Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The home screen

Android phones, like Windows PCs, come preloaded with garbage.  This includes trial software (Rock Band, Lets Golf 2), redundant software (Verizon vCast Apps), and apps that seem to do nothing except display license agreement (VZ Navigator, Thinkfree Office).

But before I get into that, lets talk about the home screen. 

The home screen is missing the basics I came to use every day on my iPhone.  These are:
• Calendar• Notes• Camera• Maps• Weather

They are all probably there, but buried.  So what do Samsung and Verizon think are the most important things that belong on your home screen?  Mobile Hotspot, Media Hub, Android Market, Verizon Apps, VZ Navigator, and Guided Tour.

I don't expect to use any of these things on a regular basis.  The VZ Navigator might make sense, and I get why the Guided Tour is on the home screen.  Buying apps isn't something one does regularly.  Nor will most people be using their phone as a mobile hotspot.  I think the criteria for "most important apps" must be the ones with the longest license agreements.

This is no different from how Microsoft Windows comes out of the box.  If you buy from an OEM you get 50 icons in your Start Menu so you will have a tough time figuring out how to write a letter.  Fortunately, Android does have a Dock.

The Dock contains Phone, Contacts, Messaging, and Applications.  All of those make sense except Applications.

If you have an application and you want to use it, it should go onto one of the available screens.  If it isn't on one of those screens, the app should be uninstalled.  So I see this button like the Windows "Add/Remove software" button.  Other than that purpose, having a button that gives you a disorganized, unsortable list of apps is silly.  Apple got this part right - no "applications" button.

Items to resolve:
• How do I take a screen shot?
• What note taking app is on the phone?

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