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Palm OS Launcherfest: Facer, LauncherX, MegaLauncher, SilverScreen, YiShow, and ZLauncher
Posted Jan. 2004 By Tanker Bob

(Continued: page 4)

SilverScreen 3.1.3 from PocketSensei

SilverScreen held large sway over the low resolution launcher market a few years back. Its flashy interface looked great in color back then. Time marched on, but little has changed in SilverScreen since that time. Its claim to fame continues to be colorful skins rather than functionality.

Like many of its brethren, SilverScreen doesn't read the system category assignments, nor can it import them later. All apps start out in All, and there are several ways to categorize them, including dragging-and-dropping to the tabs on a rotating tool bar.

SilverScreen's overall layout appears similar to MegaLauncher's. The time/date/day appears on the top left tab, the battery state next to that, with the category pull-down in the upper right and the Quicksilver (recent/favorite apps) icon in the upper right corner. The main display holds the app icons. The arrow at the upper right of the app icons changes the display to an application info list similar to the info display in MegaLauncher. The major difference is that ML lets you expand each entry separately while SilverScreen either expands all or none. No tap-and-hold functionality exists in the main display.

The bottom of the screen shows several tool bars of fixed function called Popup Sheets. One centers on file functions (info, category change/copy/move, beam, and trash can), one provides the category tabs for drag-and-drop capability, another activates the ticker, and the last displays a user-definable picture. You select these in turn by tapping-and-holding on the bottom right corner until a popup list shows the possible bars. The selected tool bar becomes the default on brief taps in the corner.

Dragging files to the Info tool gives basic app info as well as permitting category changes. The hidden and backup attributes can also be changed there. Dragging them to the trash can removes them from the main display but they remain in memory until you empty the trash can.

The running ticker stream optionally at the bottom of the screen provides SilverScreen's unique contribution to this group. To Do items and appointments provide the two default tickers. Others, like the NFL schedule, can be downloaded. These make nifty eye candy, but really aren't very useful.

Other functions center around hot screen spots. Apps can be dragged to these areas to be assigned so as to be executed when tapping the areas. A screen stroke from the title bar crossing its bottom boundary can also be assigned for a range of actions, like bringing up SilverScreen's preferences.

Some of SilverScreen's limitations stem from its legacy. Like MegaLauncher, SilverScreen's tool icons are huge, harkening back to the low res 160x160 days. Although SS supports jpg/gif background images stored anywhere on the card, the application text-label colors cannot be changed to be visible on dark backgrounds. The font face can be changed to several included fonts or FontBucket fonts. You can have any font color, as long as it's black. That makes the small icon view pretty much useless on a dark background image, as you can see from the first screen shot. I also found that SS loads quite slowly from scratch, taking 3-4 seconds to come up on the screen—and that's on a 400 MHz CPU.

SilverScreen weighs in at 1,474K, plus 517K for support files, totaling 1,991K of RAM—more than any other launcher reviewed. That includes the app itself, Christmas theme, NFL ticker, icons, background, and database. Unlike the other launchers with large footprints, SilverScreen won't replace any of your other existing utilities to compensate.

At $24.95 ($19.95 currently on sale), SilverScreen tied for the most expansive launcher in this roundup. For that and almost 2 MB of RAM, SilverScreen provides some expensive eye candy, but only average launcher functionality.

Supports background images
Cute ticker

App labels invisible on dark backgrounds
No file manager or other advanced features
Slow initial loading
Large RAM footprint for its functionality




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NEXT -> YiShow

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