Features & Use
GDE replaces your standard Android desktop and allows you to adjust the number of homescreens as well as customize the animation when switching between screens. As far as animation is concerned, the market description is spot on:
"A new android desktop with some features never seen before! Like cube, stretch and fading transitions and endless scroll."
GDE has a couple of features that desktop replacements applications up to now have lacked (more on that in Screen & Controls).
GDE also lets you install and use different themes. This means that you can make your desktop look like the screen of an Motoral Droid or an HTC Hero. There are already a whole set of free themes available on the Android Market.
Last but not least, you can organize your list of applications better with the help of additional folders.
Screen & Controls
After you’ve installed GDE, you can access your desktop with the home button or select GDE as your standard desktop. The main difference from an Android desktop is that fact that you work with five screens (up to 7 screens can be set up). Switching between screens is done with the help of an animated cube (default setting) with multiple sides. Visually, it looks pretty sweet. At the bottom of the screen, you have two customizable buttons with an “app drawer” located in the middle. The “app drawer” doesn’t open up your app list, but directs you straight to your GDE settings:
- Applications: Goes to your app list. You can create subfolders to sort your apps and have your apps displayed in list form.
- Finder: Opens a Google search window.
- Control panel: Here’s you’ll find the actual GDE settings:
- General phone settings: Redirects you to the Android settings of your phone.
- Personalize appearance: Here you can customize the animation for switching between your desktops (Normal, Cube, Stretch or Fade) as well as select and use downloaded themes.
- Desktop Settings: Here you can adjust the number of desktops, adjust desktop scroll settings and tweak your drag and drop settings.
- Button Settings: Here you can assign different functions to the two buttons at the bottom of your screen. (I would’ve preferred to be able to assign a wider selection of functions):
- Send SMS
I really liked the Application Dock – a widget included with GDE. You can set up a transparent bar on your desktop and fill it with apps. If you have added more than two apps, you can scroll through all of them horizontally. You can place multiple application docks on your screen. Together with the 7 desktops, this should leave you with more than enough room for all of your apps.
GDE is yet another Android desktop replacement app that does its job quite well. There are already a ton of themes available and many more are soon to follow. According to the developers, they’re working on a number of new features for this app.
Speed & Stability
Here’s the biggest problem with these types of apps: Usually, you’ll experience a significantly slower phone performance when using a replacement in comparison to the standard desktop. Despite this general drawback, GDE ran smoothly enough, even if its performance didn’t quite match that of the original.
GDE can be downloaded from the Android Market for €2.25.