Josh's Galaxy Nexus

Seeing as how we've got this new rootin', tootin', fancypants series showing off how us Android Central staffers set up our phones, I figured I'd volunteer myself, write this little doodad, and step up to the plate. I don't move from phone-to-phone as often as my gadget lust would like (hey, I'm on a student's budget, ya know?), but no matter what device I've got, I tend to set them up the exact same way. Steel yourselves, and when you're ready to have your minds blown, join me after the break.


Josh's Galaxy Nexus

I'm a tinkerer by trade, and while I think Google totally nailed it with Ice Cream Sandwich, I've been spoiled far too long by custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. Even if bone dry stock is awesome, knowing there are options where I can tweak even the smallest settings, I'll have to give them a try. After asking the Google+ community (thanks, guys!), I settled not​ on CM9, but Team Kang's AOKP ROM (Milestone 4 version, if you're curious).

Josh's Galaxy Nexus

What made Team Kang's ROM so compelling, especially in a world awash with custom ROMs for the developer phone? Two words: ROM Control.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus Josh's Galaxy Nexus

Hop into the ROM Control menu and you're shown more options than you can shake a stick at. Want to mess with your UI? Done. Not digging the default lock screen? Mess with it. Looking for specific options to be on your power menu? You can do it.

When I first flashed Milestone 4, after getting my home screens set up, this was my next destination. I messed with my power menu options, signal text, and a whole host of other stuff.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus

And, because I'm a CyanogenMod veteran, I also changed the default settings options on the dropdown notification menu to get them more in line with what I'm used to. (I like me some quick access buttons.)

My home screens!

Josh's Galaxy Nexus Josh's Galaxy Nexus

Despite being an app reviewing, ROM flashing, phone buying, power user, I have to keep my screens simple. When your phone is inundated with apps waiting to be reviewed, the thought of adding any of them to a home screen doesn't seem appealing at all, so I take the utilitarian approach and add only what I absolutely need.

One swipe to the left, you've got my calendar widget, courtesy of Business Calendar. It's a simple, nearly-transparent widget that scrolls like a champ, lets me add events as needed, and shows all of my upcoming stuff across every calendar I've created. In trying to balance writing here and student teaching at school, getting everything documented and organized has been absolutely pivotal in making sure there's no conflicts and everything gets done.

To the right of the main home screen is my quick access people widget, powered by Android Pro Widgets. Sure, it doesn't quite fit in with the whole ICS aesthetic (although themes can somewhat alleviate ​that​ issue), but it's functional, so I use it.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus

All that's left to talk about is the main screen, nestled safely in the middle. (Yeah, I'm a three screen man.) Up top is a widget by Beautiful Widgets using the Vanilla ICS clock theme and Oriental Weather HD for the weather. I've been a big supporter of Beautiful Widgets ever since they broke on the Android scene, and for good reason. If I can have a widget that looks ​that good​ on my main screen at all times, well, there's just no reason for the time to be in my notification bar. (And it's not.)

Moving south, you'll notice I just have five sets of folders. Yeah, that's it. They're all broken up into nice little categories, though, and because they're my most-used apps, opening my app drawer is almost a thing of the past. (I still do it to scroll around and watch the neat animations, though.)

Josh's Galaxy Nexus Josh's Galaxy Nexus

The farthest left folder holds my travel apps, Tripit, Fly Delta, and FlightTrack. I might not be gallivanting around the country as often as my superiors here, but I'm in the air often enough that having these these apps is really a lifesaver.

Moving on over, I've got all my finance stuff. I use American Express,, ING Direct, and USAA. Between these four apps I can keep track of my bank account, credit card balance, savings accounts, and make sure I'm not going over on any budgets. Being in college and all, I'm especially aware of how I'm spending, and using this suite of apps, I can check at any time, anywhere.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus Josh's Galaxy Nexus

Third in line is my Google folder. The Play Store, Navigation, Play Music, Offers, Schemer, and Authenticator all reside in here. I need the store to buy stuff, I'm terrible with directions, and I've got my whole music library in the cloud.

I've scored some sweet deals through Offers, and while Schemer still kind of eludes me, but I think it's neat (and has a ballin' icon). The Authenticator adds an extra level of security to my Google account, and really, let's be honest here: if my account got seriously compromised, that person (or group) would have access to just about everything.

