AndroidAppADay: HelixLauncher

Tue, Apr 20, 2010

Android, Mobile

Home screen replacements are somewhat of a unique feature of Android in that iPhone users can’t even customize the background image on their phones. HelixLauncher is one among many of the home screen replacements but also appears to be the most simple and elegant one available (oh and the price tag is nice too).

The only part that can be tricky about HelixLauncher and most likely the only knock against a home replacement is that it does run on top of the existing home screen, meaning it can be slightly more taxing than just the standard launcher. Also, the initial setup may confuse some, but a simple check box can fix everything.

When installing HelixLauncher, there isn’t really an app to run persay, as in the launcher just simply runs when you press the Home button on your phone. The first time you push Home after installing Helix, it will ask which app you’d like to use to complete the task. To use Helix indefinitely, check the box that allows this to happen every time and you’ll never be bothered again.

The features are really what make HelixLauncher worth it and they really boil down to simple functionality that should probably be standard in the stock Home screen but were omitted for one reason or another. For one, the sought after extra Home screens are welcome as Helix allows for up to 7 home screens. I am quite content with my 3 but I could definitely see how someone else may find that not to be enough.

Down at the bottom of the HelixLauncher is an array of what I like to call permanent shortcuts, in that they are there no matter which home screen you’re currently on. The shortcuts I’ve placed in this area are the most important apps I use the most such as Dialer, Google Voice, Seesmic and the Browser.

Yes, I realize that not everyone may want or need the features in HelixLauncher but there is nothing to lose in trying it out as it’s free. The best parts about the app are it’s slick design mixed with extra functionality.

HelixLauncher is currently available on the Android Market.

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- who has written 807 posts on Frisky Mongoose.

Talor is a Contributing Editor at Frisky Mongoose focusing on the mobile side of the social gaming world.

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