, you’ll be presented with the Settings to configure it to your liking. You can start off by choosing which icons you’d like to include in the widget – you can create several if you want, grouping related icons together for ease of navigation.
The setup wizard helps configure your widgets
You can then choose which of the frequency of use options you’d like to implement and whether or not newly installed apps should be added. Once all this has been done, the widget is created on your homescreen and you can add others if you want.
Selecting which apps to add is slightly time-consuming
Whichever widget size you choose to begin with, if you have a suitable launcher installed – such as Go Launcher – you can resize it to any dimensions you want. This means that you could add a 4×2 widget and expand it to fill a 5×5 grid. Enlarging to a bigger size makes it easier to work with a larger number of icons.
You’ll have to wait for a while to see the icons resizing in the Imgy widget, but as you use your apps you’ll find that those shortcuts you use most often become bigger and those you launch less frequently gradually shrink.
Automatic resizing prioritizes your favorite apps
There’s no denying that Imgy is best suited for making your apps easier to access, but don’t forget that it also offers bookmarks and contacts widgets. However, this can become unweildy, particularly if you have a large number of contacts.
Contact icons can become too small to be identifiable
Imgy’s Text Alternative – Tagy
I mentioned at the top of this review that Imgy brings to mind tag clouds. This should come as little surprise as the app is really just an extension of this idea and the same company has also produced Tagy which is a text based version of Imgy that works in very much the same way.
Tagy is similar to Imgy but uses text instead
Having said that, it’s good to remember that Android is a very visual operating system, and working with icons rather than text makes more sense — it is far easier to identify an icon at a quick glance than it is to read text labels.
The key to success with Imgy is to be sparing with the number of shortcuts you add to any widgets you create. The claim that the app gives you an unlimited amount of homescreen space stems from the idea that there is no limit placed on the number of icons that can be added to a widget – but add too many and icons become too small to be usable. This is less of an issue on Android tablets, but it’s something to keep in mind nevertheless.
Whether you chose to use Imgy to make it easier to access your most frequently used app without having to scroll through endless screens or to determine which of your apps you do not use very often (and could hence remove), this is a versatile and intriguing app. Having to manually select the apps, contacts or bookmarks is somewhat annoying, but it’s still an innovative way of accessing the contents of your Android device.