Description: An Android desktop with some unique features. Custom transitions, endless scroll and custom widgets like conversation and appdock.
How it works: GDE, as its description says, is a Home Replacement app for Android. GDE was the first home replacement app to bring Cube transitions (Linux/Ubuntu-like) which has been used lately in other home replacements (but not as well implemented I must say). This app brings many good features, most of them are standard in all Home Replacements and some aren’t. Let’s get on with the main features of this app. First we have the Personalization Menu. Here the user can set a theme (downloaded from the Market), change the Wallpaper, use Icon Packs and set animations. It is particularly in this last option that GDE stands out. GDE gives the user the option to select among different Desktop transition animations: Normal, Normal cubed, Cube, Stretch and Fade. Also, this Menu let’s the user change the Menu animations: Slide (standard Android), Fade (Nexus One-like) or you can chose to not have animation at all (Menu will just appear without animations). On Desktop Settings, GDE allows the user to chose the number of screens and set the Default desktop screen (which is basically the screen where you’ll be taken to if you press the Home button.) This menu also let’s the user:
- Enable/Disable sensor-based rotation
- Enable/Disable autoscroll (keep finger pressed when switching screens and it will keep scrolling)
- Enable fast fling (fling fast and it won’t stop on the next screen, it’ll continue scrolling)
- Enable screen loop (Keep scrolling screens like in a circle.)
- Show ghost drop location (displays a ghost drop in the screen when you are creating shortcuts, widgets or when you’re moving them.)
The last Customize Menu we have is the Button Settings. In this menu GDE let’s user set the buttons actions. User can change the Menu-button actions, soft menu-button actions (on screen) and gives the user the option to Show Screen Previews when pressing Home button while on the default screen.) (Note: the buttons of version-2 themes can not be changed.)
The latest version of GDE comes packed with a very useful feature, App Dock on the bottom bar. The bottom bar will consist of a Menu button on the left and a Add at the far right. Between these two buttons the user has space available to add 3 custom shortcuts of any app.
GDE also gives the user the option to add Custom App Docks to the screen (only 3 apps fit on the dock) and a Conversations Widget (this one includes Missed and received calls and received messages and comes in sizes 4×3 and 4×4.)
Last but not least, when the user is at the App Drawer he can click on the little arrow pointing left that’s at the top and that will take the user to an Applications Menu where the user can chose to see All Applications or create Custom Applications Folders. If you click on the little arrow one more time it will take you to a Main Menu which gives the users the following options: Applications (takes you back to your apps), Search (will start Google Search), Add to desktop (which will let the users add a widget, folder, a shortcut to the Desktop or enter the Customize Appearance menu) and Settings (which will take the user to the settings.)
In this new version you keep your finger pressed on an app and it will give you the option to Access the app or uninstall it (talk about time saving).
Opinion: So here I am, yet again, trying to make my Android look awesome. Is not that I don’t like the options Android already offers me but if there’s anything I can do to make the Android experience even better, I’ll try it! GDE has been by far my best experience with home replacements, it is very responsive and fast and there are almost no Force Closes. I’m really into saving space and love accessibility so docks are a must for me. I love the fact that the user can chose which animation he wants to use on his cellphone (options are very good.) Also, we have a Sense-like screens preview when pressing the home key when at the default screen. The option to create Custom folders in the drawer is great and the both the Conversations Widget and Apps Dock Widgets look and work great.
- Speed (4.5/5) – Very fast and responsive app. Still needs to have some work done because sometimes you might get stuck at a screen when trying to scroll it and then get a FC. This is a very rare behaviour of the app.
- Features (5/5) – This app, for the price it has, is packed with features. I’ve tried other Home Replacements which cost the same and give the user a lot less features and options to customize.
- Theme (5/5) – Theme looks nice, based on the classic GDE but with the new launcher icon added to the app drawer.
- Overall (5/5) – Hands down the best home replacement for any android version. If I were to pick a Home Replacement as the best, it would be this one.
Pro: Lots of options and customizations. Dock. Quick Uninstall. Conversations Widgets. In-drawer Folders.
Cons: More themes that support the new drawer. Ability to change the bottom bar buttons.
Conclusion: If you are looking to change your Android’s appearance I really recommend this app. Even though there aren’t many themes for the latest version yet, even the stock theme looks good and is useful. Good thing about this app is that anyone can try it (supports 1.5/1.6, unlike other Home Replacements.)