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Minimal Android
October 8, 2012 10:32 PM   Subscribe

Minimal Android minimal homescreen, minimal icons, themes, wallpapers or other minimalistic android things - as long as it is minimal and meant for android.
posted by Artw (36 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
is there a way to get these themes? or are they just screenshots?
posted by the theory of revolution at 10:38 PM on October 8, 2012


AFAIK just screens - quite pretty though, especially compared with how it looks when the average telco or phone manufacturer has been at it.
posted by Artw at 10:40 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


the theory of revolution: "is there a way to get these themes? or are they just screenshots?"

Click through to a page (example) and then click on the image, which will take you to a page with a download link (example).
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:05 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else remember the enlightenment window manager back in like '98? It was crazy ridiculous eye candy but the UX was aaaawful.

This reminds me of that.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 11:38 PM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I remember that it was nearly impossible to get Enlightenment to run on my machine, but when I did, hoo boy, semi-transparent terminal windows!
posted by wierdo at 12:33 AM on October 9, 2012


On further thought, I think that was '97, and possibly even '96. I'm pretty sure it was released before Win95 OSR1 was released.

Wikipedia says 1997, actually. I remember going back and forth between nextstep, the Windows 95 ripoff, and enlightenment. Not too long after that KDE came along and I just used that. I didn't like fwvm at all, but it worked well enough to run Mosaic and the really early versions of Netscape that were out at the time.

Damn the stupid ISPs for giving their customers shell accounts on Linux boxes and my stupid friend for finally informing me that I could have one of my own running on my own computer. (No, you're actually awesome Brian. I would have gone along thinking I had to pay for that shit and not used it until this century if it weren't for you)
posted by wierdo at 12:41 AM on October 9, 2012


Is look like android in the augmentation reality next steep
posted by solange23 at 12:52 AM on October 9, 2012


Enlightenment: because you felt like the movie Hackers had some pretty great UI ideas.
posted by flaterik at 1:02 AM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ah, yes, back when we were impressed with graphics because they were graphics. :)
posted by Malor at 1:24 AM on October 9, 2012


Cell Phone Operating Systems - because the most important thing about your mobile productivity device is how cool your home screen looks.
posted by Yowser at 1:40 AM on October 9, 2012


This observation brought to you by a million reviews of cell phones that talk about how smooth the home screen animation is, or how important/not important it is that the iPhone 5 has a 5th row.

Because, you know, that 5th row REALLY matters.
posted by Yowser at 1:41 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


At first I thought this was relevant to my interests, because I just got a new android phone and it's loaded with all sorts of google/vendor crapware I have no use for with no (obvious) way to uninstall. There are both facebook and google+ apps, plus three different music apps and dropbox - all occasionally deciding to autostart in the background, presumably to check for updates. Based on past experience, there's a 99% probability I won't have ran any of this stuff intentionally by the time the hardware dies - yet I have to keep scrolling past them to get to menu screen #2 where less important stuff such as the contacts end up.

I'm probably spoiled by the overall linux experience, but I could sure use a minimal android distribution with just basic phone stuff baked in and everything else available via package manager.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:42 AM on October 9, 2012


Dr Dracator, if it's like my phone you can hold your finger down on the app for a few seconds, and then the app screen disappears and you can drag the app around 4 or so 'desktops' until it's where you want and then release it in it's new (shortcut) home. I have the camera app on the main screen, along with a weather/calendar display app, all my various messaging apps on another, music related things on a third, and then random stuff I downloaded and think I might need one day on the 4th (things like glucose monitoring, kitchen timers, etc.) As for uninstalling, I think you'd need to root the phone for most of the preloads.

For the wallpaper I wound up getting some kind of live desktop that features koi or some other kind of carp. You can touch the screen, it does some kind water ripple effect and the carp swim on their merry way away from your finger pokes. I figure it's saved me hundreds on game apps.
posted by mcrandello at 2:53 AM on October 9, 2012


Dr Dracator, I have several Android devices in my home and I highly recommend rooting it. Then you can delete all the apps that come with the phone that you don't want, and customize everything about it.

If you're uncomfortable doing it yourself (it can be daunting but there are step-by-step guides), many computer repair shops will root them for a fee.
posted by Malice at 3:29 AM on October 9, 2012


Does anyone else remember the enlightenment window manager

I remember my rage at never getting it to install. I also remember the Law of Linux Desktop Screenshots, which I see in evidence here: Every group of screenshots must include at least one wallpaper of a sexy lady who must be armed, wet, a robot, and/or Laetitia Casta.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:42 AM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


Rooting it is easy, but stressful in my experience! I've never had any problems, but the potential is there.

