QuickDesk is an app that seems so simple in concept, but turns out to be extremely powerful once you begin using it. Once you give it a go, you’ll wonder why it’s not a built-in feature of the Android OS. By providing one-click access to a customizable dashboard, QuickDesk adds a whole different level of efficiency to navigating your device. To put it another way: it allows you to access an app from within an app.
QuickDesk was developed by Faruq Rasid, the man behind Helix Launcher and Calendr+. Given his creations, it seems that Faruq is definitely into being productive and efficient. QuickDesk fits the bill perfectly, allowing you to eliminate unnecessary swiping, tapping, and waiting when trying to get things done on your Android device.
QuickDesk is not a home screen replacement, but rather a complement to your existing launcher. It mostly stays well out of your way until you call on it. This is called Cooperative Mode and is the default behavior for QuickDesk; it means that you retain access your favorite home screen launcher by tapping your Home button. You launch QuickDesk by either double-tapping Home or long-pressing Search.
For QuickDesk to function properly, you do need to set it as your default home screen launcher, after which you can choose your actual launcher from within the QuickDesk preferences. It sounds confusing, but QuickDesk basically passes along your home button presses to your favorite launcher. When you first run QuickDesk, it will guide you through the process of getting things set up.
QuickDesk's edit mode
Now comes the fun part. You configure QuickDesk just as you would your actual home screen. It supports applications, shortcuts, folders, and even widgets. Once you launch QuickDesk by double-tapping the home button or long-pressing your search button, you enter edit mode by long-pressing anywhere on the screen. (Edit mode is denoted by a hammer and wrench in the background, as in the screenshot above.) Now, you can tap+hold to add items to the screen or drag existing items to the trash.
What’s the Point?
You may be asking yourself why in the world you need a home screen when you already have a home screen. What is the point of having this “extra” home screen?
The goal is to make you more efficient. QuickDesk reduces the number of taps it takes to get around your device.
Let’s take the simple example of doing a quick calculation on your device. Maybe you’re filling out a form or composing an email:
You hit your home button
You find your calculator, which might possibly be on your home screen…or maybe it’s on a different home screen (swipe, swipe, swipe).
Actually, you never put your calculator on your home screen, so you have to jump into your app launcher and find it (more tapping and swiping).
There, found the calculator and launched it. You’ve done the math. Now, you need to get back to what you were doing.
We’ll take the shortcut here and long-press the home key to select our previous task from recently running apps.
Even with the shortcut, you can see that this process is way more convoluted than it needs to be. By the time you get back to what you were doing, you have probably broken your concentration completely. Your train of thought has officially been derailed. Let’s break it down with QuickDesk in play.
You double-tap home to bring up QuickDesk.
You had the forethought to add your calculator to it, so you open it up and do your calculation.
You hit your back key and it takes you right back where you started.
QuickDesk has been a major time saver for me and I can’t imagine what I’d do without it. It’s just so convenient to be able to quickly jump in to and out of another app without completely interrupting your productive flow. A few other examples of places where QuickDesk comes in handy:
Check-ins: Do you use Foursquare? GetGlue? No need to stop what you’re doing for a simple check-in. Just add them to your QuickDesk.
Passwords: do you use an app like Keepass to securely enter passwords into apps or websites? Quickly switch to it with QuickDesk.
Status Updates: You should definitely tweet that, but you don’t want to stop what you’re doing just for a status update. No worries, add something like AnyPost to your QuickDesk or maybe a widget for updating your favorite social network.
Music: Put a widget on QD so you can skip that one annoying song you keep forgetting to remove from your Android.
News: Stay on top of the latest headlines with a quick double-tap from wherever you are by adding a news widget to your QuickDesk screen.
But, Wait – There’s More!
This whole post may sound like a huge sales pitch, but that’s what happens when people talk about something that is truly useful. Not only do you gain quick access to whatever apps and widgets you want, but you can also jump between running apps. Sure, you could hold your Home key to access the last few apps you’ve opened, but you could also jump into QuickDesk and scroll through the last 16. QuickDesk, in my experience on a number of ROMS, causes no lag and is blazing fast. I’ve used it to bail myself out when my actual launcher was acting up.
All in all, I give QuickDesk a 10/10. There isn’t really much more that I’d want it to do because its main appeal lies in its simplicity and speed. There are other apps out there that provide similar functionality, but if any are approaching what QuickDesk is capable of, I haven’t found them.