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Home Screen Replacement - ADW.Launcher

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid 3' started by REMilk, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. REMilk
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    REMilk New Member

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    This is one of a series of brief postings on Home Screen Replacements. This review is based on the version that was available in the App Market during the period October 22, 2011 through October 31, 2011. The posting contains my personal view of the Home Screen Replacement. These were all reviewed on my Droid 3. If you like this Home Screen Replacement, please post and describe what you like about it. If you do not like this Home Screen Replacement, then please describe what you do not like about it and/or what you think needs to be changed to improve it. Just saying something like “I like it” or “It sucks” provides not much in the way of information to those with an interest of finding out more about this Home Screen Replacement.

    ADW.Launcher

    ADW.Launcher is a full feature, highly customizable home screen replacement for your phone. It offers smooth performance. Some of the customizable features include:
    - Show/Hide Status Bar, Icon Labels
    - Customizable Grid sizes (rows and columns)
    - Dock size (but not scrollable)
    - Themes!

    ADW Launcher seems to be limited to 7 screens. But how many do you really need? The screen transitions are smooth and looping is supported. There does not appear to be choices for screen transitions. However, different screen transitions are more of a ‘whiz bang’/’eye candy’ and do not add to the functionality.

    I had no problems setting up ADW.Launcher and customizing it for my usage. I see it is as a high quality, highly customizable home screen replacement that will serve folks extremely well.
  2. Fr33dom
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    Fr33dom New Member

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    Good idea REMilk.

    I've found one issue with ADW so far. Rotating the phone while on the desktop may screw with the dock's theme slightly.
  3. NoBloatware
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    NoBloatware New Member

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    Actually, if you swipe up on the ADW dock you can access a scrollable dock. You need to make sure it is enabled in ADW's preferences. It isn't as nice as GO's implementation, but when you consider the intrusive privilege requirements of GO, I personally have to choose ADW as the current best free launcher. It is also interesting to me that GO has taken ADW's freely available code and made some changes but hasn't made their own code available or even acknowledged ADW.

    My current ranking:
    1) ADW
    2) Nemus (great but does not allow you to change the number of rows & columns)
    3) Zeam (fast, but has very few extra features)
  4. jev
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    jev Member

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    I appreciate your efforts on highlighting the various launchers. I've tried most of these but some I haven't heard of yet. And the various privileges each asks for don't bother me a bit, seeing as how nothing is really "secure" on a cell phone. I currently use QQ launcher and am quite happy with it. Thanks for your efforts.
  5. NoBloatware
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    NoBloatware New Member

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    What makes you think this?
  6. REMilk
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    REMilk New Member

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  7. Fr33dom
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    Fr33dom New Member

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    Here is the difference between Go Launcher's and ADW's requirements (from Go Launcher):


    • Network communication
      • full Internet access
        Allows an application to create network sockets.

    I concur heartily with NoBloatware here. He is absolutely correct to be concerned, and everyone should be concerned about these permissions. That said there are lots of gnashing teeth over permissions by people that don't understand that something that sends an email will need access to contacts and such. Still, a comparison of permissions is absolutely important and when you see something that can create network sockets, you should be concerned about it.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  8. NoBloatware
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    NoBloatware New Member

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    Fr33dom hit the nail on the head for me. The big thing is the Internet access. If an app has Internet access, it may only be downloading ads, but it also opens the door for the possibility of uploading my sd card data, contact info, identity, SMS, etc. In the case of GO Launcher, it has been reported that the app "phones home" by connecting to Go's server at boot. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE to me, especially given that GO has taken ADW's code and not released their own code or even thanked ADW.

    Personally, I don't need or want a home launcher to have these extra privileges. Other people may like the launchers that you talk about than integrate weather or something. To be fair, I should have pointed this out. Some launchers may legitimately require Internet access, SMS access, etc. As I said: not for me.

    That being said, even though I may trust some of these developers, it's a matter of principle for me. I want to go with devs that are reasonable with their privileges. Another thing that bothers me is when an app starts on boot for no reason. Obviously, a launcher needs to but an app like a web browser or camera does not.

    I'd love to see a change where people really start scrutinizing the privileges required and developers are forced to behave. Wishful thinking?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  9. REMilk
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    REMilk New Member

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    I have no qualms with folks having concerns about the "permissions" that an app needs. The potential impacts should be understood.

