The home screen theme your Android phone or tablet ships with is usually not the prettiest to look at. While it may be functional, it is often not as customizable as you may want it to be. Adding a new wallpaper or replacing a couple of apps shortcuts or widgets is usually all you can do here, if at all.
If you want more control over the home screen, you may want to take a look at Buzz Launcher. It is a free application for Android 4.0.3 and up devices that reminds me a lot of the PC desktop application Rainmeter.
What this means is that you can use stock themes or designs for the home screen that the developer's have created, or install user creations instead. This is in fact the greatest strength of the program as you can browse and install hundreds of user created themes for your Android home screen from within the application.
The application walks you through a tutorial of sorts that explains its key concepts. The first thing that you will notice is that you may have to install additional applications or widgets. This is usually indicated with a download icon displayed directly on a widget or application on the home screen.
Just tap on it and you are either taken to Google Play where you can download it, can add it right away if it is already installed on the device, or replace it instead with an installed widget or app. The latter option may be useful if you prefer to use a different widget or if the suggested widget is only available if you pay for it.
A long tap on any element on the screen opens a configuration menu. You can use it to edit the icon or widget directly on the screen, for instance to replace it, change its label or move it around on the screen. You can also tap on free parts of the screen to add widgets, shortcuts or apps to it.
To install a different design, tap on the menu button and select Homepack Buzz from the menu. You are taken to a theme browser of sorts that you can browse by editorial picks, hot, new or categories.
To install a new theme simply tap on it here and select the download option on the theme's profile page. Here you can then select to apply it to the home screen, which makes the new theme the default one, or add it instead to it.
Buzz Launcher displays previews to you once the theme has been downloaded so that you know how it will look like. A tap on confirm finalizes the process and installs the theme on your system.
As you can see on the screenshot above, several download icons are displayed indicating that apps or widgets need to be downloaded or placed here.
You can alternatively replace or remove them easily with a long tap on the icon on the screen.
Some home screens use multiple pages that you can swipe between easily, for instance to display a calendar or updates from a connected social network.
The sheer number of themes available, according to the developer's more than 21,000, may be reason enough to give this one a try. The entire process of downloading and installing a new theme does not take longer than a couple of seconds usually. While you may have to install additional widgets and apps from Google Play, this too should not take too long and only needs to be done once as the widgets and apps are shared across all themes you install.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.