How to customize your Android phone
A while back when I first got my HTC Inspire, I shared with you all some of my favorite free apps for customizing your Android phone. But to be fair, that post was written shortly after I received my phone, so I haven’t really gotten the hang of everything yet. But after almost 5 months, here is a more in-depth post on customizing your droid, as well as an updated peak at my phone.
You don’t have to root your phone to achieve this look
I thought rooting was the only way to go before, and while it certainly has its benefits, there are also risks[1. The thought of bricking my shiny new phone was scary enough to deter me from rooting]. But the truth is, with a custom launcher, a pretty wallpaper, some nifty widgets, a set of sleek looking icons, and a sense of design, your phone can look like it’s running a custom rom :)
You don’t have to spend big $$$ either
Asides from 2 of my apps/widgets, everything else was free. Even the ones that were paid, they were only around $2 each? You just really have to look around and you’d be surprised at what you can find for free. Some places I like to frequent are the Android Market and xdaDevelopers forum. You can find all sorts of Android related information and goodies there c: Wallbase and Smashing Magazine’s monthly calendars are good places to find quality wallpapers for your screen. As for icons, try various design blogs or this post from xdaDevelopers :P
Check out other screens for inspiration
I love visiting MyColorscreen to see how others customize their droids. What’s great about this site is that they often list out exactly which widgets they used, as well as a link to their wallpaper. That’s how I found out about a lot of the widgets I use on my current screen. I also downloaded some really nice wallpapers from there :)
If you’re interested, you can find a full list of the widgets/apps I currently use to create the above look via my MyColorscreen. But here are a list of apps/widgets I recommend for anyone who’s interested in giving their Droid a new look:
- GO Launcher EX – Customize the overall look of your phone using different themes, or create a completely customized look with your own icons and wallpaper. Also allows for custom fonts!
- SwitchPro Widget ($0.99)- Adds a widget so you can turn on or off your wifi, bluetooth, etc right from your home screen. There are other free options out there, but I think this one looks the best :3
- WidgetLocker Lockscreen ($1.99) – Allows you to customize the look of your lockscreen. xdaDevelopers has a very nice collection of themes you can use with this app :D
- GO SMS Pro – Replaces the default text messaging app using different themes, or create your own theme from scratch.
- Minimalistic Text – Allows you to create text-based date/weather/time/etc. widgets.
- mClock – A time/date widget that allows for custom skins via XML.
- Executive Assistant – This is nice for those who want to use their phone as a personal planner. It syncs with your apps to lists out your daily agenda, to-do list, unread emails, new texts, etc. You can also use it to display your Twitter or RSS feed!
- Fancy Widgets – Really nice looking weather and clock widget that is also highly customizable.
- SiMi Clock Widget – Another clock/date/weather/battery/etc widget. Highly customizable.
You may notice that some of these are repeats from my previous post, which just means that 5 months later, I still think they’re awesome :P Some of the previously listed apps are also missing, which isn’t to say they suck, it’s just that after 5 months of usage, I don’t think they’re actually that great. Finally, to prove my point that xdaDeveloper is really a treasure chest of Droid goodness, here’s a comprehensive post on commonly used widgets :)
Happy customizing and and to everyone who’s celebrating Thanksgiving, an early happy Thanksgiving! :D Eat lots and shop lots!