Home Screen/Launcher Question(s)

D1andOnlyOmen

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May 20, 2011
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I don't have an Android device yet, but I'm eagerly awaiting picking up my first device in the very near future when my upgrade is due. I've been reading and trying to learn as much as I can in preparation for enjoying the excellent Android OS and have learned a lot from the various articles and forums that I've been following here on AC and elsewhere, as well as some good info on great apps that I will likely be using on my new device.

Obviously there are the OEM UIs that the phones comes with (i.e. Sense, TouchWiz or 'the UI formerly known as Blur') and each of these has their fans and haters respectively and of course if you get a pure Google/vanilla Android type device you have the stock UI. I know there are numerous replacement launchers or custom ROMs along with additional widget and theme "packs" that can be downloaded/purchased to replace the original UI that your phone may have come with.

My question(s) - If after initially using my phone I decide that I'm not fully satisfied with the UI the phone came with, if I download a replacement launcher like Launcher Pro, ADW, GO Launcher, etc... does that just run "on top" of the "stock" UI (Sense, TW, Blur) and the stock UI is still running in the background? I'm guessing this is the case, sine it seems that rooting/ROMing is such a big topic and seems to be the only way to "get rid" of the OEM UI along with any additional bloatware that can't simply be uninstalled via the normal process.

Also, are the other widget packs (Beautiful Widgets, Android Pro, etc...) only able to be used with certain/specific launchers, or can any widget be added/used to any launcher/custom UI, including the stock OEM UI the phone came with?

I know this is long winded, but thanks a TON in advance for your feedback and help!! :D
 

D1andOnlyOmen

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May 20, 2011
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3rd party widgets can be used on any launcher, but any Sense widgets will only work on the Sense launcher.
Here's another question to piggy back on what I've already asked, sorry if this is already covered in more detail in another thread and if so, feel free to point me to it! :)

From what I've seen of the OEM UIs, they all have multiple different homescreens (mostly 5, think I've seen a few with up to 7) and aside from Sense, TouchWiz and Moto's UI really seem to be very similar to the stock UI from what I can tell, just seems to have their own specific "widgets" that are what make it unique. I'm wondering if this is really the case or if there's really more too it than that. If so, please explain. Otherwise, if it's really just these widgets that are different about TouchWiz and Moto, why are there so many complaints about the OEM UIs and so many other 3rd party launchers if you can just replace all of the widgets with other 3rd party widgets you like better? Or are there certain pieces/widgets of these OEM UIs that CAN'T be removed? Like maybe the contacts, or calendars or things like that?

Just trying to understand all of this better in prep for setting up my new phone (jumping on a DROID Bionic) when I hopefully get it picked up tomorrow!!! WOO HOO! :D
 

anon(21022)

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May 8, 2010
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Yup the custom ui is more than just the launcher and widgets.

Go to a phone store and take a look at different times manufacturers' phones. Look in the Settings and see how they slightly differ. See the different contacts, mail, calendar, social networking integration, even the browser.

All these oem-specific services often run in the background even if you don't want to use them. More bloat also comes with the fact they require special software libraries, which used to use up precious storage space back when even high end phones came with patty storage. And then there were the apps too, which take up more storage space and can't be removed unless rooted.

They usually all integrate pretty well together so it's overall a good experience until you want to use alternative email/social/launcher apps and end up with duplication of services (and thus some extra sometimes non negligible batteru/cpu/ram usage)

For some, that's unacceptable and an affront so they champion stock android. Others prefer the kind of integration and (usually) consistency the oem skins offer more so than "pure" android (which used to be quite bland and still is a bit compared to Sense for example). So each one has to choose.

So yeah the customizations run deep, best if you hold devices in your hand and compare them to find out what you like/dislike and also all the similarities between the flavors.