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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

OSkin Is A Brilliant Platform For Saving & Sharing Your Android Home Screen Setup

The world of Android is full of customization options and we have seen some brilliant launcher apps for home screen replacement on the platform, including the recently reviewed Aviate that totally amazed us. Though once you have customized your phone’s home screen to your liking with the launcher, wallpaper and widgets of your choice, there’s no easy way of saving that complete setup for quickly and easily getting it back later, or sharing it with others. Created by the dev behind OBackup, OSkin is a rather ambitious project that aims to change all that, though it’s currently in beta and you’ll need to have a Google+ profile in order to take it on a spin. So let’s find out more about this interesting app after the break...
The application is currently in beta and in order to install it, you’ll have to join this Google+ community, then visit this link to sign up as a beta tester, and finally head over to the app’s Play Store link (provided at the end of this post) and install it from there. Upon first launch, it will ask you for root access. Simply grant it the appropriate permissions and you’ll land on its home page.
OSkin Home OSkin Copy Home 1

Here, you will be shown a list of all your currently installed home screen launchers, along with ‘Android System’. You can choose any of the entries in order to copy or share that setup. After selecting your desired launcher, you’ll be shown a list of apps that were detected by OSkin to be in use in your home screen setup. These will primarily include widgets, but some other apps may also be included. If you are using other apps as your setup as well (such as a particular theme, or some wallpapers app), you can add it by tapping the ‘Add more app’ button and selecting it from the list of all your installed apps that appears next.
OSkin Copy Home 2 OSkin Copy Home 3
Upon proceeding, you will be asked if you want to share your skin on Google+, or only save a local copy. If you go for the sharing option, you will be required to sign in with Google+ and grant the app access to share the skin on the social network. Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll also be asked to provide some details about the skin, along with a screenshot if you want.
OSkin Copy Home 4 OSkin Copy Home 5
The skin is then saved and/or shared on Google+ according to your preferences. You are also asked to sign in to Google Drive in the process to save the skin on the cloud.
So now that you have created and shared a skin, how about applying a saved skin after you have, let’s say, made changes to your home screen setup by installing a different launcher and customization apps? Just tap the menu in the top bar from the home screen of the app where Copy is selected by default, and select ‘Install’. Note that you can also access the app’s preferences from here, or explore the skins created by other users (which opens a Google+ hashtag search for #OSkin in the browser).
OSkin Menu OSkin Settings
In the Install section, you’ll be able to see your saved skins. Simply select one and you’ll be shown its details, along with an Install button. Tapping Install will then show you a list of the apps that are a part of the skin, and you can choose to reconfigure any of them if you don’t want it to overwrite your currently saved settings in case you already have the same app installed with different settings.
OSkin Install Home 1 OSkin Install Home 2
Simply follow the directions and your device will reboot, with the skin applied when Android boots. It’s that simple.
For a beta product, OSkin is pretty great, and though the developers should consider integrating the Explore section right into the app for easy discovery and installation of skins created by others. You can follow the app’s development progress, submit bug reports and feature requests, and seek help with any issues at its XDA thread linked below.

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