I’ve am tweaking, organizing, and improving the workflow of my Android devices daily. Every day, something new comes my way, or a different idea slides through the slippery surface of my brain. A good while ago, I was using Go Launcher EX for its vast customization and theming. There was just one thing lacking, multi-relational folder organization.
I often find it useful to cluster apps into folders by related function. This helps with quick finds, and makes sense in my head. True, there are Launchers out there, like Everything Home that solves this dynamically, but that’s not the kind of experience I’m looking for (Truth be told, I think Everything Home has GREAT potential, but it just wasn’t for me.). Besides, Everything Home requires network to handle the ‘on-the-fly’ sorting; so you’d be dead in the water if you were out in the sticks, or under the subway without data.
Back to my Go Launcher days… while the customization of the UI was there, the App Drawer lacked in sorting functionality. I was only able to create folders and drop apps in them, but those apps would then be removed from the App Drawer primary view, and souley live in the folder. This meant, if I had an app that was say Social Media related and Music related, I’d have to pick or choose. This is a terrible design for my use case, so I hunted for other options.
Along comes AutoAppOrganizer (APO) [to which there is a free version]. I’m not quite sure what I searched for to find this, but it’s one of my favorite apps to date. There is a very light agent that runs in the background of your phone. When a new app is installed, it polls for suggested classifications, and then asks what you’d like to add it to. (It can also remember how you classified a deleted app, and re-classify automagically if you ever re-install.) Here, you can select multiple associations for cross-reference. Later, when you are sorting through your apps, you may pull up AutoAppOrganizer, hit the classification of your choice, and browse through what you’ve dropped there. You do this on a per-app basis; you can’t manage each group by adding multiple apps to each grouping. It is still nice to have the device say, “hey, you installed an app; what do you want to do with it?” Sure, you could simply hit the search and type in the app there, but what if you forgot the name of that one app you used that one time, but know it was for that one situation you need… Open AutoAppOrganizer, or create a widget “folder” on your home screen to grab said sorted apps. OK, that’s cool and all, but what about just having the list of classifications available at all times, without having to open another app? I want my App Drawer to JUST WORK, and to have these sorted there for me. I kind of also don’t like the way APO displays the grouped apps, when using the widget folder. The widget icon doesn’t match my theme, the icons in the ‘folder’ don’t use the theme at all, and the folder animation doesn’t go with me theme.
Enter ADW Launcher and ADW Launcher EX. I paid for the EX version, and love how clean it is. ADW has an App Drawer with multi-relational classifications across the top. Unlike Go Launcher, these apps can be in more than one category at a time. Unlike AutoAppOrganizer, the management of each group is via opening the group management and checking off each of ALL of the apps you want to associate with it. To add a particular app to another group, you have to do the process all over again, and scroll through every app until you get to the one(s) you want to add. This may not sound like a big deal, but when you are like me, with over 440 app installed on your phone, it DOES get a bit hassling. Well, that’s just something we have to deal with for now, right?
One of the great pieces about ADW and APO, in regards to the way they handle the widget ‘folders’, is the way they auto update the content in them. If you add an app to a category, it will auto-display in the ‘folder’, and you don’t have to think which folders you missed.
Well, what if ADW and APO were to work together to build something EPIC!? OK, so take the best of each:
- ADW Clean Interface and App Drawer Categories
- APO Installed App Watcher Agent
- ADW Manage Groups
- APO Manage Apps
- Seamless UI Integration [Look/Feel/Actions]
- Dynamic Widget ‘Folder’ Updating
- App Drawer Category View
- App Registry, much like how Gnome handles app menu classification
In the end, I feel this merger of efforts, or at least if ADW would add these features, the user experience would be insane! Going to write these folks too.