Another new entry to the Palm launcher
field, AppShelf hails from the Sony world. This lineage
becomes readily apparent when trying to navigate the features
on a T3. The author, H. Imazeki, has a long line of quality
apps to his credit. These include McFile (big brother of
CliéFiles), HiResFont Mapper, CodeDiver, and a host
of Desk Accessories (DAs). He enjoys somewhat iconic status
in the Clié community.
AppShelf's primary concern seems to be
appearance, at which it succeeds marvelously. This app can
be set up to be the most attractive launcher on the market.
The task, however, can be daunting if you don't speak Japanese.
The setup proved anything but intuitive. It seems to be targeted
specifically for 320x480 and 480x320 screens, as the full
functionality wouldn't be practical on smaller screens.
Some features require Sony hardware. These
include directly importing JPegs for backgrounds and clips,
as well as using small fonts in the main display (e.g., app
icon labels). You could also use DT Changer or CodeDiver
to set a background scheme, but a good grasp of Japanese
wouldn't hurt those efforts either. Go here for
a useful site in English that can help a bit with this and
AppShelf breaks the screen into sections,
each configurable individually. The module panel can include
a number of fixed elements that add value to the user. These
elements include a calendar, clock (digital & analog),
appointments, tasks, app icon panel, a small image clip,
and a clear area. Each of these can be configured to some
extent. Tapping on the clip will display the image full-screen.
The main display holds the standard launcher
fare. Apps can be shown with a large or small icon display,
or in a list mode with large or small icons. All the colors
can be customized so that the text will be visible against
a variety of backgrounds. The icon arrangements stay with
individual tab, so that different tabs can have their own
AppShelf sports a favorites bar. It comes
with the standard PIMs prepositioned on the bar. To place
apps on the bar, simply drag them there. To remove them,
just drag them off. The bar itself is thin enough not to
interfere with the main launcher display.
Upon install, AppShelf does not import
the categories from the Palm launcher. This requires the
user to create their categories and then categorize all apps
from scratch. Apps categorize by dragging them over the displayed
category name and releasing them. The category list will
then appear for the user to pick the category in which to
move the app. Apps can exist in more than one category. One
major oversight concerns card support—there isn’t
any. Unlike most launchers, apps on the card cannot be mixed
in categories with apps in RAM, although you can create multiple
categories for card apps. This puts AppShelf on the level
of the built-in Palm launcher and presents a major shortcoming.
Part of AppShelf's visual attractiveness
lies in its wallpaper and image clip capabilities. On Sony
Clies, it can import JPegs directly. On other devices, AppShelf
requires several DAs to capture screens to use. This proved
problematic, as the DAs crashed several image viewer apps,
including Acid Image, before I found Palm's included Picture
Viewer would work. At least on the Palm, only one background
and clip could be saved at a time.
That's pretty much the story on AppShelf.
For $12, you get probably the potentially best looking launcher
with about the least actual launcher functionality. Sony
users will get the most from its customizability.
Very attractive display
Supports background images and clips
Adds little launcher functionality beyond the built-in