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Android App Review: Zeam

One of the interesting features that Google lifted from Windows Mobile is the ability to replace the default Android launcher with something original. Obviously something that OEMs have taken too because to date we have specific launchers from HTC, Dell, Samsung, LG and Sony-Ericsson.

It's not just an option for the manufacturers though, there are quite a few replacement launchers in the market, one of those being Zeam which is currently in beta and is free - for the moment at least.

Zeam isn't a huge departure from the standard Android launcher, implementing a few key usability changes which make it immeasurably more usable than the default option.

First change is the ability to pin applications to the launch bar, rather than the standard link for opening the app drawer. This works well and I find that keeping the dialer application here improves the X10 I'm using greatly. The app draw itself has a selection of animations when opening and closing and this is one of a number customisations possible, including setting the number of home screens, choosing which is the default and having the app drawer open to the place you last opened it.

The standard Android widgets all seem to work without problems and for an application in beta reliability is impressive.

The final trick up Zeam's sleeve is rotation of the home screen in line with the devices orientation, a useful trick which makes the system usable in landscape mode, where other launchers require that you return to portrait mode.

One other benefit I'm seeing, on the Xperia at least, is an improvement in battery life when compared to the default launcher. A valuable benefit on Snapdragon devices where battery life is definitely at a premium.

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