Upgrade Android icons to display unread count

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

Taylor Wimberly Network blogger
Taylor Wimberly became obsessed with cell phones working as a Sprint reseller as a teenager. When he's not writing about the newest handsets on the market, you can find him on the beach working the BBQ pit. Taylor also blogs about the Android community with Android and Me. Taylor is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. E-mail Taylor.
Taylor Wimberly

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.