Being an Android user, it's easy to take things for granted. We have one of the most powerful and customizable platforms at our fingertips -- but if you don't keep exploring the possibilities, you'll eventually miss out on some cool new things you could be doing with your device.
That's okay, of course; just because Android can do lots of things doesn't mean it has to (a point often misunderstood by Apple lovers who toss out that silly old "it just works" nonsense). If you're reading this, though, there's a good chance you're interested in making the most of your mobile technology. And I have a fun little project to help you do that.
The project revolves around Android launchers -- programs that replace your device's home screen setup with a different environment. Facebook recently introduced the concept to the general public with its lackluster Facebook Home application, but as Android power users know, launchers can do a heck of a lot more than turn your phone into a locked-down social network stream.
I decided to spend some time sifting through the Play Store to find the most interesting and innovative launchers around -- and even as someone who spends his days closely connected to Android, I was blown away to be reminded of how many diverse and original options are out there.
You've got the standards like Nova and Apex, which give you stock-like environments with added features and control -- but that's barely scratching the surface. There's a launcher that transforms your phone into a series of futuristic-looking information hubs, a launcher that lets you browse and apply other users' creative home screen configurations, and a launcher that makes your entire phone look like part of Google Now.
There's even a launcher that dynamically changes your home screen based on your moment-to-moment interests. Whether you use it long-term or not, it really is a clever concept and something worth seeing.
So my challenge to you: Get out of your comfort zone and try a few new launchers. See what's out there and bask in the awesome work our developer community is doing. Revitalize your phone and renew your enthusiasm for the mind-blowing technology in the palm of your hand.
The best part? You don't have to start from scratch. I put together a gallery of a dozen launchers that stood out the most to me. Click on over, find a couple that catch your eye, and give 'em a whirl. You never know -- you just might find something you love.
The adventure starts here: