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Old Nov 8, 2012, 10:05 PM   #1
maccompatible
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What is meant by android "customization"

I hear this word all the time. Are people just talking about widgets on the home screen and 3rd party apps? I understand those. But is that really why people love android so much? Those two little things.

Please list everything else under the "customization" criteria that you can. I need to know if it's just rhetoric or if you can customize anything and everything to be or do however you want it.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 10:52 PM   #2
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You can replace the stock Internet app with one from Google play store. And different themes, different fronts, keyboards.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 11:04 PM   #3
Rodster
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You can ROM the hell out of Android. I recently read that someone started a project and got Linux to run on the Nexus 7.

In Android you can tweak the hell out of the OS. With ICS you can disable many OS apps from startup to cut down on memory overhead. Helps save on battery.

What's weird is as much talk about bad battery life for Android devices. My original Galaxy Tab 10.1 is at 52% full and I checked the meter and it's been running for 16 hours. I've been doing radio streaming and surfing, played some games.

My iPad 2 gets great battery life as well.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 11:08 PM   #4
mib1800
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maccompatible View Post
I hear this word all the time. Are people just talking about widgets on the home screen and 3rd party apps? I understand those. But is that really why people love android so much? Those two little things.

Please list everything else under the "customization" criteria that you can. I need to know if it's just rhetoric or if you can customize anything and everything to be or do however you want it.
- Equal citizenship for apps. You can specify any app (3rd party or stock) as the "default" to handle certain functionalities of the phone. e.g. replace any stock apps (music player, browser, dialer, phonebook, keyboard, lockscreen, clipboard, voice-recognition) SEAMLESSLY with those that you fancy.

- Scalable with Intents. e.g. Install a new share stream app and immediately you can share your contents to that share stream from anywhere in the UI. Install an app that handles a specific content-type and you can download/view/use that content from the browser/email/anywhere.

- Launchers - customize your entire desktop UI including app drawers, app folders, gestures, icon set, wallpaper/live wallpaper.

- Event driven. You can install app that reacts to event. e.g. when an sms comes in, the app will automatically forward it to a cloud calendar. Or when you enter a specific geo-location, the phone auto-send an SMS.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 12:52 AM   #5
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One specific example rather than a general response: if I have it point out one thing that keeps me with android phones (I have an iPad and an air and ideally would like to have everything integrated), it's the third party keyboard app swift key. The iOS keyboard is crap and there's no way of changing it (except to swype, which is equally bad), so this becomes a deal breaker for me as I email a lot on the go. Android lets you fix those things when the stock set up doesn't comply with your needs.

Widgets also allow you to change key settings much faster than on iOS, which is very convenient.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 02:32 AM   #6
strausd
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One example I can think of is Light Flow. For Android phones that have an LED notification light, this app can set that light to be different colors based on what is going on with your phone. For example, say I have an unread text, the light will blink red every so often. If I have a missed call, it can blink blue.

Granted, something like this should originally be baked into the OS from the get go, especially for phones that have a light, but there might be some advantages to having a third party app control it.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 03:16 AM   #7
Elit3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maccompatible View Post
I hear this word all the time. Are people just talking about widgets on the home screen and 3rd party apps? I understand those. But is that really why people love android so much? Those two little things.

Please list everything else under the "customization" criteria that you can. I need to know if it's just rhetoric or if you can customize anything and everything to be or do however you want it.
Launcher: This is the homescreen/appdraw apk (app executable), and if you download a different one you can change the look of your homescreen, appdrawer and everything in it, down to animations.
Widgets, well we all know what they are.
ROM: You can change (only if you have root permissions, aka jailbreak, which is legal on phones) the ENTIRE look of the OS, add fetures, take away features etc. But this is more advanced stuff.
Kernel and Overclocking: you can change the kernel, which allows you to overclock (which isn't very smart) or make your phone run better, have better battery performance etc. Also more advanced.
Lock screen customization: This is like the laucher, but allows you to change your lock screen, you can add widgets, change clocks, have completely different looks.
Status Bar (it has many names, but for Apple peeps it is Notifications Center): Now on android (stock, no touchwiz etc) this looks very good already, but you can change that aswell, which is like the launcher thing also.
LED Nofications: On some android smartphones they have a LED light for notifications, to tell you if you have a text or if your battery is finished charging, you can change the color of this, the brightness (I believe), and the reason it does it.
Keyboard: You can basically customize the keyboard to suit you.
The thing about android is it is open source (AOSP) which means, you can change ANYTHING, on some phones you can dual boot WebOS on it, if you are a dev then you have every bit of code that Google has written at your disposal, so customization is endless on android.

Last edited by Elit3; Nov 9, 2012 at 10:09 PM.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 03:38 AM   #8
reefoid
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For ultimate customisation, just take a look at Tasker. You can get your phone to take just about any action (turning services on/off, changing option settings, open/close apps, etc.) based on just about any trigger (time, date, location, alerts, etc) to create very powerful automation.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 04:49 AM   #9
viskon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maccompatible View Post
I hear this word all the time. Are people just talking about widgets on the home screen and 3rd party apps? I understand those. But is that really why people love android so much? Those two little things.

Please list everything else under the "customization" criteria that you can. I need to know if it's just rhetoric or if you can customize anything and everything to be or do however you want it.
See my post here for one example of customization that you can do on Android.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=16178421
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 04:57 AM   #10
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If you root you can

- Get wifi hot spot for free, assuming your carrier charges you a fee (AT&T).

- Hook up a PS3 controller to your phone to play games.

- Dim the capacitive buttons.

- Replace carrier logo to whatever you want.

- Install Beats audio or whatever sound enhancement mod you want.