Once the device is rooted though a world of possibilities open up. Titanium Backup gives you access to uninstall all the stuff you want; initially you can 'freeze' the app to check that it's not critical, before uninstalling in the future.
posted by BadMiker at 3:44 AM on October 9, 2012


I've got an iPad 2, which was a revelation when compared to my musty old original Droid. I was going to get an iPhone, too, when I cheaped out and got a Nexus Galaxy running Jellybean (4.1) instead.

Umm. The difference is day and night. The new Android device is so much more effective at text input and editing, sublimely minimalist and organized, beautifully designed, and much more responsive. Web browsing is preferable on my phone, even tho it's only a 4 inch screen, due to the responsiveness and reliability of the browser. Changing between open apps is a joy.

Also, as this link shows, it lets even mild power-users customize the hell out of their interface without sacrificing capability or usability.

iOS 6 looks and feels kind of... dated. Slow. Awkward and buggy. Limited.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:47 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Enlightenment, god. All the time I spent getting that to run back about ten years or so ago, and all because Neal Stephenson gave it a shout-out in "In the Beginning was the Command Line." *shakes fist* Curse you, Stephenson!
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:56 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in a similar boat to Slap*Happy. I switched to a Galaxy S2 from an iPhone last year, and regard it as superior in many ways.

But I struggled to convince my friends it was an improvement - simply because the home screen widgets etc, customised to how I wanted it, didn't look as neat or elegant the standard iOS screen. Arguments about customisation, speed, versatility etc always came back against "Yeah, but it just doesn't look or feel as good."

Might get a few of these Minimal Android screens just to show them Andriod can look super-slick if you want it to. Ice Cream Sandwich looks pretty good too.

Cheers Artw - another string in my bow to remind my friends Apple ain't all that!
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 5:03 AM on October 9, 2012


Cell Phone Operating Systems - because the most important thing about your mobile productivity device is how cool your home screen looks.

You may be surprised at how often the general public fails to understand the difference between the OS and the home screen. In the same way people confuse "the internet" and their web browser's home screen ("Oh I used to have MSN on my internet... I don't want this google thing.")

Twice within the past week I've met people who did not know they could customize anything about their home screen, and were frustrated about getting a replacement phone that "couldn't do" stuff their old phone did, or vice versa.
posted by odinsdream at 5:08 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also moved from iOS to Jellybean. Upgrade is definitely the word for it.

My Color Screen also has some nice home screens.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:44 AM on October 9, 2012


At first I thought this was relevant to my interests, because I just got a new android phone and it's loaded with all sorts of google/vendor crapware I have no use for with no (obvious) way to uninstall.

Without rooting, you usually can't uninstall the crapware. However, what you can do on unrooted 4.0+ is go to Settings -> Application Manager -> Choose the "All" Tab -> Click on the Crapware App -> Uninstall updates, and then you can find it again from the same list and disable it. That'll at least keep it from running and keep you from being urged to update it in the future.
posted by cmonkey at 5:53 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've got 30 Acer Iconia A510 (ICS) tablets to unbox and set up for the school. On each one I need to walk through the initial setup process (connect to a couple of wifi networks, sign into primary Google account, turn on Google sync and backup, fill in Acer registration form); then turn off the Only Market Apps setting, disable McAfee antivirus on principle, visit Google Play to install Dolphin, make that the default browser, set the school home page, turn on Dolphin sync (which involves an Open ID signon into the same Google account), install Flash, and replace Browser on the primary desktop with Dolphin. I've done nine of them and it's getting old already. Anybody know of an easy way to script/automate that stuff?
posted by flabdablet at 6:05 AM on October 9, 2012


Ugh. I can't wait to put "Stock" Android on my Galaxy S3, once I've had it long enough to be convinced that I won't need to RMA it -- my first one died after about a month, and I don't want to have to try returning a rooted phone to Verizon...

I had Stock ICS (via CyanogenMod) on my old Droid Incredible, and the experience is just leaps and bounds above the shitty carrier-supplied firmware.

The new Android visual style is also pretty darn minimalistic, and looks phenomenal on high-dpi screens. Screenshots don't do it justice.

Now, can we just get Slidescreen back?
posted by schmod at 6:48 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


schmod: Can you install CyanogenMod on a "rooted" VZ Galaxy S3? I thought the "root" available for it wasn't a real root (due to the dick-move encrypted VZ bootloader (?)) and that you couldn't actually install CyanogenMod on it. Is there a real root for it, and if so can you Jelly Bean it?
posted by The Bellman at 7:01 AM on October 9, 2012


Is minimal Android when you only have two clocks visible on screen at any given time?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:06 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can you install CyanogenMod on a "rooted" VZ Galaxy S3? I thought the "root" available for it wasn't a real root (due to the dick-move encrypted VZ bootloader (?)) and that you couldn't actually install CyanogenMod on it. Is there a real root for it, and if so can you Jelly Bean it?

