No major smartphone manufacturer has yet to create a solution for copying home screen setups from one device to another. It’s a feature we’ve been hoping to see in Android from Google’s own ingenuity for quite some time, but someone seems to have beaten them to the punch.
Samsung’s latest patent details a software solution that would allow a user to configure a home-screen and copy it to another remote device. The details in the patent are very specific about the process, but an abstract look at the thing reveals a few different possible scenarios:
- Upgrading from one Samsung phone to another? The software could ask you if you want all your same apps downloaded and the same home-screen to be setup upon logging in with your Google or Samsung account.
- Have a different phone in your possession and simply want the same setup? You could do that, too.
- Need more fine-tune control than a simple copy/paste job? You could set the home-screen up differently than what’s on your current device and push it over to the new device.
Even better is that such a feature is perfect for consumers and businesses alike. Consumers have an easier time moving their preferred home-screen from device to device, while businesses can set their employees up with the most optimal home-screen to help them perform their jobs easier. It’d be a nice edge for Samsung to command in a sector where they want badly to be top dog.
It’s important we take a step back and recognize that this has been done by independent developers to some degree. Many of the best home-screen replacement apps in Google Play — such as Nova launcher, Apex launcher and more — offer some form of home-screen backup / restore or cloud syncing to appease the crowd that might go through frequent changes (such as those who flash custom ROMs or just like to switch between different home-screen setups on the fly). We’re not sure what it would mean for the future of those apps now that Samsung owns a cold, hard patent.
Even more uncertain is how this might affect the possibility of Google implementing such a feature at the core of Android in the future. Samsung and Google have a wide-ranged patent licensing agreement that lasts 10 years, but it’s possible that this particular patent could be left out of the deal — all the better to give Samsung the competitive edge they need in today’s aggressive mobile battlegrounds.
All that aside, it’s just a really cool idea and we’d love to see how well Samsung could implement it should they look to add this as a standard feature of TouchWiz in one of their future Galaxy smartphones.