The other day we posted a couple of apps you could install on your Android device to make it look like iOS. Some people were surprised that some other people would actually want to do this. Yes making an Android phone look like that is a bit of step backwards, but how about making your phone look like Windows Phone 7? I have a Windows Phone and an Android phone and I prefer the straight-forward interface on the Windows Phone. But I prefer the much wider range of apps that Android has. The Android Market has several apps that are designed to look like the Metro UI. Here we have a Launcher, a Lockscreen, a Contacts app, a Dialer, a messaging app, and a Music player. First up we have the Launcher. Please note the app names are the Market Links.
There are a few different Windows Phone style Launchers. Launcher 7 seems to be the one that has the most stable features. Below are a few shots of how it looks. You can add any apps you want to the homescreen, you can change the text on the tiles, the colour of the tiles and also the icon used on the tile. This has lead to quite a few people creating lots of different icons to use with the launcher. You also get a Windows Phone style app drawer where you swipe to the right the see the list of your apps, a quick tap on a letter will bring up a grid of letters which act as shortcuts to corresponding apps. The one thing I like with this launcher are the changes you can make to the tile colours and the different live tiles you can add.
This app replicates the Windows Phone Lockscreen. It also shows you unread message count and the missed call count. I really like this app, but now and again I have to restart it, as it forgets to be a Lockscreen. Below are a few shots of this app.
This app surprisingly sort of replicates the Windows Phone People app. It lists your contacts in a nice orderly fashion. You can again tap on a letter to view a grid of letters which act as shortcuts to your contacts. Tap on a contact and you get a detailed view and a nice dialer for making the calls as well. Again I like this. It really misses out on the main Launcher colour choices though, yes you can change the colour just not as in depth. See the pictures below for a prime example.
This app replicates the Windows Phone messaging app, if you want to try this you will need to turn off the notifications in your normal messaging app or you will get two lots of alerts. Again the Launcher colour is missing. More pictures below.
This app went through a huge beta testing process, you may have even been a part of that. But now it is a paid app on the Market. Yes it does look very much like the Windows Phone music app, but this is very customisable with a number of skins and themes available for it.
So overall with these apps the experience is nowhere near as smooth and neatly tied together as Windows Phone. Most of the apps are “Lite” versions that are missing vital parts. The main problem being that the apps are from different developers so various features do not flow through. A prime example being Launcher 7, I chose an option to allow the system wallpaper and to have semi transparent tiles, which gave it a really impressive look. But when I hit contacts my nice colour and tiles where all gone. I guess I am expecting way too much here.
There are a lot of people out there that really like the Metro UI interface and there are many people creating themes and apps to mimic the Windows Phone style for Android. The stock Android interface really needs some different styles and this sort of thing is certainly (in my opinion of course, don’t get cross now) a step in the right direction.