The issue of Android fragmentation is very serious and we can find many devices still running on old Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Sadly many phones cannot be upgraded to the new Jelly Bean or Ice Cream Sandwich and the only solution for those who want to try out the new OS, is to install a custom ROM on the phone, or upgrade to a new device.
The good part is that Android can be customized to give a new and modern look. Let's take a look at some apps that will make your old Gingerbread device look like the new Jelly Bean or ICS. Yes, you can give your old Android device a makeover with these apps.
Replace Default Launcher with Holo Launcher
The default launcher - home screen and app drawer is boring and it makes sense to try out a modern launcher. The custom interface offered by manufacturers, such as Samsung's TouchWiz or HTC's Sense, can also become boring after using it for a long time. So how do you give it a face lift?
That's where third party launchers come to the scene. You can install a new launcher, which can replace your device's home screen and app drawer with a new interface. Holo Launcher is one such popular app that gives your device a new look similar to the default launcher on Android 4.0 and above.
Holo launcher, in addition to giving a fresh look, it comes with some neat features - infinite scrolling, app drawer, desktop previews, backup and restore your settings and shortcuts, new icons, gestures, and more.
Holo Launcher can run on Froyo, Gingerbread, ICS and Jelly Bean. It requires Android 2.2 and above. After installing, you will prompted to make this as your new default launcher. Accept the changes and welcome to a whole new world.
Replace Lock Screen with Holo Locker
After replacing the launcher, it’s time to replace your old lock screen and give it a new look. Holo Locker is made by the developers of the Holo Launcher and it brings the Jelly Bean's lock screen to older versions of Android.
This new lock screen definitely brings a fresh look, plus it also adds some new options to easily access the camera and Google directly from the lock screen. For example, to launch the camera, just touch the unlock button and then swipe to the left to open Camera app. This app requires you to run on Android 2.2 and above.
Replace the Default keyboard
The good thing about Android is that it is very much customizable and doesn't comes with many restrictions. If you are a keyboard junkie (or SMS/text message junkie) then you might want to upgrade your keyboard to a better one. If you are looking for a new keyboard that looks like Jelly Bean, then try out the Jelly Bean Keyboard. The developers claim that they have ported this from Android 4.1 so that it can work on older devices too. Once installed, start this app and it will guide you to make it the new default keyboard on your device.
SwiftKey is yet another keyboard that is very popular on the Android platform. It tries to give corrections and can also predict the next words that you want to type. SwiftKey makes typing a breeze and you can try out this app for free for one month.
Try out Alternative Browsers
You may be satisfied with the stock browser on your device, but did you know that there are better browsers available than the stock browser? The problem with old (or stock) browsers is that they come with a browser engine that has not been updated for a long time. Using the stock browser is like using Internet Explore on Windows just because it comes bundled with the OS
Chrome for Android is a good alternative, but unfortunately it requires Android 4.0 and above. Another alternative is the Firefox for Android browser. The new Firefox browser is fast, easy to use, and customizable.
You can also try out Dolphin browser, which supports gestures, sonar (search and browse as you speak), and installs other useful add-ons. Dolphin browser has gained popularity in recent times and it runs on Android 2.1 and above.
Don’t limit yourselves to these apps. There are many apps available on the Google Play store that you can try out. Search on the Play store and you can find a better alternative than the stock app. After installing, you can easily make the new app as your default app and change the default device’s Messaging, Contacts, Email, Browser, and other apps to new ones.