Truthfully, when Derek Rawlings first mentioned Cover, a beta app designed to allow quick access to apps, I was skeptical about its usefulness. I really doubted the app would have any universal appeal beyond a small segment of Android users, if anyone. However, I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t heard about one of the best apps for your Android device.
Cover is a lock screen replacement — although it doesn’t really replace the lock screen — that learns the apps you use most in particular places, and places them on your lock screen for quick access.
Getting the app setup is really easy and basically involves clicking a couple of buttons and watching a semi-lame “how to” introduction display. Finish that, and the app pretty well finishes the setup.
The app and some cool features
The basic premise of Cover is its ability to learn which apps you really want to see, and moves them to the easiest place to find them. Thus, if you slide the app to the right, you can access your information directly.
And the more you use an app, the more likely Cover is to recognize its importance in your life. Plus, as you can see in the picture above, numbers appear by the icons to indicate new messages. This feature speeds up productivity when trying to quickly gather information. The slide open feature also gives you a sneak peek at the new stuff, saving time from having to fully open the app if you don’t want to.
One of my main concerns was that Cover would absolutely replace my device’s lock screen security. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. If you have lock screen security enabled (password, pin, or pattern), then Cover will open directly to the unlock screen to let you to enter your code.
Cover also features a nice little “quick access” bar on your home page, which will also display your most used applications.
This is a nice feature, but I found it somewhat difficult to access since you press somewhere between the Google search bar, the notification bar, and the rest of the page. I’m still not quite sure how to achieve quick access without pulling down the notifications, sliding to another homepage, or accessing Google Now. (Can someone tell me whether it’s turn counter-clockwise while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, with your finger on your nose, or jumping in a circle while repeating the Russian alphabet?)
Similarly, sometimes on the cover main page, the slide to unlock command didn’t function as flawlessly all the time. This miscue caused me to swipe several times just to try to open the page.
Cover gives you four app contexts: home, work, car, and out. Cover will send your favorite apps based on your location (and probably some other stuff).
You can also change and customize the wallpaper for any of the places.
Contextual awareness also gives you control over other settings like ring volume and vibration.
Overall, I really like this app. I’m finding the app awareness is good, though I use a lot of the same apps in all of my places. I wish you could “pin” favorite apps across all contexts. Cover does let you hide certain apps — for me its Adsense, Analytics, and other settings — you’ll use a lot, but don’t necessarily want to see on the main screen.
Cover is certainly one of the more remarkable apps in the contextual awareness category. I love these apps that actually enhance the user experience and make Android devices more powerful. I think a lot of lawyers will love Cover for its enhancements to the Android ecosystem. I give Cover 4 of 5 stars.