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The best three Android interface apps

Nermin Bajric | March 26, 2014
With plenty of user interface add-ons available on the Google Play store, it can be hard to decide what to download, especially when there's a price attached. The following are our three favourites.

With plenty of user interface add-ons available on the Google Play store, it can be hard to decide what to download, especially when there's a price attached. The following are our three favourites.

Action Launcher Pro: Appearance

Action Launcher Pro is a custom launcher created by Australian-based developer, Chris Lacy. It costs $US3.99 and contains a series of display and accessibility features delivered through the classic grid layout. We like to think of it as an app that eliminates many of the UI-based restrictions of stock Android, TouchWiz, and other smartphone manufacturers' custom setups.

Although it remains within the confines of a traditional grid layout, Action Launcher Pro allows you to scale from 3x3 to 12x12 icons, and in combination (7x5, for example). Although 12x12 may look far too congested on a smartphone, it works very well on a tablet and eliminates home screen count sprawl.

Action Launcher Pro also allows you to scale the size of your icons from 70 per cent to 130 per cent.

In addition to a standard folder system, Action Launcher Pro offers 'covers' and 'shutters'. Covers allow you use a single icon (eg: Facebook) to serve as a containing app which leads to all other social networking apps when you swipe up from the icon (it opens like a folder). Shutters open a pre-selected widget once you swipe up from an icon.

Another great feature is the ability to edit your dock, and scale from displaying three to 12 apps - something we really missed when subject to the Australian TouchWiz's restrictions.

Lastly, Action Launcher Pro provides quick access to Google Play and Google Search/Now with icons in the top right.

Action Launcher Pro: Drawers and Widgets

Action Launcher Pro hides your app drawer to the left of the screen. It can be accessed by swiping from the left edge of the screen to the right, or by tapping the circle icon in the top left-hand corner of your screen. Items are listed in alphabetical order, making them very easy to find.

To access widgets, just tap 'Widgets'. While TouchWiz only allows certain apps to be resized, Action Launcher Pro lets you change the size of all of them. The third screenshot in this slide shows the same widget in three different sizes. Some widgets adjust well and look good regardless of their size, while others simply aren't made to be manipulated.

More recently, Chris Lacy has introduced a Quickpage which provides access to a drawer from the right side of the screen no matter what app you are using.The Quickpage can be customised just like a home page, but its grid size is static.

 

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