If you’ve ever wondered how the guys at Android Authority put together their Android phones and tablets, here is the chance. In this new segment, How I Android, a member of the team will show you how their phone helps them in everyday tasks, big or small. Also, as is seen in this first segment dealing with the Nexus 4, I’ll present to you some of the ways I’ve taken advantage of the newest features in Jelly Bean 4.2. It’s a great way of seeing your favorite operating system in a different light – and it can give you some ideas about how to change your own setup, too!
The video is down below and lists off a number of different apps that I use because they just make my life easier. See them in action in the video and check out those apps below it!
One of the most popular Jelly Bean replacement launchers is Nova, and its popularity, in my opinion, is well warranted. It’s no secret that I love stock Android more than any third party UI, and the appeal of Nova for me is that it doesn’t add anything to the already great formula of Jelly Bean’s UI. Instead, it takes the elements and just puts options in. Instead of the standard 5 screens, I can remove and add as many as I want. Having multiple docks for icons allows for the icons to come off of the homescreens and tidily hidden out of view. These are just a couple of the many options that are available in Nova.
ActivePhoto Widget ($1.99)
Sure, you can put a picture or pictures of people on your homescreens, but why not put that widget to work? ActivePhoto takes its name seriously as it allows for just this kind of function. Selected an appropriate size, find your picture (or pictures, as multiple will result in a slideshow), and tell the app what to do when you press on the widget. These functions pertain to the contact, so pick if touching the picture will make a call, open a new text, or open their quick contact popup (which is what I do). It’s a great way of getting a picture of someone important on your screen, as well as giving you an easy way of connecting with them.
We just did a review of this widget recently, and I checked it out after seeing how nice it was. Inevitably, it came to replace the stock clock on my homescreens and lockscreen. DashClock takes the design of the stock JB clock and elegantly puts some extra information in. You can have quick information like unread text messages, the number of unread e-mails you have, even the time of your next alarm clock on there. It fulfills one of my main criteria for phone customization – functional simplicity.
The last widget found on my homescreens is my gReader widget, which gives me a scrollable look at the last 50 stories from Android Authority. There are so many different RSS feed readers out there and they all have great features. I didn’t need all of that, however, and believe me when I say I’ve tried almost all of them. gReader, with a free version, gets right down to the stories and the design makes the sea of text easy on the eyes. It might not have a very elaborate name, but don’t be fooled – this is a pretty awesome reader. To get widgets, though, you have to fork over some money. It was worth it, I think.
Here’s a bonus for you – you might have seen some interesting wallpapers on all of my Nexus devices, comprising of a simple colored background and a few words, usually some sort of inspirational or motivational reminder (focus.). Those wallpapers come from MinimalWall, a website dedicated to simplifying your life by changing up your desktop background. They have pages upon pages of different wallpapers just like the one you see in my video presentation, and I’m sure they’ll bring a little more functional simplicity to your Android device.