Open Home was one of the first launcher replacement apps that I saw in the Market that allowed a deep level of customization. You could add skins and custom icon packs, much like StarDock had done with WindowBlinds on Windows PCs.
To do much of anything one had to buy the app, which honestly cost more money that I was willing to spend at the time. Now, with version 6 of the app available and a pocketnow reader asking about Open Home, I had a reason to spend the money and give it a try.
As with the launchers I’ve previously reviewed, I wanted to jump in and use Open Home as my stock launcher for a week. During that week I’d be able to get to know the launcher, play with some themes, and dig into the advanced settings. At the end of the week I’d shoot a video and show off all the custom features and tell you what was so cool about it over the others.
At least that was the plan.
Let me start by saying Open Home is owed a great debt by everyone who uses a customer launcher. That’s where custom launchers and customization in generally really got started. Next, being able to apply “themes” which are really outside the traditional Android UI is really a cool idea, one that even current launchers have yet to capitalize upon.
That having been said, you’ll notice that there is no video in this iteration of Launcher Wars. From the beginning Open Home 6 had problems. The launcher comes pre-packaged with one of the most goofy and unprofessional themes I’ve seen in a very long time (which is saying a lot). That’s not a problem per se since it’s got some very nice looking themes available for it — but you have to buy the unlock code for the app (which runs around $4) before you can use any of the custom themes or icon packs. If the launcher shipped with a “stock-looking” theme that would be okay with me, but you’ll probably want to replace the “white-marshmallow”-like theme with something less “amateur”-looking.
Once you’ve realized that you can apply custom themes, have found, and installed a new theme, you’ll probably like it. I certainly did, until it started forgetting that it was my launcher.
After a variable amount of time when I would press the “home” button, rather than going to my home screen I’d be presented with a list of apps with which to “complete the action” — as if I had installed a new launcher app.
I continued this way for the better part of three days before I decided to end my evaluation early and shoot the video. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good take without a force close cropping up here or there, or being asked to “pick the action” again and again. After a few hours of trying I decided that a post (without a video) indicating that we’d evaluated the app, but couldn’t get it to work right (on two phones I might add), would be sufficient for Open Home’s entry in Launcher Wars.
Open Home has so much potential, and I look forward to evaluating Open Home 7 when it is released.