    My concern was over the fact that the responses to companion threads identified the permissions, but the writer neglected to identify the permissions needed for his favorite. I am just ensuring that all readers understand that ADW.Launcher also requires permissions.

    Bob

    Sent from my DROID3 using DroidForums
  10. NoBloatware
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    NoBloatware New Member

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    I will list all of ADW's permissions here:
    -modify/delete SD card contents
    -read contact data
    -dial phone numbers
    -system tools (make applications always run, modify settings, retrieve running apps, expand/collapse status bar, kill background processes, read Home settings & shortcuts, set wallpaper size hints, write Home settings and shortcuts
    -control vibrator

    Compare these privileges to any other launcher. Except for the other reasonable ones I've found--Nemus and Zeam--all of the other launchers require scary things like Internet access, SMS, identity, etc. privileges.

    Internet access, for one, is a big deal. That makes it possible for apps to upload your SD card contents, contact data, and identity to a server. I rest easy knowing that this isn't possible with ADW, Nemus, and Zeam. It kind of annoys me when an app asks for too many privileges. It's an invasion of privacy and a security risk. That's why I always try to support devs who are responsible with the privileges that they require.
  11. REMilk
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    REMilk New Member

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    I think before trashing an app as it may need permissions that you feel are unnecessary, you need to understand the functionality that the app is providing by having this permission. For example, Go Launcher EX needs internet access to support Notifications for GMail, along will polling and displaying Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, data and other services. Even the 'offical' Twitter app needs internet access for this data. Therefore, based on your argument, it is possible for the Twitter app to upload your data also.
  12. NoBloatware
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    NoBloatware New Member

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    I don't see where I'm trashing the apps. I've said repeatedly that I personally do not want my launcher to have access to Internet, SMS, etc. If anything, I'm bringing to light the excessive privileges that many devs are using.

    Why is it that other launchers allow you to display Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, data and other services without requiring the privileges of GO Launcher EX? It has been reported a few times that GO Launcher EX "phones home".

    Yes, you're absolutely correct: the Twitter app could upload your data. That's the whole point that I'm making. I'm not going to put my trust in GO's devs. Why don't they release their source code? Why don't they acknowledge ADW whose code they based their launcher on?
  13. REMilk
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    REMilk New Member

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    I think it is time for both of us to stop beating a dead horse. I respect your position.
  14. Fr33dom
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    Fr33dom New Member

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    That seems inaccurate. Go Launcher takes the same approach ADW does in that it uses a companion app to provide the notifications. If internet access were required for this functionality, it would be tied to the companion app and not the main app. Neither ADW nor its companion app need those permissions to accomplish the feat. I fail to see why they would.
  15. AHiLdesigns
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    AHiLdesigns New Member

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    I'm not defending Go Launcher, but I'm also not sure if you guys have taken the time to really look over Go Launcher Ex's features.

    There's several different ways an application can be written, the most important two are Java, and Web-based. From what I could grasp from my business partner (an IT Genius), Java is a closed programming scenario that keeps the app solely to the phone--no net connection necessary. Web-based apps are bawically web-pages populated on your screen. Whether or not you actually see an address bar is regardless of that fact. Its possible to blend these.

    In the case of Go Launcher Ex, clearly the launcher itself is a closed app... but the inclusion of the "Go Store" is an obvious web-based feature. They connect you to the net to display their themes, as well as what themes you've already installed. Now, how exactly can anyone expect that very simple process to work if it doesn't have an internet connection (for server connection), a means to read the information on your phone (to see what themes you have at that access), and some form of data conversation between their server and your phone happening in the background that checks from time to time to see if you're in need of a notification of new themes?

    Yeah. Permissions that invade our privacy are bad. But I see a lot more fingers pointing at developers who have no choice in the category that their necessary permissions land... rather than saying to google: hey, redo your permissions and especially their taxonomy so we know who to be pissed at in a way that's fair and accurate.

    Like is said, for all I know Go Launcher Ex is the devil. But I'm using it, the ui is easy to learn, I like the themes, I like the level of customization, and the accessory apps... and I'm rational enough to understand that while it may require some permissions other apps don't, its also offering more, and in a way that's attractive and feels professional.

    Of course, it doesn't handle folders all that well, and I get some lag sometimes depending on the lwp I may have on, but overall I've been pretty happy with it.

    Anyway, thought you guys might like to hear some more informed thoughts so at leats you can sling the mud at the right people. ;)

    Sent from my DROID3 using DroidForums
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