Android usability

Cover introduces Android lock screen customization

Cover, the product of ex-Facebook, Google, and Yahoo engineers, replaces your default Android lock screen with one that knows where you are and what time of day it is to provide you with quick shortcuts to the apps you use the most in each scenario. For instance, when you are at work, Cover might put Gmail, Calendar, and Dropbox icons right on your lock screen, while at home it might replace those with Netflix, YouTube, and Sonos apps. The system learns your behavior, and after a few days of use, it puts the most used apps at the top of its vertical list.

Cover is a good start. We’ve been testing it on a number of Android smartphones, and performance is impressive; scrolling is smooth, the app is quick and responsive, and it doesn’t use a whole lot of resources, even with its Peek and quick app-switching features.

The app was built from scratch in a mere seven months. Right now, the app is most useful for right-handed people — all of the gestures and layouts work best using your right thumb. It’s not possible to pin or customize the app shortcuts on the lock screen (that is a planned feature in Cover’s roadmap), and there’s plenty of empty space that can be used for things such as upcoming calendar appointments and message previews.

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