Social apps are up, and I use Google+, Path, Plume, Facebook Messenger, and Google Talk. Google+ is just the bee's knees (seriously, Circle me), Path lets me update to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously (I know, there's more than one way to skin a cat), Plume is absolutely back on top after their ICS update, Messenger is for all my less enlightened friends (see: most of them), and Talk is Talk.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus

Finally, there's my fitness folder. I'll be real with you: I'm not in the shape I'd like to be. I also firmly believe that at the intersection of technology and fitness is the answer of how I'll get to where I want to be. The question really becomes, if I can keep being a huge tech nerd and shed some pounds along the way, why wouldn't I?

So I picked up a FitBit Ultra (and their accompanying app), use Endomondo to track my runs and such, and try to stay motivated and on track with C25K Pro. It's a simple setup for now, but as I (hopefully) get more intense, so will the apps I use. (Also, RunKeeper is only there because it ties in with Zombies, Run!, and I'm counting down the days until it's released on Android.)

​My apps! (the other​ ones)

I know, I just listed a ton of apps. So to save your sanity, this'll be like a quick shot rundown of other apps I have and love.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus Josh's Galaxy Nexus

I spend far too much on Amazon, Chrome to Phone is insanely useful to send things like maps straight to ol' Mr. Nexy, Dropbox keeps my files in the cloud, Foursquare makes revealing my location easy when I feel like it (maybe too​ easy...), and Light Flow seems mandatory for anyone with a phone that supports more than three notification colors.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus Josh's Galaxy Nexus

Mobile Metronome has been essential in all of my music studies, while ROM Manager is one of the old guard of root-only apps. Alongside ROM Manager stands Root Explorer, another of the root-only bastion, and Slice keeps all the stuff being shipped to me organized, even if I do have to grant it access to my Gmail inbox. Tapatalk 2 keeps my forum addiction at bay, and Titanium Backup is another staple of the root-only bunch.

Josh's Galaxy Nexus

And the last page of apps is kind of like the table of smelly kids in the cafeteria, except for Vlingo, Google Voice, Google Wallet, and WeatherBug Elite. So it's really not like the smelly kids table at all. Go figure.

So that's my setup. My Galaxy Nexus is the only phone to my name right now, but you can rest assured, whenever I pick up a new phone, this is just about how it'll look. (I'm a creature of habit.) Keep your eyes peeled for more articles like this in the series, and don't be afraid to share yours with us as well!

All you need to do is saunter on over to the Android Central lounge, write one of these up, and show it off to the Android world. Recommend any awesome setups folks have by hitting the News Tip button, and we'll check it out. Let's create the most epic repository of Android setups ever, because after all, this is the best Android blog on the 'net.


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Nexus my way: Joshua Muñoz


Have you tried shrinking your nav buttons, in ROM control? I have mine set to the smallest. That gives me the most screen, while still having the buttons. I tried the no button approach,but missed the buttons.

I have, but I can't really go smaller than the second-largest option. When they're uber-tiny, it just looks too strange to me. Might be that whole 'creature of habit' thing again, but I almost enjoy them at a reasonable size.

Agreed. AOKP's builds come faster than just about everyone else's, and the battery has been amazing. I'm running imoseyen's leanKernel, OC'ed to 1350MHz, and so far today, 5.5 hours on battery, one hour with the screen on, and I've only used 20% of my stock (that's right, not extended) battery. Plus, they add some great features without totally ruining the AOSP experience. Great call!

I've had AOPK for a week and love it!! I have a problem tho. I'm using the Franco kernel with it and it's killing my battery....can someone give me a link to a better kernel for AOPK?

I had the same trouble with franco's kernel. Try Imoseyon's lean kernel. you can get it through Franco's app or head over to rootzwiki.

I'm enjoying this series the most of any recent ones on the site. It's interesting seeing what the 'Pros' are using & compare it to my own setup. I'm thinking I might post a writeup myself.

p.s. - I mean pros most respectfully :)

Yea, this is a cool series. unusual/interesting reader setups would be good when they run out of editors.

