When Android meets SciFi!

Posted: 2014/02/27 in Computers and technology, Geekyness
Tags: , , , ,

I’m a geek, you’re a geek, we’re all geeks.

And geeks like their SciFi.

And they like debates. Such as Star Wars VS Star Trek or Picard VS Kirk.

Those are all valid questions, but very pointless. Trekkers, Trekkies and non-Trek fans alike can agree on one thing, the computers in Star Trek are cool.  The computers in Star Trek The Next Generation (and forward) uses an interface labelled LCARS (for Library Computer Access/Retrieval System.LCARS was designed by Michael Okuda with strict instructions from Gene Roddenberry to keep it simple, uncluttered, and have little activity as to not steal the show from the televisual storytelling.

On a cellphone perspective, particularly the ones with modern super amoled screens such as Samsung’s Galaxy SIII and S4, having mainly black coloration is great as it is cleaner, and actually save power (as per amoled power consumption requirements for black and white pixels.)

Android LCARS lock screen

But, how does one make the phone look sleeky SciFi without rendering it a useless gadget? It is rather simple (and free) but need some tweaking. There is no point in removing cool Android features to mimic SciFi behaviour; the touchscreen devices of today are actually more complete than the show’s touch panels. Swiping is a concept unknown to Okuda but well-known to modern mobile devices. There’s also app icons, widgets, multiple screens and all. No need to remove them to have a clean, efficient look that actually saves on batteries (for super amoled) but carefully choosing what to display can be pleasing.

First of, one might want to install iFont and install Helvetica. It is the simple-looking font used in the interface. Changing the lockscreen and home screen is easy ennough, you need images. Here’s some you might use for the lock screen – it fits perfectly on a Galaxy SIII.

SIII lock screen

SIII lock screen – click to open

The home screen needs something a bit bigger, as Android stock home screen uses several parallel panels. Here’s a bigger image with just a simple LCARS-looking bar that one can adjust at will.

home screen - click to open

home screen – click to open

When properly placed, the bar can be right where the home screen puts the home screen selection dots:

Example of what the home screen can look like

Example of what the home screen can look like

On that screen, there are also two interesting widgets one might want to add. One is named Go Trek Widget Clock and simply writes date and time in Star Trek TOS fonts. The other is Star Trek Cookies and writes a quotes – for those who likes that.

Then there’s the Go Locker Star Trek LCARS D lockscreen, but it requires Go Locker to be installed. On the Galaxy SIII without fancy configuration and with the lock screen configured to have lock pattern, it adds a second lock screen that isn’t actually locked, but interfaces between the lock and home screens, plus permits to go directly to text messaging, phone, camera or home from it. Its actually interesting to keep the device there when charging.

Supplemental layer that permits to choose between home, phone, SMS or Camera on the way back from locked screen

Supplemental layer that permits to choose between home, phone, SMS or Camera on the way back from locked screen

There’s also a lot of fancy sounds that can be chosen from, taken from various soundboards. LCARS really makes for a minimalistic interface, sounds included. There are various chirps and twirps that can be used for notifications or alarms.

In addition to the interface itself, two other apps that merits mention are the Star Trek Todo Agenda and the Trek Episode Guide. Both because of how they complete the LCARS interface, but the Agenda because it is useful, includes calculator, agenda and notes all together, and even puts a widget on your screen.

All in all, if one wants to put a specific look on his Android, there are options.

 

Are there other cool apps or widgets that are must-have for a SciFi look? Please comment.

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