Cover, an Android lock-screen overhaul app, now available

The software, which places apps on an Android phone's lock screen based on what you use and where you are, is now on Google Play for the North American and European customers.

Cover shows different icons on an Android phone's unlock screen depending on where the software judges a person to be.
Cover shows different icons on an Android phone's unlock screen depending on where the software judges a person to be. Cover

Cover has released its app for retooling the Android lock screen into a useful, adaptable launch pad for apps.

Cover is available on Google Play in the US, Canada, and Europe, and the startup hopes to bring it to other countries soon. Those who can't get it through Google Play can sideload the Cover software.

Cover brings a number of features to Android phones: it picks commonly used apps on your lock screen, changing them according to your location and time of day based on your usage patterns for work, home, or in between. It lets you slide the app icons partway over for a quick peek at them or flick them all the way over to launch them. And it offers a new multitasking option: a long press on the right of Android's status bar will produce a drop-down list of your most commonly used items.

I've used Cover and find it useful -- though less so because I also use authentication on my lock screen, and that gums up Cover's fluidity. The company is working on improvements for that situation but isn't ready to release them yet.

Since the early test versions, the new app gets a quick tutorial when you launch it, better battery usage, compatibility with Android 4.4 KitKat and the experimental new ART app foundation it includes, and the ability to share your Cover configuration on social media. Oh and bug fixes.

The app is free. Cover hopes to make money eventually by promoting apps, drawing attention to apps that are installed but not used, and licensing the software to handset makers.

Cover founders, from left to right: Edward Ho, Todd Jackson, and Gordon Luk
Cover founders, from left to right: Edward Ho, Todd Jackson, and Gordon Luk Cover
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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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