The latest trend in Android user interface modifications is the gesture-based meta-launcher, a way of quickly launching and switching between huge numbers of apps. My personal favorite is still SwipePad, but the current fashion is for Holo-style, scrollable sidebars. Appsi is the latest among these, but differentiates itself with a ton of customization and plugins.

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First of all, the setup process is a lot simpler than similar apps, allowing the user to easily move the activation areas with a more graphical UI, instead of adjusting numbers or sliders. Each hotspot can be expanded with gestures, or more precisely, modified launch gestures - turn the launch movement up or down to bring up a shorter list of favorites, for example. A quick search bar and pop-up recents menu is included.

But the real value in Appsi comes from its wide selection of plugins. The Settings plugin allows you to go directly to any Settings menu, placing it just like an app shortcut. Contacts and Calls do the same for individual contacts and direct-call buttons. SMS and Calendar follow suit. All these extensions can be bound to extra hotspots for a more flexible approach to the system.

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Now here's the downside: the extensions are all first-party, and each one costs around a dollar. As flexible as Appsi is, it would be a lot more so if other developers could join in the fun, a la DashClock. And getting access to the full complement of current functionality costs just over $6, and requires no less than seven installed apps, a bit of a let-down. Still, we'll be keeping an eye on Appsi to see if any of the good ideas presented in the initial app are expanded upon.

Appsi sidebar
Appsi sidebar
Developer: Appsi Mobile
Price: Free

Thanks, Timothy Walter!