first_imgThere are many apps out there that can offer you options for how things look and feel on your Android device. The most common of these are the homescreen replacements. These were incredibly popular in the early days of Android, since they offered functionality that was not available in the stock configuration. Version by version, the stock Android experience grew to a point where power users no longer felt the need to use anything but stock Android. There is something to be said, however, for having an experience on your tablet that is purposefully different than the one on your phone. With that in mind the team at Teknision have started provide a consumption-based experience for tablets that they have dubbed Chameleon Launcher.Chameleon is a unique approach to the Android homescreen and launcher. Rather than base their work on what has been provided by Android, Chameleon is based almost entirely in HTML5. The hope with this design is that a broader base of developers would be interested in building widgets for the platform, and thus deliver a fast and stable experience across every device.As a result of the HTML5 environment, none of the native Android widgets that are available in the Google Play Store will work with this launcher. Instead, the system is divided into a single page grid that allows you to place Chameleon widgets wherever you like. Currently there are less than 10 widgets for the platform, with some examples being Twitter, Instagram, an RSS feeder, and other similar tools. The common thread is that these widgets are all designed to present you with information that you can see at a glance.The interesting thing about the Chameleon launcher is how the pages themselves work. You can have as many homepages as you like, and you can assemble them based on what information you find relevant. When I first wake up in the morning, I like to see email, weather, and RSS. To accomplish this all I do is create a page, set it up with the widgets I want, and setup the page to be the first thing I see at 7AM. No matter what I was doing or what page I was on before I went to sleep, when I wake up I will see this Chameleon page. You can assign a context to any page, including locations or events, and the pages will change to give you the information you have told it you want to see.Curiously, the Teknision team didn’t just build the app and release it to the Google Play Store. Like several others, I first discovered Chameleon through Kickstarter. The project gained enough support to continue forward, and now those who paid the $10 for beta access are gaining access to the new Launcher.When I spoke with Gabor Vida of Teknision, we talked a little about why the company had gone with Kickstarter. Teknision is a developer firm that specializes in work for other brands, they’ve never released anything that they made for themselves. There were people at Teknision who were interested in Chameleon, but without a way to confirm that there were users interested in the service there was no way for the firm to determine how much energy to dedicate to the app. So, rather than stick their necks out and risk it being unsuccessful, a Kickstarter project was created that earned over $66,000.As a $10 beta app, I found Chameleon to be somewhat lacking. Aside from some glaring performance issues, which I have been assured would be polished out before the app was upgraded from beta, the lack of either native widgets or a collection of their own widgets makes the launcher difficult to rely on. At this point, a lot of people have paid considerably more than you would for most other homescreen replacements for the promise that developers will come and this launcher will improve.last_img

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