Android is unrivaled in customization. Forget ROMs and launchers, the lock screen alone can be customized with the likes of Cover and ported Galaxy S4 or Note 3 lock screens. In that vein, another lock screen utility might not seem ground breaking. However, the source makes a difference. After last year’s Snapdragon Battery Guru, Qualcomm’s Xiam have come out this year with Snapdragon Glance, a free, intelligent lock screen replacement for Snapdragon-powered devices that gives you instant access to notifications, essential info and the apps you use the most.
The official statement promises that with this app, “at a glance you can quickly see what is new since you last looked at your device: view important notifications, see when your next appointment is, check the weather, launch relevant apps and contact people more quickly.”
Glance requires that you have Snapdragon’s Battery Guru installed as it uses the app’s usage statistics to optimize your experience. Battery Guru is a great app itself. If you haven’t installed it yet, we’d recommend giving it a try. It takes just over three days to learn your usage behavior and configures itself accordingly.
When you launch the app, it takes you through a quick (and gorgeous) tutorial about how best to put it to use, after which it displays the setup screen. Glance appears every time you press the power button to wake the screen and can be exited simply by hitting the Home or Back key. If you have ever used Symbian Touch series 60 (like the Nokia N8), you will immediately recognize the layout of the Glance lock screen. The notifications are in plain view right in the middle of the screen. Any SMS, emails, calendar events or social media alerts will appear here.
On top of these, Glance displays the time, your alarms and adequate weather information, all before you even unlock your screen. It feels natural to have the most important updates a tap away; it certainly saves us the trouble of going through multiple apps. If you wish to dismiss notifications, simply swipe across them individually or tap the ‘X’ above to clear all at once.
Having learned your usage patterns from Battery Guru, Glance will know the apps you use and the contacts you interact with the most at a certain time of day, and will automatically display their shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. These are not set in stone though; you can add your own shortcuts to this area.
Swiping upwards on the shortcuts bar reveals an additional ‘favorites’ area for custom app and contact-specific call/message shortcuts. You can also hold down on an app suggestion by the app and exclude it from future suggestions or add it to the favorites area.
If you’re worried about security, don’t be. By default, Glance bypasses the lock screen and its passcode, but you can turn this feature off from its settings screen. Once that is done, Glance will exit to the default lock screen instead of the home screen.
Since it is still in beta stages, there are a few creases to iron out, one such being that sometimes, the default lock screen appears ahead of Glance when the screen is powered on. Mostly, it takes a second for Glance to take the default lock screen’s place in such cases.
Even in its beta stages, Snapdragon Glance is off to a great start, the only limitation being that it is designed specifically for Qualcomm devices. Once it is at its best, we imagine it will be a very elegant solution. I am looking forward to it.