Top 10 Android Customization Apps

Android Phone

I have reviewed more than a dozen Android-based smartphones, many with setups that make the devices feel completely different. But unlike many competitors, Android apps from the Android Market and other venues can be completely customized how a smartphone works. Which is good, since some manufacturers do a poor job of picking default settings for their Android smartphones. Here are some of the best apps and changes that can improve your smartphone.

LauncherPro :
LauncherPro became one of the most popular homescreen replacements for Android in just a matter of weeks after its initial release in May 2010. It currently has an average rating of 4.69 in the Market based on almost 100 000 reviews. It’s easy to see why: the app is fast, powerful, very customizable and foremost – it offers features other launchers simply don’t have that let you use your Android more efficiently.
LauncherPro’s developer Federico Carnales, the Yoda of Android homescreens who likely eat widgets for breakfast and think in Java code, has released impressive updates on almost a weekly basis. He’s by some people considered to be a rock star in the world of Android coding, and for good reason. Google or HTC ought to hire him, but it would likely just hold him back since the type of functionality and innovation he brings would be considered too advanced for average users.

Volume Control + :
I often switch how loud my email notifications and phone ringtone are. The Volume Control + allows you to add a widget to a home screen for easy access to all of your volume levels.

K-9 Mail :
Many of the stock e-mail programs for Android phones are less than desirable. K-9 Mail allows multiple accounts with unique sound notifications, features a universal inbox and allows push mail, so your emails arrive instantly.

Android Agenda Widget :
Adding this widget to your home screen will give you a list of upcoming events on your Google Calendar.

Picture Dial :
Diving into contacts to find someone to call is a pain. By adding pictures to your contacts on your smartphone or in Gmail on your computer, the Picture Dial widget on your home screen will give one-touch access to the people you call, text or e-mail most often.

Battery Widget :
This simple, small widget shows the remaining battery life of your smartphone in percentage.

WidgetLocker Lockscreen :
nstead of just sliding across your lockscreen to unlock, now your lockscreen can include multiple sliding shortcuts to your most used apps. I have my lockscreen customized to give me one touch access to volume control, email, phone, Twitter, podcasts and the camera app.

SwiftKey X Beta :
Rather than try to type every word perfectly, this app predicts what you will type next. Just type a few letters and the keyboard looks at your string of text and quickly predicts your next word.

Ringtones and notifications :
The included sounds on some Android phones are absolutely atrocious. By connecting your smartphone to a computer via USB cable, you can create two new folders on the device: “ringtones” and “notifications.” Any MP3 files you place into those folders will appear as options on your phone.

Amazon Appstore for Android :
Not available on the Android Market, you’ll need to visit on your computer for instructions to install this app on your smartphone. But it is worth the hassle as Amazon offers one paid app for free each day.


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