Apr 19 AT 4:11 PM Guest Blogger 5 Comments

FolderOrganizer: Spring cleaning for that cluttered home screen

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FolderOrganizer (formerly abcOrganizer) is a nice simple tool that allows you to you group apps, bookmarks and contacts together in folders, offering quick access to them from a home screen shortcut. This is handy for grouping by task, e.g. a single place for work related apps, contacts and bookmarks.

The interface is simple enough to understand, but a little bit of exploring turns up some nice features. At launch, FolderOrganizer pulls in your installed apps, bookmarks and contacts. There’s a default set of labels or add can your own. Long pressing on a label lets you batch add items or go to one of the other tabs and assign labels to items individually.

Once you have labeled some items you can add a label shortcut on your home screen. This shortcut will bring up a folder containing all the items grouped under that label. How the folders display is also quite flexible as you can change the layouts, the sort order, or filter by items that you have starred.

Last month the ability to label items to appear in the notifications bar was added and in my opinion doubled the value of the app. Twitter, Buzz, Email, etc., all by pulling down the notification bar, without even needing to return to the home screen.

FolderOrganizer Lite is available free with a small, unintrusive request to purchase the full version. The full version will set you back €0.99 (US$1.35) and offers some enhancements such as stacking folders within folders to create a hierarchical menu structure (not something I use yet) and the ability to organize from the shortcut folder (surprisingly handy for small tweaks).

PROs

  • Quick launch of apps which you can freely organize.
  • Mixing apps, contacts and bookmark shortcuts together.
  • Customize label or item name.
  • Customize label or item icons with stock icons or icon packs from the Market.
  • Starring of favorite apps/bookmarks/contacts.
  • Add apps, bookmarks and contacts to the notification bar.
  • Uninstall or launch apps from within FolderOrganizer.
  • Export and Import your settings (useful for all you ROM junkies).

Ideas for Improvements

  • Linking to more shortcuts such as settings, navigation destination, etc (anything that you can shortcut to from the home screen) would extend the possibilities.
    Note: The developer, Fabio Collini, let me know that he has just started work on this
  • As with any organizing project, getting started is a bit of a chore (you should see my shed). The ability to pull the categories from the Market might be handy starting point.
  • It’s simple but has great depth. I can’t shake the feeling that there are uses that I haven’t thought of yet. An online community forum to share hints and tips would be a bonus. Until then feel free to add comments here to share ideas.

Final Verdict

I found this app great for clearing up my home screen. While the apps I use regularly still need space on the central home screen, it’s the apps that would normally be 3 home screens over or buried in the app drawer that really benefit from the speed and flexibility of FolderOrganizer. If you’re limited to 3 home screens I would consider this application a must.

Version Tested: FolderOrganizer Full and Lite (version 1.6.5) reviewed on a HTC Magic running a Hero 2.1 ROM, but should work on all versions.

Note: This review was submitted by Tristan Rogers as part of our app review contest.

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