Android may not have the ecosystem where the games land first, but it does let you change the look and feel of a phone to make it match your life, with loads of customisation options, and if you’re particularly social, a new style of presenting the Android home screen may be suited just for you.
An upcoming homescreen replacement (also called a launcher) may be headed for the screens of those who love Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, if its design is any indication.
It’s called “Flow Home”, and it’s a launcher that does away with the basic Android look and replaces it with a scrolling feed of everything that is happening in your life, showing you the Instagram images of friends and family, Twitter updates, Facebook posts, Tumblr bits and bobs, as well as the alerts and notifications your own phone is throwing up for you, providing it to you in one long running screen.
Current in beta and not available to all yet, Flow Home also tries to bring your phone back to the days where you only needed one hand to make it work. Larger phones don’t see much of that one-handed operation anymore, even though they all have modes for it, and so Flow has a launcher icon at the bottom of the screen where your most used apps can be shown in a small circular overlay.
This little app launcher can appear in either the bottom left or bottom right, meaning it’s not catered just for right-handed users out there, but you’ll find the rest of your apps with a broad swipe from right to left, with the menu on the right most screen.
Meanwhile, a swipe the opposite direction (left to right) on one of the social notifications blips will slide it out of your feed, like removing notifications on other Android overlays.
The top of the screen will show the date and weather too, and you can make the status bar transparent which makes the whole experience look a little nicer.
We’re seeing some useful controls, as well, allowing you to have a customer image at the top, add widgets, and change the update frequency so you don’t kill your battery as quickly.
Right now, though, our experience with Flow Home reveals the odd crash here and there, but it’s unfinished software and is in a beta, so we’re not terribly surprised, and expect much of this to be ironed out by final release.
As a concept, however, it is definitely interesting, and if you’re already a social butterfly and love you some Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Feedly, and Tumblr (as well as other social networks we suspect will be added later on), this could be a neat way to never need to open up each app separately and just see what’s happening when you check your phone’s home screen.
Flow Home is currently in beta, though you can check Flow’s Twitter feed to find codes to let you try the home screen launcher as new invite codes are added.