The Android lock screen is pretty slick. It allows you to view notifications and, with a single tap, open the source app for more details. But what if I told you there was more to be had? There are plenty of available replacement lock screens in the Google Play Store, but few of them match the elegance and handy features of Echo Notification Lockscreen. With Echo, you can easily snooze notifications so that they reappear at a different time (or different location). You can also categorize notifications, get more details about a notification, and much more.
The Echo app is simple, well designed, and free. Let's install it, and put it to use.
Installation of Echo Notification Lockscreen is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Echo Notification Lockscreen
- Locate and tap the entry by DoubleLabs
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
Once the installation is complete, you should see an icon for the launcher (on your home screen or the app drawer — or both). Tap that launcher to walk through the simple set up wizard. Click the Get started! button, and then tap the check box for Echo Lockscreen to enable the system (Figure A).
Enabling Echo Lockscreen on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
When you tap Echo Lockscreen, you'll be asked to OK the choice, and you'll be warned that Echo will be able to read all notifications — this is all standard. OK that warning, and you should be good to do.
Now that you've enabled Echo, when you tap the launcher you'll be sent to the Echo Lockscreen configuration window (Figure B).
Easy configuration with Echo Notification Lockscreen.
You'll find two must-configure sections:
- Saved Locations
- Advanced Settings
There are two saved locations available: Home and Work. These Locations are both associated with a network, not a physical address. You must first have already connected to a wireless network before you can associate that network to a location. To associate a location to a network, tap either Home or Work, and then select the network for that location. Tap OK, and you're done. Take care of both Home and Work — these will play an important role in interacting with notifications.
The next configuration will be within the Advanced section. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Configuration window and tap Advanced Settings. In this window, you can categorize every app that uses the notification system. All you do is scroll through the listing, tap an entry, and then select a category for the entry (Figure C).
Setting Twitter notifications to the Social category.
You can also hide notifications by setting them to the Hidden category. This wa,y that particular app will not send notifications to the lock screen.
Using Echo Notification Lockscreen is simple. When a notification appears on the lock screen (Figure D), you can do the following:
- Tap to open the notifying app
- Swipe to the left to dismiss the notification
- Swipe to the right to set a reminder
The Echo Notification Lockscreen in action.
If you swipe to the right, you can set a reminder (Figure E). Reminders can be set for:
- When you're out (away from either your Home or Work network)
- When you arrive to the Home location
- When you arrive to the Work location
- In one hour
- In the morning
Setting a reminder with Echo.
If you're looking for the perfect blend of form and function on your Android lock screen, you should give Echo Notification Lockscreen a try. It's easy to use and does an outstanding job of extending the lock screen into a more functional, interactive tool.
What do you think? Is the Android lock screen good enough as-is, or do you long for more? What would make the perfect Android lock screen for you? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
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 jackwallen.com.