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.