Some of us at Ausdroid have been playing with Aviate beta for Android for the last week or so, and while it’s still a work in progress, it’s certainly a very enjoyable work in progress. In fact, so much so that it has become my default home screen for the time being.
Some of the things that make Aviate great are its simplicity — contextual app lists are the number one feature for me, as well as the ability to drill down into your apps rather than just presenting a flat list. It’s a simple thing, but it works well.
What if you wanted something like this on your lockscreen as well? It’s only logical.
It seems the wait might not be much longer for this. Cover, an app that’s sprung from the loins of former Google, Facebook and Yahoo engineers, replaces the default Android lockscreen with a context-sensitive screen displaying shortcuts to apps you might want most in each scenario. For example, at work you might like Gmail, Calendar and other work type apps. At home, you might want entertainment options, and in the car, quick shortcuts to maps, navigation and maybe a phone dialer to call people (safely, of course).
Plenty of replacement lockscreens offer custom shortcuts, and this really isn’t anything new. What is new is the changing of these shortcuts, automatically and intelligently, depending on the time of day.
The Verge reports that for a first release, the app is quick and responsive, doesn’t use a whole lot of resources, even with its fast app-switching features. The location identification also works well and quickly. All this for an app built from scratch in seven months.
There are a few downsides of course — the app is best suited to right handed users, and as yet, you’re reliant on the smart features of Cover to work out which apps are best; there’s not presently a way to pin certain apps to the home screen just yet. These are things likely to be fixed in short order, though.
Apps that work with contextual data, like Aviate and Cover, offer the next level of interaction and customisation for Android, and we’re certainly excited to see what comes next.