Android

Upgraded to Jelly Bean 4.1.2 via CyanogenMod 10 (Galaxy Tab 10.1 p4wifi)

I decided to upgrade from 4.1.1 to 4.1.2 today for the heck of things. Actually, there was a reason — I was sick and tired of dealing with my eternally and mysteriously dwindling storage space so I figured it was high time to format the system. Besides, I read that this build of CM 10 actually allows me to use both cameras on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 again. :3

I followed the “guide” here: http://galaxytabhacks.com/galaxy-tab-10-1-roms/cm10-jelly-bean-rom-for-galaxy-tab-10-1-android-4-1-2/ Well, it actually just provides links to the ROMs and Gapps so it’s meant for folks that already have rooted devices and experience installing custom ROMs. You can find guides all over the Internet that are best suited for your device but for my P7510, I started with this when I did my first ROM flash back in August. ClockworkMod’s gone through some revisions since so I think it’s best to do a bit more research like reading the comments there and XDA Developers for the recommended ways to prepare for device rooting and backing up. (Since I just Google like mad and follow instructions that I find, I’m really not the person to ask if you’re encountering problems rooting or installing a ROM. ^^)

Anyway, the installation went off with a hitch but I did encounter some annoying problem while trying to update apps from the Google Play Store. I kept running into the RPC:S-5:AEC-0 error which barred me from any sort of downloading regardless of whether the app was a fresh install or an update.

After some Web searching, I found this post at Android Central which cleared the error. It might not work for everyone but it did for me. Now I’m facing the problem with the Play Store intermittently refusing to display screenshots or show their enlarged version. Loading up product pages can lag a wee bit as well. I’ve yet to read up on what the cause might be for this since it’s not that urgent of an issue.

Oh yes, while the build linked at the Galaxy Tab Hacks site is more or less stable, it seems that USB charging is no longer a sure thing. :\ It didn’t charge for me earlier but it’s doing so now.  It will also run into the “Unfortunately, < app name > has stopped” annoyances now and then with the camera and the Torch apps. It might do it with some others too but I haven’t used any apps for extended periods of time since I installed 4.1.2.

However, I have been spending some quality time with both Apex and Nova Launchers. Initially, I was going to commit to using Chameleon. I mean, considering I shelled out money for it during its Kickstarter campaign, it only seemed appropriate that I would finally use  the thing.

Unfortunately, even after so many updates, it STILL doesn’t completely suit my needs. I need shortcuts on my home screen since I don’t want to have to dig through the drawer to get to the app I want to use. I have everything categorized into little folders via Auto App Organizer and while I can certainly add each folder as a widget onto the home screen, it makes for a goofy looking, fairly unattractive layout when placed with the native Gmail and calendar widgets. There also doesn’t seem to be any way to increase the space between app shortcuts in the dock which only adds to the overall silly look.

Don’t get me wrong; Chameleon is a gorgeous launcher but it’s only like that if you use specific widgets (as seen in the images on their site and on the product page at the Play Store) and not cram the dock with 8 or 9 shortcuts. Despite it not being the launcher for me, I don’t regret contributing to its funding.

After fiddling around Chameleon, I moved back to Nova. ….. Then I decided to give Apex another chance. XD I didn’t use it before since it didn’t have any themes I liked and it couldn’t automatically skin all icons from Go Launcher EX themes like Nova. Even as of the most recent update, Apex Launcher STILL can’t skin all icons in one go but at least it has pretty themes now! (I am a total sucker for customizing the look for UIs and such.)

Here are three of the ones that I fell in love with. All images can be enlarged to 1600×500:

Minimal Apex Theme
Minimal Apex Theme – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apex.minimal&hl=en
Plate Theme 4 Apex Launcher
Plate Theme – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wed.apex.theme.plate
Minimal Text Theme
Minimal Text – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=minimaltext.kyledesignedme.adwtheme&hl=en

I added the theme name and designer myself. The wallpaper is a modified version of this: http://simpledesktops.com/browse/desktops/2011/jun/30/maru/ And the icons with category labels are from the aforementioned Auto App Organizer.

I’m currently using the Plate Theme and have since moved the shortcuts icons a bit higher. ^^ Note that you don’t need root to use any of the launchers or themes I mentioned.

Android

Current home screen look/layout on my Galaxy Tab 10.1

Nova Launcher with rainy Theme (for Go Launcher EX) icons
Nova Launcher (not that you can tell) with rainy Theme (for Go Launcher EX) icons. The weather & date are part of the Glass Widgets bundle. Folders are from the GoToApp Demo.

I love skinning and applying themes to operating systems for my computers and mobile devices. I fiddled around with Go Launcher EX last night and then eventually moved to Nova Launcher. I might go back to Go Launcher EX since I’m too lazy to manually tweak my home screen and icons. XD (There are some visual issues with it though since it’s not optimized for tablet use. I haven’t tried the HD version yet.)

Anyway, yeah, I know Jelly Bean allows for folder creation but when I install a new launcher, I have to recreate all of them. (At least, that’s what it seemed like.) With GoToApp, it’s simply a 3-step process to have it recreate all folders since I already organized all my apps beforehand.

The one thing that always throws a wrench into layouts is the Pesoguin Talk app which is the one you see in the middle with the little penguin and a heart. It’s a slightly bizarre widget that spans 1 x 3 squares. The thing is, it could have simply been 1 x 2 and everything would fit all nice and tidy. But because it’s 1 x 3, there’s excess empty space on the right side of the penguin which always results in an awkward gap. Choosing to overlap icons doesn’t make things better because Pesoguin partially takes up the third square. 9_9

Oh yeah, the wallpaper is from Simple Desktops. Here’s a direct link to the page: http://simpledesktops.com/browse/desktops/2011/sep/21/mac-and-back-to-basic/

I’ll probably still take a look around and see what other launchers there are. Really hoping to find something that’ll either ignore the icon grids or shrink them. I want things to be more densely packed and the freedom to put shortcuts anywhere. I already modified it a bit through Nova Launcher but it’s not enough. ^^ I would also like the ability to select multiple shortcuts since, sometimes, when I’m rearranging things on the home screen and want to place everything on one side, it’d go a wee bit faster than to select, hold, and move each one separately. There’s a tweak for this for jailbroken iOS devices but I can’t seem to find one for Android. :/

Edit: Redid the layout a little. ^-^

Redid the layout (Nova Launcher)
Redid the layout (Nova Launcher)

Oh yeah! I managed to resize the Pesoguin Talk widget properly so now there’s no extra space on its right side. For some reason, when I tried it last night, all it did was shrink the penguin but the speech balloon stayed the same size. ^^ I wonder if changing the number of columns did something? It was set to 8 columns before but now it’s at 10 columns.

BTW, what you see in the above screenshots is totally doable without rooting. However, I think root access is needed to show widgets in the drawer but it’s an option in the settings so if you don’t have root or don’t want to give Nova access to it, then there’s no big loss as it won’t affect the launcher in any way.

Try and accomplish THIS level of customization on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without jailbreaking. It won’t happen. It will probably NEVER happen.