Older Android aficionados might remember the short-term glory of lockscreen widgets. Added with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and then unceremoniously yoinked with Android 5.0 Lolipop, they allowed you to place your own extra stuff—like the then insanely popular DashClock Widget—right on the lockscreen. After that change, the trend for that level of customization shifted to full lockscreen replacements, most of which broke with changes in overlays as of Android 8.0 Oreo. But the new Ava Lockscreen, designed by the developer that brought you the Bixby button remapper bxActions and Floatify, is built for Oreo from the ground up.
Now that you can put widgets on your lockscreen, there's a whole host of things you can do even before unlocking your phone. and if that's not enough, there are afewalternativelockscreens that will let you do even more. Today we're getting another one from a slightly surprising source: Microsoft. Say hello to the Next Lock Screen, an app from the company's Microsoft Garage internal team.
I say it's only slightly surprising because Microsoft has been releasing a staggering amount of Android apps of late. But I digress: Next Lock Screen attempts to combine an agenda view sourced from your phone's calendar with a quick launcher system, accessible with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
At this point, Android's notification system is pretty elegant. But there's no way to avoid confusion (and for some users, frustration) when a ton of notifications come in all at once. Echo Lockscreen attempts to fix that with a lockscreen replacement that puts your current notifications front and center, then organizes them by app or urgency. Currently Echo is in alpha testing, and it's a free download in the Play Store.
The primary display has a date, time, and battery widget above the notification area. Incoming notifications will automatically be tossed underneath the appropriate header by app: missed calls, texts, and emails are under "Priority," Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media apps go in "Social," Dropbox and finance apps go in "Work," and so on.
Android's lock screen hasn't really changed since 4.2, but app developers keep coming up with new ways to wow us. Case in point: Cover. This alternative lockscreen replaces the default screen with a selection of quick-launch app icons, not unlike some of the manufacturer skins out there. But unlike TouchWiz or Sense, Cover automatically learns which apps you use at what times, and it comes with a ton of impressive UI features.
First of all, Cover lets you "peek" at the apps on your homescreen with a swipe gesture, allowing you to take a quick look at multiple apps without actually switching to any of them.
When it comes to beautifying your phone, most of the options involve complicated modding procedures, installing sketchy software, or spending entirely too much time shuffling through configuration screens. Sometimes, all we need is a low maintenance option that does the hard work for us. To that end, Sparky Lock Screen is determined to deliver an ultra-fast, incredibly simple lock screen replacement that looks great without making you work for it.
Simplicity is obviously the driving force behind Sparky. There is but one option: which theme you want to use. That's it. No extended configurations, no toggling of checkboxes, no picking through pages of background images.
Looking to spruce your lockscreen up a bit? The MIUI Team is bringing a new flavor to the lockscreen arena, simply called MiLocker.
MiLocker looks to compete with offerings such as WidgetLocker and GO Locker as your lockscreen replacement, and after spending just a few minutes with it, I can say that it's quite nice - enough so that it will most likely become my primary lockscreen replacement (at least for a while). There are already several nice themes to choose from, several of which either duplicate the Android 4.0 lockscreen or add additional functionality (like shortcuts to phone and messaging along with the camera and unlock features) to it.