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Home Screen

Getting a user to download the android application you developed from google's android market place is only the first step.
After the app has been installed, you will want to entice the user to return into your app frequently.
To achieve this is it advantageous to provide as many different ways of entering the app as possible.
Here are some of my favorite ways. If you know of any others, please send me an email.

Widgets

Widgets are like miniature apps which can be installed on the homescreen.
The user can not perform any input as only these views can be used:
  • AnalogClock
  • Button
  • Chronometer
  • ImageButton
  • ImageView
  • ProgressBar
  • TextView
When the user places a widget, an activity can be started where configuration can be performed.
Clicking on certain parts of the widget can change information displayed or start an activity in your app.

Android 3.0 includes a lot of new functionality to make it a lot easier to develop interactive widgets.

More Info:

Live Folder


AstroClock list of upcoming alerts 

Live Folders


Live Folders can show data from a content provider in a (2-line) list or in a grid. Both can have an icon.
Clicking on an item starts an activity in your app to handle the data.
This feature seems to have been removed by most ics homescreens due to lack of security.
The content provider could still be offered by apps who want to share open information with others.
Live Folders have been discontinued since Honeycomb however they are still available through LiveFolder Shortcut

Shortcuts

Shortcuts can be selected from an activity by the user and placed on the homescreen.
You can have the shortcut start any intent in your app.
Create an activity in your manifest and add the android.intent.action.CREATE_SHORTCUT action to the intent filter.
In the activity, the user should select some activity for which an intent is created. Then pass that intent as the second parameter of setResult. The first parameter should be Activity.RESULT_OK. call finish() to close the activity.

    Install shortcut

It is also possible to install a shortcut on the screen from your apps code (for example offer to place a shortcut to start the app on the homescreen when the app starts the first time). This requires the com.android.launcher.permission.INSTALL_SHORTCUT permission.

Quick Search Box

By exposing your app's data through the Quick Search Box a user can easily find data in your app. Clicking a search result shows the data in the relevant activity of your app. Users often need to be reminded to enable the search provider in system settings.
Google Android Resources

Notifications

Although technically unrelated to the home screen, it is also possible to remind users of your app by launching a notification of something that has happened or is now available in your app. Clicking the notification brings the user into your app.

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