SlideScreen: A Beautiful Alternative to Android Home Screen

The default Android home screen is rather functional. You can fully customize it by placing various kind of widgets, shortcuts on the desktop, change the wallpapers and you can swipe to switch screen. Now, if you are looking for a more functional home screen, one that can allow a busy person like you to better manage all your information at one place, then SlideScreen could be the one for you.

SlideScreen is a visually pleasing home replacement utility for Android.

There are two ways to utilize SlideScreen. You can use it as a full replacement for your home screen or as a standalone app. Whichever you choose, you will get the same interface and functionality. The concept of SlideScreen is somewhat different from the traditional Android home screen. Instead of providing you several screens to place your widgets or shortcuts, there is only one screen in SlideScreen and all your information from various media streams (SMS/emails/RSS feeds/calendar event/Facebook/Twitter/Stocks) are loaded on the screen. It is surprising that the developer can squeeze all these information into a single screen without making it seems overcrowded. it is definitely useful for those want a quick overview of what’s happening out there from various streams.

After installation, it will first walk you through a series of steps to setup the required services. It integrates with the inbuilt Gmail and Calendar apps and will grab your RSS feeds from Google Reader with the same Google account (You can change the Google Reader settings if you are using another account to read your feed). You will have to configure your location (for weather display), your Facebook and Twitter login.

slidescreen-configure-weather

The whole design of the SlideScreen revolves around this thick center bar with information of the date, time and weather. Above this center bar is your SMS, emails and calendar feeds while the bottom contains your RSS, stocks, Facebook and Twitter feeds. All the information streams are categorized with different colors so you can easily differentiate one from another. To mark a feed as ‘read‘, simply swipe it to the right to dismiss it.

slidescreen-main-screen

The best thing about the center bar is that you can slide it up/down to show more of a particular feed. If you move it all the way down, you can read your SMS/emails in full screen. Similarly, sliding it all the way up allows you to read Twitter update, RSS feeds in full screen. Tapping the small icon in the center bar will switch between various streams.

slidescreen-show-twitter

Slidescreen doesn’t come with a button for you to access the application launcher. You have to press the Menu button to access all your applications. One good addition is the shelf situated at the top of the screen. You can place up to 8 of your frequently used applications in the shelf for quick access. Simply long press an app (the background will black out, showing only the selected app) and select a cell in the shelf to place it.

slidescreen-shelf

Conclusion

As visually pleasing as it can get, it definitely won’t be the ‘must-have’ app for everyone. If you are not into reading RSS feeds on the move, stock or even Facebook or Twitter, this app will be an overkill. Personally I not ready to use it as my default home screen yet, but I find myself using it very often to get a quick overview of all my information streams. It is really efficient to have all the information in one place, rather than opening several apps to view each feed.

I have this habit of installing apps from the market, only to uninstall them after a while. One thing for sure, SlideScreen is going to stay in my installer list for a long time, at least until a better app appear.

SlideScreen is available in the market as a free download for Android phones. The free version comes with ad at the home screen bottom and you can remove it for $7.