As a random FYI, Google Chrome, in all its tab-syncing glory, is about to make the Chrome to Phone app and extension extinct. Intermittent dev builds have had an icon in the omnibox (next to the star) whose stated purpose is to "Send this page to my phone" where it lists different mobile devices that have Chrome Beta installed. Further, there's also the option to make the page you send available for offline viewing.

Granted, when I tried it earlier this week, it didn't work, but the devs are working on this. (Note: it's not in the current Dev or Canary builds).

While this is true about Chrome, Chrome to Phone still has at least two features that are quite awesome: sending addresses to open immediately in Maps, and sending a phone number to the phone to open in the dialer. Those are the only two reasons I keep CtP installed.

See aokp 30 dropped when more awesomeness.I mean u can apps to the soft keys multi color them. I'm sorry but cm is like Google late to the party. Aokp has stepped up and given us some crazy goodness.

That's a really cool setup Josh, very inspiring
good luck with your studies

This series is really really good, its so good, I ended changing everything ... Already redesigned Launcher 7, Go Launcher, Launcher Pro, but since I'm using ADW as my default launcher I've not done anything to it ... yet

Nice recommendation on Mobile Metronome. I just installed it, tried it out, works great. I don't actually use a metronome very often, but this will be convenient to have. Now, do you have a recommendation for a tuner? I tried Da Tuner Lite, and can't get the darn thing to work. I play the horn, and I think it's having trouble with the instrument's overtones, or background noise, or something. It's difficult to get it to register the pitch that I'm playing.

Email the developer? I used to play horn, so I know how tight the overtones get. I also used to use another tuner, gStrings, that would let you set what frequency range it should listen for. Maybe try that?


I am the developer of DaTuner. If you can email me a .wav or .mp3 recording (recorded from your phone) of you playing a constant tone on your horn, I will try to tweak it to work for you. One of my next todos is allowing "advanced" tweaks of the algorithm, so decreasing the "ranking" of overtones may solve the problem - but I won't know until I test it... I have honestly never tested with a horn, as you can probably tell... :)

My email is

Cheers, Chris

Very Nice Josh. I also like the simple/useful approach to setting up my phone. Try upgrading to a 4.0.4 version of AOKP Rom. I'm on my 4th GNex, I finally have one w/o Data Connection issues. Winning!
Currently running Liquid ICS v1.25 4.0.4

One of my favorite options with AOKP (or just about any other custom rom) is the drop down notifications, specifically the one to toggle auto-rotate.

If you like the customization of aokp, I would suggest DroidTheory's ROM Axiom Crossbreed. Has aokp ROM control but other tweaks as well to add speed. Unreal battery life as so far and I've tried most roms.

I also only use 3 screens with only needed apps on them. Great setup. Another thing... I was also using AOKP(which is a great rom) until I installed BAMF which is a lot more sable and more responsive. Dont take my word for... give it a try

Really? I just installed AOKP Build 30 (had to wipe and everything), but AOKP has been nothing but incredibly stable in my experience. So is BAMF a kang of a kang?

I really didnt think it can get better then AOKP until i was bored one day and started reading through the BAMF forum. Now I just cant go back. I lost some of the options from AOKP like removing the battery icon, wait for sleep timeout to lock phone when the power button is hit, and facebook sync. They have a update coming this tuesday which corrects my issues accept for the facebook sync(which the call a dirty hack). But HIGHLY recommend at least giving it a try.

I'm not sure what you mean? I am rooted and running a custom ROM, but I don't think I showed the lock screen at all in this article.

Awesome series, and really cool setup. I'm trying to use the same Vanilla ICS skin from Beautiful widgets, but I'm getting the "skin corrupted" error. Any other way to get a clean version of it? And does this mean its corrupted for everyone downloading or just me? I've uninstalled/reinstalled, etc a few times and nothing.

If anyone has any info - thanks!

I got the same error, actually. It should still show up in your downloaded skins, and if you select it, it should work.

I have beautfiul widgets but don't seem to have a clock that size (4x1) that is clock only. How do I find it?

I still can't get past the whole "pink unicorn" thing. it's like a bad acid trip.....not that I know anything about that. lol
Would think the creative geniuses behind this rom could have come up with something a little better than a pink unicorn.
Aside from that....awesome set up Josh, looks great!