One of the things that I love about the Android community is how much it reminds me of the old Symbian/S60 community. With such a customizable interface, everyone has a different setup, and everyone loves to share their setup with everyone else. Most of the time, this is with just plain old screenshots, but with the capabilities in Android, this often isn’t the full story.
Let’s start with my dock – I only have 1 dock – and that’s where all of the functionality really lies. There are 5 icons, but each has 3 functions, outlined below:
- Tap for Phone
- Swipe Up for Google Voice
- Tap for People/Contacts
- Swipe Up for Facebook
- Swipe Down for Facebook Messenger
- Menu/App Drawer
- Tap for App Drawer
- Swipe Up for Play Store
- Swipe Down for Amazon Appstore
- Tap for Messaging
- Swipe Up for Falcon Pro (Twitter app)
- Swipe Down for Google+
- Tap for Chrome
- Swipe Up for uTorrent Remote
- Swipe Down for XDA Developers Forum App
As you can see – with only 5 apps, I’m able to get to nearly 15 different functions. Also, since I have such easy access to these, most of these are also hidden in my app drawer – this makes the app drawer less cluttered and easier to navigate.
I also only have 3 homescreens. Apex Launcher, my 3rd party launcher of choice, supports up to 7 or 9 or something ridiculous like that, but in my opinion, you only really need 3.
Default Screen (#2)
Technically, this is my 2nd screen, cause it’s in the middle, but it’s my default one. I like it because it’s really simple, but incredibly functional. The main feature is Beautiful Widgets’ 5X2 Clock with the SuperSense clock theme and Tick weather theme. I love that it’s beautiful, functional, and informative. I can tap the various parts to jump to the appropriate app (i.e. tapping the forecast opens Weatherbug).
Below that is BattStatt, which gives me a beautiful text-based battery percentage readout. It’s not entirely necessary, since I have battery percentage reported in my status bar, but I like it anyways. To the left is the camera icon, since most Android phones lack a proper camera button, and to the right is Instagram, which is somewhat similar to the camera app.
Between the clock and bottom row is a bunch of empty space. This allows my wallpaper to shine through, but it also allows me some blank space for a limited-time widget. For instance, if I have something big coming up, I’ll use the DaysUntil widget, and it goes here.
Personal Homescreen (#1)
From the main homescreen, I can slide to the left to get to my personal homescreen. Here I have the Foursquare Places widget (which has been troublesome lately), so I can check-in easily. Below that is a large Calendar widget (using Android Agenda Widget for separate calendars) only showing my personal Google Calendar entries. Along the right edge are a handful of shortcuts, including Google+, Feedly, Extended Controls (for custom quick shortcuts), and the Hangouts app (formerly Gtalk).
Below this are a few folders, which I’ve only just started getting used to having. There’s a games folder, a music apps folder, an imaging apps folder, and a video apps folder. I also keep a shortcut to Google Maps on this homescreen.
I like this homescreen because I can quickly swipe to it to get to most of the things that I use in my personal life. I could probably improve on it a bit (removing the duplicate Google+ shortcut, for instance), but I haven’t yet.
Work Homescreen (#3)
From the main homescreen, I can slide to the right to get to my work homescreen. My work calendar is the most important thing for me during the workday, so I have an oversized Calendar Widget (again, using Android Agenda Widget so it only shows work entries). Along the edge of this is a shortcut to Enhanced Email, an AWESOME Exchange email app, as well as Root Explorer file explorer, Dropbox, and the official Twitter app*.
*I use the official Twitter app for my work Twitter accounts on my phone, and Falcon Pro for my personal account. I also purposefully do NOT have a shortcut to this on my primary homescreen. This helps to reduce the possibility of me tweeting from the wrong account on accident.
On my Nexus 7, I actually have pretty much the same setup, with a few key changes.
Because my Nexus 7 is a tablet and not a phone, I have no need for many of the apps that I have on my Nexus 4. Thus, my dock looks like this:
Really, the only ones that are the same are the middle button and the Chrome shortcut – both in terms of the shortcut itself and the gestures.
Fewer shortcuts here, since I don’t need Google Maps, and I have a different dock setup outlined above.
I don’t have the shortcuts to the camera or Instagram, since my Nexus 7 doesn’t have a camera to take pictures with. Otherwise, this is pretty much the same.
Here I have the calendar still, but I also have 3 Inbox shortcuts – one for my main inbox, one for the subfolder where I put emails from my boss, and one for the subfolder where I get important notifications. I also have a shortcut to my Google Analytics app, and quick access to a number of file management tools, instead of just Root Explorer and Dropbox.
With this setup, I’m really quite functional – I have quick access to the most-used functions on my device(s), and I’ve eliminated much of the redundancy that you often see.