The Samsung Galaxy S II is certainly the hottest device in town right now. Go to any outlet anywhere and it’s moving very fast. Evidently, the Malaysian market has gotten more advance in using such devices and know a great device when they see one.
Anyway, enough said that this baby competes extremely well head on against the Apple iPhone 4. From what is publicly suspected, Apple delayed their launch of new models in June because of this Samsung Galaxy S II and other dual-core devices.
Here are a few ways to make your Galaxy S II more exciting.
The Launcher Pro standard screen with a row of 15 icons for the dock
1. Launcher Pro
Samsung provides a Home Screen replacement for the Gingerbread standard called TwLauncher. It is a very decent app, clean and stable and improves a little over the standard Home Screen.
However, if you check out the Launcher Pro, you will immediately find significant improvements over the TwLauncher. It comes with widgets, animated screen changes, fancy cube app launcher screen, a scrollable 15 app dock are amongst the nice eye candies with the Launcher Pro.
The cube animation for scrolling the Home Screens
These make the Galaxy S II a really neat piece of work. You can switch between LauncherPro and TwLauncher easily by pressing the Home button and selecting which Home Screen App you want. Alternatively, download Home Switcher from the Market. It will bring up a selection of Home Screens for your selection.
The cube animation for App launcher
2. Ultimate Faves Pro
This complements Launcher Pro very nicely. The folders in Launcher Pro are not exciting at all. It is standard Windows folder view. Boring ho hum!
Now with Ultimate Faves Pro, we have an animated carousel of apps you can group and display to launch instead of the boring folders. It is really cool to pop up this app and scroll round at the middle of the screen. You can set up multiple carousels to group the apps and scroll up and down the carousels by a up and down swipe on the screen. Really neat!
It also comes with some standard carousels for immediate use like System Controls, Recent Tasks, Running Tasks as well as Running Processes. I find System Controls and Running Processes quite useful.
Exciting Ultimate Faves Pro Carousel of apps
If you don’t know by now, it is impossible to install a screenshot app in an Android device unless you have the device “rooted“. This is similar to the iPhone “jailbreak“. If you root your Galaxy S II, your warranty will be voided.
Now, the best kept secret is that Samsung has built this in for the Galaxy S II. Once you are ready to do a screenshot, press the Home Button and Power Button simultaneously. I find that if I press the Home Button and very quickly press the Power Button and hold them for a second, the device will return a message stating that the screenshot is taken. That picture will be kept in a folder called ScreenCapture.
All the screenshots shown here are taken using the standard Samsung Galaxy S II function.
4. Vibration Notifier
By now you will have realised that the Galaxy S II does not have any LED lights to notify any events when the screen is off. There is a method to use the Menu and Return key white backlight to light up for notification but that will require the device to be rooted and the kernel modified. What this means is that you don’t want to do it!
Go to the Android Market and download Vibration Notifier which will allow you to have vibration and/or beep notification even when the screen is off. However, you must not have the phone in SILENT mode else nothing will happen. SILENT means no beep and no vibration. The device must be audible or vibration set on. For notification of missed calls or SMS received, you can configure Vibration Notifier to notify once every minute for X number of times. The length of the vibration can also be set.
At least now there is a way to be notified of events when the screen is off and locked.
5. Extended Controls
Apart from the controls that are standard in the pull down screen, this neat app called Extended Controls from the Market allows you to place a bunch of system controls on the Home Screen.
Now, you can have turn on your LED flash as your torchlight, lock your screen, turn on vibration, silent mode, rotate screen, flight mode control, etc. all customizable on your home screen.
I have managed to set up to 7 controls per panel of 1×4 on the Home Screen and multiple panels too.
6. Advanced Task Killer
One of the biggest silent battery drainer is a bunch of processes that keep appearing in the memory even when you don’t want them to be there. Unknowing to you, many apps that you happen to install but not actively using are active in memory and possibly use your data network too. It is important to kill these processes but there are those that are persistent who can wake itself up again after being killed.
Here comes the Advanced Task Killer who will wake up every now and then and kill off those apps you choose for it to kill so that they no longer drain your battery or use your network charges unknowingly. This app is available from the Market and there are a few good ones to choose from.
With these apps, your Galaxy S II can be even more fun. Of course there are more like Juice Defender Pro. I have my set of favorites but suffice to share with you this set of fine apps that you must consider to spruce your Galaxy S II.
Is there any downside to installing these apps? No! And will it will give you many good moments to show that you have a better device than an Apple iPhone 4.
Of course, leadership is not static. Apple won’t take this down lightly and by the end of September, Apple is likely to announce the iPhone5 or the likes using dual-core too.
Meanwhile, the weight of the Galaxy S II is fantastic and it is definitely THE leader in its class of Android devices, if not ahead of the iPhone4.