Update 23-02-2012: Added GO Locker review.
Everytime I buy a new gadget (or install a new OS) is to replace the default applications. For my Android Samsung Galaxy Y GT-S5360 smartphone, I immediately searched for a replacement of the default “SMS”, “Contacts”, “Dialer”, “Launcher”, and “Keyboard” apps that comes with it.
I found GO Launcher EX (which comes with GO Store & GO Widget), GO Contacts EX (which comes with GO Dialer EX), GO SMS Pro, GO Keyboard, and GO Locker. I never looked back since.
GO Launcher EX
GO Launcher EX is the replacement for the default launcher that comes with Android. A “launcher” is the software (or application) that serves as your desktop and app drawer (or “program files” if you are a Microsoft® Windows user). It is what you always see and use.
The default is simple and it was left to the manufacturers and Android enthusiasts to develop their custom or better launcher, in effect creating an Android community and ecosystem. You, of course, want to have a better launcher right?
Some of the features are:
- 3 Dock rows
- Screen and App drawer transition effects
- App drawer search field
- App drawer folders
- App locking
- App hiding
- Better app sorting
- Close all running apps
- App history
GO Contacts EX (with GO Dialer EX)
GO Contacts EX replaces the default contacts/phonebook app of Android. Although the default is more than enough for the average user, the added features that comes with this will surely convince anyone to download this replacement app.
- Better Contact-Group management
- Favorite contacts
- SMS all
- Email all
- Backup contacts to SD
- Restore contacts from SD
- Transition effects
GO Contacts EX also comes with GO Dialer EX which replaces the default dialer of Android. Not much is different between GO Dialer EX and the default dialer that I noticed, except the ability to change the theme of your dialer.
GO SMS Pro
Another application worth installing is GO SMS Pro, once again replacing the simple SMS system offered by Android. This app adds the following features:
- Private Inbox (which is password protected)
- Password protect your SMS system
- GO Chat (optional plugin). Get the plugin here.
- Scheduled Messages
- Auto-reply messages
- Facebook chat (optional plugin). Get the plugin here.
- Filter box
- Lock a message
- Traditional SMS folders (Inbox, Outbox, Sent, Drafts, MMS, etc.)
- New Message pop-up
- More smileys
- More emoji – which is compatible with iPhone emoji sets. Get the plugin here.
- Individual settings (ie per contact settings)
- Group messaging
- Backup and Restore messages
- Backup and Restore settings
- Handwriting & Doodle
- and many more…
Last but not the least, GO Keyboard to serve as a better replacement for the keyboard that comes with all Android phones.
I have tried different keyboard apps and I can say that in the free-of-charge selection, GO Keyboard is the best option. Not only does it offer themes, not only does it offer different keyboard layouts. But it also offers the following that adds life to texting.
- More smileys
- More emoji (which are compatible with iPhone users). Get the plugin here.
- More selection of predictive languages
- Easy typing
- Fast and lightweight
- Swipe typing
- Fantasy Text. Get the plugin here.
- Multi-language predictive mode
- Predictive language lens
As an extra bonus, if you are using a compatible phone you should also download and install GO Locker. It is (again) a better replacement to the default that comes with Android.
Unfortunately as of the time of this writing, I can not give a review of this app because it is not compatible with Samsung Galaxy Y GT-S5360. If ever it will be compatible in the future or I get a compatible unit, I will update this and add my review.
I found a way to install GO Locker outside of the official Android market, by downloading the apk installer file elsewhere (I’ll show you where later). With that, my GO experience is now complete.
GO Locker is a screenlock application that replaces the default “blue screenlock” that comes with Android. It is fast and smooth, not like the other screenlock app that I’ve tried. It has the usual screenlock features with additions and enhancements. The features are:
- Unlock styles: “Slide to Unlock” (horizontal and vertical) and “Four-Key Unlock”
- Wallpaper selection: Theme default, Launcher, Custom, GO Locker background
- Security Lock
- Lock “Home” Key – useful for devices which can be unlocked by simply pressing the “Home” key. With this feature, the said key will always return back to GO Locker. Example models are: Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy Y, Samsung Galaxy Y Duos
- Emergency Unlock
- Enable Volume changing while locked
- Showing (or not) of Date, Time, and alarm
- Lock/Unlock sound and vibrate
- Numerous themes available online
Since this is marked as incompatible with Samsung Galaxy Y, you can get the apk installer file here. Copy it to your SDcard, run it, then install. Repeat if there are software updates.
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