The Ultimate In Android Customisation – Build Your Own Homescreen

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The Ultimate In Android Customisation - Build Your Own Homescreen
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One of the things that Android users love about the platform, is the fact that it’s so highly customisable and that it allows you to change pretty much anything you want by installing new homescreen launchers, services and lockscreen widgets. This means that you can use your Android device exactly the way you want to and can make it a highly expressive reflection of your personality and sense of style.

Android Customisation – Your Choices

But if you really want to take your Android customisation to the next level, then it’s not enough to simply pick and choose different apps to combine: you’re going to have to build your own Android launcher…

What’s a Launcher?

A launcher is basically an app that manages your phone’s homescreen. This is the app that shows when you turn on your device, and when you hit the ‘home’ key. It’s from here that you select which other apps you want to run, and as such it provides the main basis of the user interface and the Android experience.

What is a Android HomeScreen Launcher

There are plenty of great launchers out there on the market already, such as Nova launcher, ADW launcher, Buzz launcher and Chameleon – but these frameworks are still based on what someone else thinks your phone should look like.

If you really want to make the most of your device then and you really want to make your mark on it, you need to build your own.

How to Create a Launcher

Creating a launcher is just like creating any other Android app. That means you’ll need to do some basic programming, outsource that programming, or use one of the various tools on the web for building apps.

Create a Launcher

For building a homescreen there are three main routes I would suggest to beginners. The first is to download the Android development kit (SDK) along with a copy of Java and Eclipse. There are plenty of instructions online regarding where to get these and how to set them up, and if you follow those step by step then you can get started with minimal hassle.
Image Source: Karl Baron

From here you will then use the SDK in order to download the sample projects that Google provides. Here you will then select the sample launcher of course, and then you’ll find that you have a fully functional launcher to install to your phone. It’s relatively easy from this point on to make tweaks to the basic app even if you aren’t an expert when it comes to programming: as it’s really just a matter of reverse engineering, guessing and trial and error.

The next option of course is to outsource this process. Simply list the tweaks you want to make to the basic homescreen, then e-mail your requests to a programmer. If you’re lucky you’ll find someone on Gumtree or even on Fiverr who will do it cheaply for you.

Basic 4 Android

Finally, option three is to simply program your own launcher from scratch – in which case I recommend using a programming environment such as Basic4Android which will make the process much simpler especially when you’re just starting out.
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There’s also a helpful forum included where you’ll find all the information and help you need.

What to Include

Any program can become a launcher, all it requires is a line in the apps ‘manifest’ file that designates it as such. Of course in order to be any use though, that app also needs to serve all the roles that a launcher should, including the ability to find and launch other applications. For that you will need an app drawer which needs to list all the apps in place.

Other requirements are to support wallpapers and live wallpapers, and to provide space for widgets if you wish to use them. Really though, the rest is up to you. This is about making your phone look exactly the way you want it to and now there really are no limits… so what does your dream phone look like?

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Guest Author

Author: Nancy Baker is a freelance blogger, currently writing for,, a leading unlock code retailer on the internet. She is great with software and enjoys sourcing v-blogs for the latest in technology.  You can get in touch with Nancy via Twitter @Nancy_Baker_.

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Have you ever customised your homescreen? Please comment and share with your friends, family and colleagues too…..

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