Smartphones

Add some eye candy to your Android device with GO Launcher EX

Even if eye candy isn't your thing, Jack Wallen says that GO Launcher EX is still an incredible home screen replacement that will extend your mobile device in ways you may not have thought possible.

I've confessed countless times that I'm a fan of eye candy. After all, I was weened on the Linux desktop and the likes of Compiz. Because of that, I can work with a fairly static "desktop" for a while, but eventually, the need for more overcomes me and I start playing around.

That's where GO Launcher EX comes in and smacks a major home run out of the park. This Android home screen replacement has some killer features that you can easily set up, including:

  • Home screen animations
  • App drawer effects
  • Go Plugins

Let's take a closer look at how to use these features.

Installation

In case you haven't already installed GO Launcher EX, here are the steps:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "go launcher ex" (no quotes)
  3. Tap the GO Launcher EX entry
  4. Tap Download
  5. Tap Accept & download

Once the installation is complete, tap the home screen, and you'll be presented with a new overlay that asks which home screen you want to use. Select GO Launcher EX, but don't set it as the default (just yet). You'll want to play around with it first, just to make sure you prefer it over your previous home screen.

Home screen animations

When you slide your home screen to the left or right (to move to another screen), the screen should smoothly slide off to the left or right. That simple smooth animation could, however, be a number of different effects. There are eighteen different effects to choose from, ranging from the innocuous to the impressive. Here's how you change them:

  1. Tap the menu button on your device
  2. From the resulting overlay (Figure A) tap Effects
  3. Figure A

    This is the GO Launcher EX menu, not the default menu you'd expect on this Verizon-branded Droid Bionic.
  4. Tap Homescreen transition (Figure B)
  5. Figure B

    These are a few of the Homescreen transitions
  6. From the new overlay, select the transition you want to try
  7. Tap on the Home button
  8. Slide the home screen back and forth to test out the effect
  9. Repeat until you find the exact transition effect you want

App drawer effects

For the app drawer, there are two effect configurations available:

  • Enter transition: When you open and close the app drawer
  • Horizontal/vertical transition: When you scroll through the installed applications within the app drawer

To get to this configuration, do the following:

  1. Tap the menu button on the device
  2. From the GO Launcher menu, tap Effects
  3. Tap either Enter transition or Horizontal transition

If you tap Enter transition, you will see seven different options available. Select the option you want, and then go back to your home screen and open the app drawer. If the chosen effect isn't of your liking, go back to the settings and make the change again.

You might notice that either the Horizontal or Vertical transition is grayed out (but not both). This is caused by how the app drawer is configured within the GO Launcher EX settings. To get to this setting, tap the menu button | Preferences | App drawer settings | App Drawer Scrolling orientation. When the new overlay opens (Figure C), select the option you want to use. The option you enable will dictate the transition that's available for the app drawer in GO Launcher EX. Figure C

Either horizontal option will enable the horizontal effects in GO Launcher EX.

Plugins

One unique feature of GO Launcher EX is that it has its own storefront. Simply tap the menu button to access the GO Store (Figure D). From there, you can purchase (or download free) various other GO apps, including plugins. The plugins range from simple widgets to new lock screen tools (and everything in between). Figure D

You'll find everything from wallpaper to widgets in the GO Store.

After you install a plugin, here's how to find its settings:

  1. Tap the menu button on your device
  2. Tap the Plugins tab
  3. Tap the icon for the plugin in question
  4. From the plugin's page (Figure E), tap the Settings button
Figure E

From this window, you'll see a random collection of items that can be purchased or downloaded for free from the GO Store.
Each plugin will have different configuration options. Figure F illustrates the configuration options available for the GO Locker plugin that replaces the built-in Android lock screen tool. Figure F

This illustrates the power and flexibility of the Android platform to perfection.

I recommend that you install GO Launcher EX and dig in deep with the various options available. Once you experience what this home screen replacement has to offer, you'll be setting up plenty of amazing features and adding lots of eye candy. Even if eye candy isn't your thing, GO Launcher EX is still an incredible home screen replacement that will extend your mobile device in ways you may not have thought possible.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

6 comments
Den2010
Den2010

Based on this article, I downloaded and installed Go Launcher EX on my phone and my 7" tablet. In each case, after playing around with it and seeing how it compared to the default TW Launcher (both devices are Samsung), I uninstalled Go Launcher. It just wasn't worth the effort to customize it and download all the extras. On top of that, the permissions required did give me pause. Eye candy is fine, but this is too much for what I wanted.

hcontrex
hcontrex

I reviewed and did not install this application because of the compromising application permissions. Why does this app need access to my phone services? I have no assurances that the app developer is not selling off the information available to collect from my phone services to another third-party. More Android user should be reviewing and assessing the promiscuous privileges that free applications have. The data collection and assimilation by the ad networks fed by these "free" applications are appalling. In the interest of "free apps" we are giving up a lot of personal usage information and compromising our personal privacy as well.

yooper
yooper

I just installed it, and I'll check it out more later, but it seems pretty solid and the battery life is the only thing I'm concerned with.

r4man
r4man

The task manager for Go Launcher is a must have for anyone concerned about battery life and controlling apps. I have been using their products for a bit and I would give them a 5 star rating.

pjm24
pjm24

It sounds great but will it drain my batteries?

pattas
pattas

I installed it after looking at this article. Very versatile, lots of plugins, takes some getting used to becasue of how so much is just different from my phone's default HTC Sense. Include power, apps, and memory management tools - no need for Advanced Task Killer anymore. The live wallpaper does seem to take a toll on the battery - I currently have the local map as the wallpaper, and it shows the map and traffic without unlocking the phone. Worth a look, but be prepared to spend some time exploring the environment.

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