Android Expert Profiles

How I Use Android: Falcon Pro and Twitter developer Joaquim Vergès

One of Android's busiest developers takes a breather to talk about his favorite apps and home screen tools -- plus the one feature he can't live without in a smartphone.

How I Use Android Joaquim Verges

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Android and Twitter have long had a rocky relationship. The official Android Twitter app has always left something to be desired -- and at the same time, Twitter has made it increasingly difficult for third-party developers to create sustainable alternatives.

No one knows that better than Joaquim Vergès. Vergès built a polished and popular Android Twitter client called Falcon only to run into Twitter's "token limit," which puts a cap on the number of users third-party apps can support. Long story short, Falcon hit the 100,000-user mark -- and Twitter cut Vergès off from allowing any more users to sign in.

Vergès dreamed up workaround after workaround in what became an ongoing and often uphill battle. He persevered, though, continuing to develop his app and find ways to make it available to users -- leading all the way up to the sleek and elegant Falcon Pro 3 release earlier this year.

Having checked "building one of the best Android Twitter clients" off his list, Vergès announced last month that he was joining Twitter itself as part of the company's core Android UI team. That's right: The guy who battled the giant for years has officially entered the belly of the beast, with a mission of making its own official app every bit as good as the one he created.

"I've grown tired of all the third-party limitations," Vergès explained. "I want to make a killer official app with full API and a modern UI."

(Don't worry: He'll continue to work on Falcon, too. Vergès says it'll be his testing ground -- "a great place to try new experiments without the slowness of a big company.")

Whichever side of the fence he's on, one thing is clear: Vergès knows his way around Android. So how does a developer of his caliber use the platform himself? It's time to find out.

In his own words, this is how Joaquim Vergès uses Android.

The basics

Your current primary phone: 2014 Moto X. Can't live without Motorola's Active Display! Every time my phone is on a table, I just wave my hand above it to reveal the time, notifications, etc. Same thing when I take it out of my pocket. I really miss that feature every time I use another phone. Power buttons are obsolete!

What case is on your phone (if any): None. I hate cases.

Your current tablet (if any): Nexus 9 from Google I/O 2015. Really good tablet -- great for Netflix and games.

Your current smartwatch (if any): Moto 360 from Google I/O 2014. Simple, elegant look that does the job.

What face you're using on your watch right now: Roman Nurik's FORM Watch Face -- the gray variant. Love the aesthetics and simplicity of this face.

FORM Watch Face

The FORM Watch Face (as seen on a Sony SmartWatch 3)

The home screen

A quick walk-through of your phone's home screen setup: My first screen has my main (most commonly used) apps and a Timely clock widget.

Joaquim Verges Home Screen

The second screen has a stock Calendar widget full-screen. I almost never use the main Calendar app; I rely 100% on the widget.

And the third screen has an widget full-screen for my daily tasks.

What launcher you're using: Action Launcher from Chris Lacy. Been using it for ages for two reasons:

  1. Swipe down anywhere to reveal the notification shade. Can't live without this -- that's why I never use stock launchers.
  2. Covers. I hate the look of stock folders, and I love the fact that a Cover is essentially a folder with a shortcut to the most used app -- while still looking clean on the home screen.

What wallpaper you're using: Custom made wallpaper from my @lifeoflekker. You can find it here and all of her work on Behance

Anything else of note (interesting customizations, special icons, etc): I used to use Click UI as an icon pack because it had nice icons for Falcon and Flyne. But now I use stock icons.

The apps

Beyond the obvious stock Google programs, a few apps you can't live without right now (and a quick word about why):

  • SwiftKey Keyboard: First thing I install on any new phone. Been using it for a while now and it just knows me too well. It's also the only keyboard that can keep up with my constant language switch (I type in English, French, and Spanish all the time) without making me do work for it.
  • Action Launcher: Just too used to my current setup. A launcher has to be orders of magnitude better to make me switch.
  • Timely: Beautiful alarm clock app with some useful features.
  • Pandora + Spotify: For all my music needs. Love the Pandora Chromecast feature; I do it almost every night when coming back from work.
  • Pushbullet: Anytime I need to pass something from my computer to my phone and vice versa, Pushbullet does the job with the least effort on my part.
  • My to-do app. I used to have everything in Google Keep, but I'm now using for its simplicity and nice widget.

Check out more Android expert profiles below or in the official Google+ collection -- and stay tuned for even more entries in the weeks to come!

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