04
Nov
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Last Updated: January 3rd, 2012

There were a ton of excellent entries for our first Home Screen Challenge, and whittling down all the home screens was no easy task. That's why we've chosen two winners this month - Xal and Austin C, who each showed us their own twist on a visually stimulating, yet practical home screen layout. Our winners will be contacted shortly to claim their AP shirts.

As promised, we've prepared a full overview of each of our winning home screens, highlighting each of their elements so that you too can create a home screen design that is both beautiful and functional.

Winner 1 - Xal

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Xal submitted both a lock screen and a home screen, both equally stylized and thoughtfully designed. Before we discuss widgets, icons, and themes, I should mention that Xal is running the CheckROM RevolutionHD custom ROM for the Galaxy SII, found in this post at XDA. For those who aren't familiar with installing custom ROMs, check out our primer here.

The minimalist lock screen Is brought to us thanks to Widget Locker, a popular lock screen replacement app that allows for a surprising amount of versatility and aesthetic finesse. Widget Locker, in the above screen, is augmented by a theme called zz.meets.game-over, which can be found over at XDA in this post.

On Xal's homescreen, the most notable feature is the Honeycomb-inspired analog clock, courtesy of the aptly-named  Honeycomb Clock widget, which is free on the Android Market. For a fee of about $1.43, you can upgrade to its paid version, which gives you 20 color options to choose from.

Below that, we have a Minimalistic Text widget. Minimalistic Text lets you to create your own text-based widget, allowing your home screen to be highly informative, without too much clutter. It too is available from the Android Market for absolutely nothing.

Finally, we have a super clean dock bar with a somewhat camouflaged app tray button. This stylish dock is the creation of DREAMLYFE.DESIGN, and is called DREAMLYFE.ICE, available for free as a demo, with a $1.50 upgrade cost to the full version. It can be purchased at DREAMLYFE's website here. It's worth noting that this dock requires the user to be running LauncherPro, which is available for free in the market.

As for the wallpapers, the lock screen backdrop can be found here, and the home screen can be found here.

Winner 2 - Austin C

Now we can turn our attention to Austin C's entry, which takes a somewhat less minimal approach, focusing more on form, while maintaining a great level of functionality and displaying a nice amount of information.

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Austin is running the IHO-CM7.1 ROM (available here) on an Optimus V, enhanced by ZduneX25's MIUI Transparent theme, which can be found in this post on XDA.

On top of that is Go Launcher EX, an extremely capable launcher replacement that offers a nice amount of customization. The dock bar is courtesy of a Go Launcher theme called Transparent Space by Azooz, with slightly modified custom icons. Both GO Launcer EX and the Transparent Space theme are available for free.

The giant, informative clock widget is made possible thanks to mClock, a lightweight clock widget with a vast array of theming options. In the screen above, we see mClock's MIUI theme.

Finally, we've got BeWeather Pro, a highly customizable weather widget that "makes even bad weather look good." It's a little hefty, requiring an additional 25MB resource download upon installation, but offers a ton of themes and icon sets, even some matching your favorite skins from Beautiful Widgets. The app's pro version will cost you $2.99, but given the severe limitations of the free version, it may be worth the buy.

So there you have it - two great examples of home screen design with finesse and polish. If your home screen didn't make it to the winner's circle this month, keep an eye out for November's Home Screen Challenge, and wow us with your best home screen layout.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Holy shit - the first entry is stunning. Definitely well deserved.

  • ste_b

    Not a fan of colour? Why just dark Home Screens?
    Well done winners! First one is cool tho ;)

  • http://About.me/DarknesSx DarknesSx

    The first entry is the SICKEST, AWESOMEST COLDEST,COOLEST Android i've ever seen!!!!

    AMAZING!!!

  • http://7and1.net Cole

    The first is unique but the second is really pretty.

  • http://www.thepixelpuse.com aj

    Not a fan of the second one, but the first is killer.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Agreed - the blurry icons and the gradient in the 2nd one kill it for me. Maybe if the author fixed them up.

  • http://ph0enyx.de Phoenyx

    First is nice but 2nd i have seen many better Screenshots

  • Jim

    Not bad but not a fan of a blank homescreens. I don't really get that whole obsession with that (having the ability to choose to do that is nice (<3 android))

    sup with the IE icon, really? ;)

  • New_Guy

    Nice work indeed :)

  • montgoss

    These are certainly pretty, and the second one manages to fit useful info (like weather). But I guess I'm a true geek in that I prefer functionality over looking pretty. My homescreen is packed with icons and widgets. Basically, everything I typically do on my phone can be accessed on my main home screen. I only open the app drawer like once a week...

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I'm the same way - I only look at these for my own amusement from time to time. But it's like that with the desktop too - I used to have it full of icons, and now it's minimalistic (mostly due to being able to easily start apps by typing their names in Win7 and having Launchy http://www.launchy.net).

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    FYI: We've also requested the wallpapers from the 1st entry to make it more complete.

  • http://anasqtiesh.com Anas

    The second one should have lost on account of using Internet Explorer's icon for the browser. Seriously?

    • nerdshowandtell

      Yah, major #fail.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It's a lol on the author's part.

  • Franco

    Xal screen with the woman is very slick i like it.

  • Xal

    Hey, I am proud to have my screens on androidpolice but the most important is the rom/devs/widget and wallpaper creators ;)

    Why so black ? because on an amoled screen black is so beautifull ;)

    to answer montgoss, yes it is very minimalist. left screen contains weather and music control, the right screen displays my calendar, it is just what I need. I think it's depend of the phone usage of everyone ;) but give a try to golauncher, their app drawer is very fine.

    • ryano

      do you have a link for the wallpapers?

      • http://www.liamspradlin.com Liam Spradlin

        I'll be updating the post shortly with links!

  • nerdshowandtell

    Those are nice looking, but seriously how many places do we have to have the time on the screen? Seems like a lot of waste of space for just having a large clock when widgets can give you quick access to more information quickly.. i get cool looking home screens, but how about something with a bit more practical application for us business users taking advantage of android. Most people i know use thier phones to tell them what they should be doing during the day, and are more interested in calendars, agendas, news, real time info, than a pretty clock that tells me the same time that i can just as easily see in the upper right corner..

  • Kay

    where can i download this ? :)

  • http://gochiropractice.com Youknowutimsayin

    how do i enter my Android desktop for November?