Transform your Android: these daring apps will turn your ordinary user interface into extraordinary

   
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The "ordinary" smartphone experience is already well-known to all of us. You have a few homescreens, littered with apps. If you want to start a call, you tap on the phone icon; if you want to text, you start up your favorite chat app; and if you want to follow your social media, you go through your regular apps. It works great – it's comfortable and we're all used to it. But some developers dare challenge even the norm, and come up with apps that, if nothing else, are at least interesting to take a look at.

So, “the beauty of Android” lies in the fact that you can grab the most bare-bones, stock Android device, and still fill it with more bells and whistles than the most bloated manufacturer-made UI out there (nodding at TouchWiz, MIUI, LG UI, and some others). It lies in the choice that is given to the user – from looks to function, everything can be tweaked. So, let's take a look at our favorite apps, which tend to expand or totally transform the way we work with our phones. And do let us know – did you end up keeping any of them?

1.Flow Home

z17

Price: free

 

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Flow Home is an Android launcher that looks much like a super-charged Flipboard bulletin, or HTC BlinkFeed. It eliminates the classic "grid of icons" and gives us a card-based feed that shows our actual notifications and latest news right on the home screen. The actual app drawer can be called out by just sliding to the left, but there's also a "favorite apps" button on the actual home screen, which will quickly show you your most used apps

2. Drupe

z18

Price: free

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 If you are one who finds themselves constantly texting with people in a mixture of different apps, you'll probably find Drupe to be a useful offering. The app gives you quick access to your favorite / recent contacts via a pull-out bar on the left side of your phone. Once you get that drawer out, another one opens at the right side of the screen, displaying your communication apps – phone, SMS, Facebook, Hangouts and whatever else you may have installed (WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, et cetera). All you need to do is tap on the portrait of the person you wish to contact and swipe it over to the app you want to use for that specific conversation. If not a much needed upgrade, Drupe is still a simple, elegant, and pretty fresh take on how we use our phones.

3.Rovers Floating Launcher

 

z19

Price: free

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Rover puts a chat bubble-esque floating menu on your Android device's screen, no matter what you are currently looking at. Tap the bubble, and it expands to a few (customizable) icons. The app still has its kinks – dragging is a bit laggy and we couldn't find a way to delete shortcuts that we've created, for example, but, according to the developer, work on the project is still ongoing, so we are expecting greater and greater things from Rovers.

4. Snowball - Smart Notifications

 

z20

Price: free

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Snowball is to notifications what Google's Inbox is to Gmail. It lets you mark "unimportant" notifications and even hide messages from apps that just plain annoy you. That way, your phone will beep much less and only annoy you when something important has to come through. Additionally, every notification is actionable, which means you can reply directly through it (if messenger app), or choose to open a number of apps relevant to the event right from the drop-down menu.

5. Texpand

z21

Price: free

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Texpand is an app, which lets you add short-worded shortcuts to full phrases. For example, you can punch in “omw” and have the app automatically type out “on my way”. It's very comfortable for often-used names or locations.

6. Native Clipboard

z15

Price: free

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For you document-wielding folk out there that often find themselves doing a lot of copying and pasting – Native Clipboard may be a bit of help. The app will automatically collect every piece of text that you highlight and “copy”. When in Clipboard, you can view all your collected “clips”. Tapping on one will automatically copy the text and have it ready for pasting in whatever document you need.

7. AwSMS

z16

Price: free

Android

A texting app to replace the stock one on your phone, AwSMS offers actionable heads-up notifications (can reply directly from the notification) for received texts and tons of customization. It also comes with Night Mode for those avid texters out there.

8. Solid Explorer

z22

Price: free (trial)

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Solid Explorer is a pretty powerful app, drawn in beautiful material design. It offers deep customization, for what it is, and aggregates all of your clouds in one place. From this app, you can have access to your phone's internal storage, SD card, your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, and MediaFire accounts. You can try it for free for 14 days, after which a paid unlock ($1.99) is required.

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