Though Android’s open source nature lets you customize almost everything, you may get bored of the UI because basically, there is a lot common between various apps. But you may love the Windows UI on your friend’s Lumia or any other Windows phone. As I already said, you can customize android in almost any way, you can also make it look like a Windows phone. Though the performance part depends on how geeky you are to handle the phone and its memory, you can still make your Android look like Windows phone (at least).
After I used the Lumia, I really wanted to have the same UI on my phone. A quick search returned some amazing apps that let you make bring the Windows UI home. These are user apps which can be installed on your phone without having to root it. The following three apps change your device’ launcher, messaging app, contacts and phone dialer to that of Windows style and trust me, you can make anyone believe that you have a Windows phone.
Launcher 8 is a Windows style launcher. It looks absolutely like the home screen you get in Windows Phone 8. The settings of the app also let you add Android widgets to the home screen. If you don’t really want the Android-Windows mixture, you can go ahead and carry your widgets anywhere you go with Widget Shade. Apart from this the tiles of Launcher 8 also let you display contact pictures on the contact tile just the way you find them on the Windows Phone OS.
One of the best features of Launcher 8 is the transparent lock screen with notifications on it. See it in the screenshot below:
Messaging 7 is a Windows-like messaging app for Android. Again, it imitates Windows phone’s messaging app completely. Here’s what the app features:
- WP7 like messaging popups.(Unobtrusive Popups)
- Basic Features like send/reply/delete/copy message.
- Customize Bubble color with a color Picker.
- Choose dark/light theme.
- Offline Message sending, When no network coverage message will be queued and sent when coverage is available.
- MMS support Only Picture messaging is support for now.
- Option to disable other messaging app notifications.
- Support for Diacritic letter.
- Delivery Notification.
Though the app works great, you will not be able to use a physical keyboard with this app (in case your device has USB OTG support).
Z Player is a Windows Phone 7 / Zune themed media player. It is a paid app, I couldn’t find a free app that gives you a perfect Windows feel just like how Z player does. The cost of the app is however pretty high considering the features it has to offer. Obviously, I did try this one but didn’t use it for more than a week.
Some of its cool features, including artist background images and panoramas, selectable background images. The artistic images are displayed in the background in full screen which makes the player look than any other music player in the Play Store.
One of the best features of Windows Phone that I like is the display of contacts. You can select the first alphabet of the contact you would like to search for using the alphabet chart that is displayed on the screen. Also, the dialer looks pretty decent and neat. WP7Contact Lite does exactly that.
After installing WP7 Contact Lite, I did start using it as the default contacts and dialer app ditching Sony’s dialer. The only thing I would expect in WP7 Contact Lite is the integration of dialer with call log which saves time in sliding your finger to find the recently called contact.
Windows Phone Notifications
Notifications on Windows Phone aren’t preferable over Android considering the fact that they don’t display multiple notifications from a single app much better than how Android’s systemui.apk does. If you are using Messaging 7, you will get Windows phone style notifications for your SMS/MMS. For others, you have Windows Phone Notifications – the features of which are self-explanatory.
There is no app on the Play Store that gives you a Windows Phone style keyboard by default. However, A.I.type Keyboard does offer a Windows Phone theme for its keyboard. Though the keyboard’s word prediction don’t come up to the levels of SwiftKey and Swype, you can use it if you don’t text much using your phone. The app has both free and paid versions.
Well, it doesn’t matter how much you love the Windows UI, I’m pretty sure you’d like to return to Android soon. Home is better than a hotel and that’s what I felt after using the apps listed above. The performance of these apps is not better than what you get in the stock firmware. But it is good for a switch. What do you think, folks?