Customising Android's Look & Feel - Lock & Home Screens

July 28, 2011 - 3 minute read -
android apps arc customisation google home screen lock widgetlocker go-launcher

So I was pretty late to the Android game, with my first Android phone being Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc running Gingerbread 2.3.3. With everybody else far ahead in their Android experience, it's time to play catch up.

The Xperia Arc itself is incredibly sexy, with its subtle curves and shiny sides. Out of the box I found the standard Arc user interface to be good, but with not nearly enough options to make it look and do exactly what I want. Not willing to settle for that, I decided to see what 3rd party apps could help.

The Lock Screen

The default lock screen allows you to add widgets and change the wallpaper, but you can't change the ugly lock slider. Luckily, there's an app for that.

WidgetLocker Pro [dead]

(paid, $1.82AUD)
WidgetLocker Pro is a replacement lockscreen with extended options for customisation. One nice feature is the ability to add multiple sliders forĀ  accessing different applications or functions.

The Home Screen/Launcher

The default Arc launcher contains 5 permanent screens, with 5 quick launch buttons at the bottom of the screen. Like the Lock Screen, it's nice, but there's better.

Go Launcher Ex

Go Launcher Ex is a replacement Launcher for Android. It supports themes, add/removing screens as well as customisation for the App Drawer. In fact there's so many options it's almost a little overwhelming.

The Go Team (not The Go! Team) have also developed a number of beautiful themes, which can be purchased from the marketplace. Going for a minimalistic look, I chose the Clee theme.

Lock Screen

Go Launcher Ex Home Screen

Go Launcher Ex


Contacts, Dialler and Messages

Although they are core functionality, Contacts, Dialer and Messages do not inherit use any theme from a Launcher. Instead they are stand-alone apps. This meant that while I now have a nice looking homescreen, these core features all still looked default and ugly.

Feeling somewhat loyal to Go Team, I gave Go SMS Pro and Go Contacts a shot. Go SMS Pro is obviously a more mature product than the latter, with a myriad of options and full theme support. Go Contacts and Go Dialer do not feature nearly as many options for display customisation. In recent versions they do include support for themes as a whole, but not to the same level as Go SMS Pro's DIY theme options. This will no doubt be rectified in future releases.

Go Dialer

Go Contacts Conversation List

Go Contacts Conversation