XDA seems to believe its doable, and it looks like the CM10 team has a page specifically for it.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:20 AM on October 9, 2012


TheNewWazoo: "Does anyone else remember the enlightenment window manager back in like '98? It was crazy ridiculous eye candy but the UX was aaaawful.

This reminds me of that
"

Remember them? I have to rescue them when they dist-upgrade their servers running debian unstable.... =(
posted by pwnguin at 8:38 AM on October 9, 2012


Without rooting, you usually can't uninstall the crapware. However, what you can do on unrooted 4.0+ is go to Settings -> Application Manager -> Choose the "All" Tab -> Click on the Crapware App -> Uninstall updates, and then you can find it again from the same list and disable it. That'll at least keep it from running and keep you from being urged to update it in the future.

You are my new favorite person. I've had a GS3 for a couple of months now and I'm constantly annoyed by all of the 'hey! you need to update me!' coming from apps that I'm never going to use. I really do need to look into rooting my phone, but I don't really know where to start, so this will be my solution until I get around to it.
posted by alynnk at 8:41 AM on October 9, 2012


The Bellman: "I thought the "root" available for it wasn't a real root (due to the dick-move encrypted VZ bootloader (?)) and that you couldn't actually install CyanogenMod on it. Is there a real root for it"

A real "root" surfaced almost immediately, but the encrypted bootloader made it difficult to flash custom kernels. Now, the bootloader's also been cracked, so the device is pretty much wide open (although the process to get root does seem a lot messier than other devices).
posted by schmod at 8:51 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


For an almost cool visual style, without the required rooting or convoluted setup process, I use https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tomanyz.lockWatchLight as my live wallpaper. It looks great, although not as good as the themes linked, which are very beautiful.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:54 AM on October 9, 2012


I've got 30 Acer Iconia A510 (ICS) tablets to unbox and set up for the school .... and replace Browser on the primary desktop with Dolphin. I've done nine of them and it's getting old already. Anybody know of an easy way to script/automate that stuff
Is there anyway to do a complete image backup and restore procedure? this app will supposedly let you do it, although I would guess you'd need to root each one...
posted by delmoi at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2012


With all this talk of Enlightenment, I thought E17 had finally been released. Of course, it has not.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:31 PM on October 9, 2012


If you ask me, Enlightenment should shift into reverse and return to its roots. The early versions of Enlightenment consisted of themes that were gothic, phantasmagoric, and bizarrely cool, though prone to excessiveness (as you can see from the Enlightenment link on this page). Enlightenment today, at least on the visual front, is cold and corporate in comparison.
posted by Gordion Knott at 2:58 PM on October 9, 2012


Dr. Dracator: Based on past experience, there's a 99% probability I won't have ran any of this stuff intentionally by the time the hardware dies - yet I have to keep scrolling past them to get to menu screen #2 where less important stuff such as the contacts end up.

Your carrier could easily have messed this up, or you might be on an earlier Android, which I haven't worked with. But, on a stock Galaxy Nexus (which Google manages the firmware for, rather than a carrier), you've got two basic ways to access applications; through the home screen, which pops up on the phone when you first unlock it, and through a secondary, alphabetical list of all installed applications, via the "..." button, bottom center.

You can't remove an app from the alphabetized list unless you uninstall it, but you can move or delete programs from your home screen by pressing on them, and holding. After about a second, the phone will vibrate or beep very slightly, and then you can drag that icon anywhere you want, including to a "Remove" message, which should appear at the top of the screen. It'll still be in the alphabetized list, but the shortcut on the home screen goes away.

The desktop also has 'pages', and you can drag the app to any page you like, if you still want it easily visible, rather then lost somewhere in a long list.

You can also create 'nested' icons, by dragging one icon onto another. The dragged icon disappears, just visible behind the original icon. When you click the original, a little submenu pops up that lets you choose which of the two (or more) icons you actually want. I use this to organize icons into logical groups; most of my Google icons are nested together, as are most of my Amazon ones. It lets me have a lot of related stuff two clicks away, while taking up very little screen space.

Stuff I use a lot goes on the main page, including several nested icons, holding related things. Stuff I use semi-frequently goes on the second page, and everything else I run from the alphabetized list.
posted by Malor at 10:13 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


*I've got 30 Acer Iconia A510 (ICS) tablets to unbox and set up for the school .... and replace Browser on the primary desktop with Dolphin. I've done nine of them and it's getting old already. Anybody know of an easy way to script/automate that stuff*

Similarly, Titanium Backup will let you save apps, app data, system settings, to Dropbox and restore them. Root is necessary. link
posted by stratastar at 11:05 PM on October 9, 2012


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