Friday 12 August 2011

Tricks for Maximizing your Android Screen Space

No matter how tricked-out your Android
layout is, you'll always find something new you want to do that takes
one click too many to reach. Just as all projects go over budget, all
your favorite apps and bookmarks are sure to spill over beyond your home
screen. There's no one perfect solution for everyone, but there are a
few habits and tools that can help keep your digital life close at hand.

Be ruthless. Clear your device of any applications you don't use,
and clear your home screen of everything you don't either use every day
(like Foursquare) or need to access instantly (like the QikCam photo
widget). You shouldn't agonize over your choices--remember that you can
always add apps or widgets back in if you miss them too much.

Organize. This is key. Just a few minutes of rearranging icons
can save you time, energy, and frustration over the long term. You don't
need to arrange everything alphabetically; just make sure that your
screens make sense to you. Typically the home screen is best for
frequently used apps, while other nearby screens are for apps you want
to be able to access quickly (but don't need to access instantly).
Having themed screens such as a media screen and a fitness screen often
works well.

Use folders. If you don't mind two-click access, adding a folder
or two to your home screen can add acres of virtual screen space. It's
easy: just long-press the screen, select "Folders," and select a type,
typically "New folder." To name the folder, open the folder by tapping
it, then long-press the extra-boring default name ("Folder") and type in
a new, memorable name. Organize these folders however you like, but
it's best to keep each one down to 12 items for easiest access.

Rely on notifications and streams. Do you really need your e-mail
or Gmail apps available on your home screen? Unless you're initiating
new messages every day, the answer is probably no. In your account
settings, just make sure that your apps check for e-mail frequently and
deliver notifications to the top bar. This can also work well for
Facebook and other services that deliver notifications in the top bar or
can be accessed as streams on less valuable screen real estate.

Try SmartWidget or other app launchers. SmartWidget
is a useful, free app with a widget that takes up four slots on your
screen, which seems like far too much until you learn its secret. It
gives you access to the four most frequently used apps on your
device--except those that are already on the home screen. This is a
clever bit of wizardry that could save some time and effort for those of
us who are constantly installing new apps. There are plenty of other
app launchers out there, so find the one that works best for you.