- Make a complete nandroid backup image of your phone.

- Connect USB toggle on the go. Hook up an external hard drive.

- overclock/underclock your processor for performance. As well as use an undervolt script, which greatly increases battery performance.

- Change font. Say you like windows 8 font, well there you go.

- Change your custom interface by installing different roms. Go from HTC sense to Jelly Bean stock.

These are just some of the things I use my HTC One X for
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 06:31 AM   #11
THE JUICEMAN
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When I used to customize android I made the mistake of focusing only on the looks. What is most important is the ability to make the phone work better for how you personally use it. Some people want links to open chrome. Some people want links to open dolphin etc. Some people want a pattern for a lock screen some a password some no lock screen at all. What if you don't want to use the stock camera app on your phone? Is it easy to do that on iOS? No. The list can go on and on but instead of apple dictating what you can and cannot do, you get to decide.

Edit: and I don't want to minimize the customization of looks. It is nice to be able to change your UI and get a refresh if you get bored.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 06:46 AM   #12
snow blind
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Originally Posted by Dontazemebro View Post
- Install Beats audio or whatever sound enhancement mod you want.
Thought the Beats audio treatment consisted of software along with unique amp hardware?
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 07:13 AM   #13
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Customization is more than skin deep. It allows you to cater the phone to your specific needs and wants. What lock screen do you want to see when you first wake your device, or what browser you want to launch every time you hit a link, or what keyboard you want to use to type your messages, or what toggles and information you want... -- there are so many more things you can configure and tweak.

All this adds to the usability of the phone. You can make the device uniquely yours. iOS claims to be super simple, but we're in an age where the competition has figured out how to do the same things more efficiently. Just look at how many steps it takes to turn on private browsing in iOS. Or how many steps it takes to switch conversations in chat programs or tabs in browsers (it's literally one swipe to switch between tabs in Chrome). iOS is so simple that it's ironically less usable. Whereas Android gives you the freedom to make it as usable as you want.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 08:37 AM   #14
Dontazemebro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snow blind View Post
Thought the Beats audio treatment consisted of software along with unique amp hardware?
Nah no hardware. Just sound enhancement software.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 08:45 AM   #15
kicko
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easily put... if there is something software based you dislike on the phone you can find an app or ROM to fix or change it. You use it how you like, not how someone else thinks you should differently.


and if you call in the next 10 minutes get your own pun included at not extra charge.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 08:48 AM   #16
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This is a good showcase of visual customisation:

http://mycolorscreen.com/?os=android
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 08:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChazUK View Post
This is a good showcase of visual customisation:

http://mycolorscreen.com/?os=android
Wow, lot of awesome screenshots.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChazUK View Post
This is a good showcase of visual customisation:

http://mycolorscreen.com/?os=android
Some of those are beautiful.

As I said, after you customize your device, aesthetically and in usability, the device truly feels unique. It truly feels yours.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:18 AM   #19
Vetvito
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Can't wait for my Nexus 4!
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:25 AM   #20
VFC
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I have an iPad 3 and Nexus 7. In addition to all the above responses, I would like to add the following Android advantages:

- Soft Home button on the screen. My iPad plastic button doesn't seems like it will last much longer.

- Soft App running button. Easier to see and kill run apps on the N7 than the iPad.

- Soft Back button. I don't have to swipe my greasy fingers over my screen.

- Swiftkey custom keyboard is great.

- I can have book and song icons on the screen

- Live wallpapers. KOI is my favorite and the one I use to impress my friends

- Don't underestimate Widgets. I have a large BT speaker amp that I share between mobile devices. With the N7 it's one touch on/off on the widget bar. It is 4 to 6 steps on my iPad. Same with Flight Mode when I want to save battery power. I also have my most used Chrome Favorites as separate widget icons.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:28 AM   #21
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To me the biggest thing is being able to pull all the ui elements off the phone with ADB, modify their properties (color, animations, sizing, scale) and push them back on the device. I can make the Notification bar purple if I wanted to. I began pulling the touchwiz elements and changing them to stock android. Then I installed Holo Launcher. Phone is starting to look rather stock and I get the bug free experience of the stock rom. Pretty slick.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VFC View Post

- Soft Home button on the screen. My iPad plastic button doesn't seems like it will last much longer.
I got a Nexus 7 recently and I have to say that I love the soft buttons.
The dedicated back button is extremely handy.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:47 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by TheHateMachine View Post
To me the biggest thing is being able to pull all the ui elements off the phone with ADB, modify their properties (color, animations, sizing, scale) and push them back on the device. I can make the Notification bar purple if I wanted to. I began pulling the touchwiz elements and changing them to stock android. Then I installed Holo Launcher. Phone is starting to look rather stock and I get the bug free experience of the stock rom. Pretty slick.
I used to do this a lot back in the old android days but now you can use rom toolbox for most of that. It's still pretty fun to get in the kitchen and cook up your own flavored rom though.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 10:02 AM   #24
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Like mentioned, Tasker. I'm really surprised Apple hasn't jumped at something like that with a native app.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 03:40 PM   #25
Stuntman06
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Here are some things that I did not like about the stock configurations of my phone that I have "customised" to my liking:
  • I changed the launcher, so my home screens have 6 rows of icons and no app dock.
  • I changed the keyboard to one that has layouts that I like, colours that I like and features (no auto-space) that I like.
  • I have different notification sounds for each of my apps. Some apps, I turn notification sounds off.
  • I have a widget that allows me to turn off all notification sounds while leaving the alarm and ring on. I use this when I go to bed. When I wake up, I tap the widget again to turn my notification sounds back on.
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