Upgrade Android icons to display unread count

SMS Unread Count allows you to update several Android icons to display more information.

SMS Unread Count displays the number of unread messages on top of your icons. Taylor Wimberly

Android's open nature makes it easy to customize the look and feel of your phone with widgets, themes, and home screen replacements. Not surprisingly, many have chosen to make their Android phone look and operate like the wildly popular iPhone.

Yet, Android and the iPhone differ in the way they display unread application notifications. Android places new alerts in the systemwide notification bar while the iPhone places a notification directly over the specific app. Both systems work well, but some might prefer the iPhone's system.

SMS Unread Count is a free Android widget that attempts to emulate the iPhone method. Once installed, users can replace the default messaging and dialer icons with new notifications that display the unread number. Though it doesn't provide any real functional use, it is a nice visual cue.

Adding the new widget to your Android phone is easy after installation: Just long press on an empty space of the home screen to add a new object. Browse through the available widgets and select SMS Unread Count. During the initial setup, you can change the type, counter size, and toggle show zero count.

Only messaging and dialer icons are available in the current release of SMS Unread Count, but support should be expanded over time. The developer Kanok Gems has already released several updates that added new functions. In the future, I would like to see support for Gmail, Email, Market, and other default icons.

Featured Video

Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne