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It’s all about the little things. The little details that add up to make the big picture all that much grander. When it comes to a smartphone there are so many different little things, so many gears in the whole machine that have to come together to make the device great, worthwhile, and eye-catching for the target audience. When we talk about a smartphone, we talk about all sorts of different things, and that’s the way it should be. There’s never going to be just one single feature that sells the whole thing – it’s about the way that they come together. But, it’s those single features that we talk about so much, and how they compare to the competition. So what about the lock screen? After all, it’s a point of entry for your phone, and as manufacturers are showing us more and more these days, it’s obviously a pretty important aspect of our everyday lives, at least when it comes to our phones.

Way back in the day when we turned on our phones, they just went right into the details. We went to the home screen, and we were presented with options to get to the things we needed to get to, like contacts, missed phone calls or waiting messages. Over the years, and especially with the release of Android, it’s been getting better. The lock screen is now an integral part of the whole equation. They aren’t there just to make sure that your phone doesn’t do crazy things while it’s in your pocket anymore. No, now it’s a bastion of information, telling you all the important things even before you get into the phone proper.

And then there are the lock screens that actually let you access specific activities without having to completely unlock the phone. We’ve seen in (some versions of) Android and HP’s webOS how accessing missed calls, voicemails, messages and emails is as easy as touching that specific icon. Other names that could be thrown into the lock screen discussion are Apple and Research In Motion, as well as Windows Phone. They all offer up some sort of notification on the lock screen, but the functionality is quite different.

At least, it is right now for iOS. Here soon, as soon as Apple releases iOS 5 for the rest of the world, Apple will no longer be part of the “limited” lock screen discussion. After all, their lock screen in iOS 5 now shows plenty of information, broken down into specific sections, and lets you swipe on a message, email or calendar event to get to what you want. Actually, Apple has made sure that developers for all the applications in the App Store can make use of Apple’s Notification Center and provide notifications on that lock screen, so that’s a pretty interesting and in-depth feature.

But then we’ve got Research In Motion’s lock screen on BlackBerry devices, and Microsoft’s lock screen on Windows Phone handsets. In comparison to Apple, Google and HP, these are pretty minimal in their features. For both of these mobile operating systems, you just get an icon and a number, telling you how many things of a particular feature you’ve missed. I say limited because that’s all there is, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the way that RIM and Microsoft handle those notifications in such a minimalist fashion actually works for those particular operating systems, and not being able to launch into the email application from the lock screen on Windows Phone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, just a quick swipe up and you’ve got the Live Tile right there, ready to be touched and accessed.

But the lock screen also has to be interesting to look at. Which is why, thankfully, custom wallpapers make that a non-issue. You can make your phone look like whatever you want, so if your lock screen isn’t all that attractive to look at, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

So when it comes to a lock screen, what do you look for? More information or the ability to access specific elements of the phone, like missed calls and texts, right from that initial display? Or are you all about the minimalist approach? Let me know in the comments below.


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103 Reactions to this post

"Which company has the best lock screen for their mobile OS?"


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Sergio Nayar Lockscreen? Who needs a lockscreen when you can have a Fingerprint scanner to unlock it? Motorola Atrix unlocking rocks!!!
Watashiwa Brandon htc sense 3.0
Hector E Craig @ Rotariu Wow cursing? Topical Apple fanboy......
Ethan Young iPhone. its just a simple slide to unlock with a clock display, showing your signal, battery, and you can control your iPod from it
Micheal Wray Kennedy Sony Ericcson
Anej Svete WP7 and Sense 3.0. But WP7 is better.!!
Rotariu Theodor iOS 5 period. Endy stfu.
Hector E Craig Is getting annoying this ios 5 crap not an official release people... and half of u be thinking ya are developers that's why ya be having all this briked phones. Smh
Felix Gomez Htc all the way
Eddie Velasquez HTC sense
Julio Briceño Sense 3.0
Jason Torchy HTC Sense 3.0
Dinesh Parkash android......
Sergio Trotter Tie between Sense 3.0 and honey comb
Equaknox Knox doesnt matter..i use..Lock Bot Pro..i cam have any lock screen i want..with backgrownd i want...WHAT.....
Nasean Sanders Stock Android Gingerbread! Or HTC Sence 3.0
Brad Blackstone Android 2.3.5
James Vincent Widget locker FTMFW
Adrian Salazar Jr. HTC 3.0 lock screen available on the HTC evo 3d, HTC sensation and HTC evo 4g+ and any other HTC handset that a sense ui port...
Bridget Hooks Sense 3.0 for stock but i've been using widgetlocker forever and its actually the best!
Erman Guido Sony Ericsson
Robert Lombardi Blackberry bc there is none! :)
Zohaib Iqbal Sense 3.0 with weather.
David Harness Not sure. I only know Android, Windows Phone 7, and iOS lock screens. Haven't seen enough of WebOS to make a fair decision.
Danny Abad HTC Sense all the way
Patrick Rhodes CM7 - Rotary unlock
Josh Sussman Android/HTC Sense. :)
Alexander Rojas Htc sense 3.0/motorola fingerprint
Shiv Vachhani HTC Sense 3.0
Owais Akhtar HTC sense 3.0 is the best
Joe Hurtado Sense 3.0
Gavin M. Gunn Android 2.1
Hector E Craig Wtf the first comment said ISO5 ? Dude Beta not an official OS... so no. I'm not hating on apple but they don't got shit on android. That's why they copy.
Nathaniel Hull Htc sense 3.0 for sure, no comp at all with anything else.... Kinda a dumb question haha
Markus Bartosch Sense 3.0
Dan Drzewicki Sense 3.0
James Ramirez Htc 3.0.
Juan Manuel Ramos Htc sence 3.0
James Lazaro Rumohr HTC's Sense 3.0!
Joshua Castro Htc with sense i miss my evo 3d have to give it away because of sprint bad signal in my area.
Travis Brown Sense 3.0 looks best. Its a little gimmicky but sexy
Nathan Parks Androids widget locker.
Merl Bonham Sense 3.0
Javier Trejo Why y'all saying IOS?? it's htc sense!
Kevin J. Lee HTC 3.0 for me. And obviously the hands down winner for everyone else.
Xavier Thompson htc does of course. no doubt about it. motorola looks laggy when unlocking. example "droid x,x2, 1,2 and 3"
Brandon Foster HTC Sensa 3.0
Anonymous Yo iOS5, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but HTC has one of the best lockscreens of all time. One of the best lockscreens of all time!
Tyler Neill Hp webOS
Josh Richardson iPhone iOS 5.0:)
Daanish Shaikh WP7 ,the best 1 !!!
Ashley Tok I'd have to say WP7 is the most simple yet stylish... HTC looks alittle messy at times
Christopher Wesley HTC Sense 3.0
Brandon Ricker HTC sense 3.0
Skye Villanueva Sense 3.9
Marlon Gomez Htc 3.0
Jv Iar iOS5
Bryon Carlin Stock android.
Gordon Christie thats odd then cos i liked it and almost bought one till i was given a galaxy s2
Joe Czo Tobias but to me Sense 3.0 is not as elegant as WP7. :)
Nick Kalman Windows phone 7
Henry Lavender HTC Sense 3.0, or just download WidgetLocker from the Android Market
Chris Hagood Not a company, but MIUI has the best lockscreen(s).
Kevin Joel Windows Phone 7.
Tobias Joshua Prince Josuam, HTC sense 3 lock screen will give you that info so you just indirectly voted HTC in my book because Microsoft isn't even an option, no one likes it. Lol.
Alan Xavier Rodriguez HTC Sense 3.0
Jose Deita Without any competition android 1.0
Haaziq Aqmar touchwiz 4.0 is simple while HTC sense 3.0 is intuitive..both are my favourites
Nyle Ahmed I think the windows phone
Bryan Catena not only on lockscreen ,also best interface, hands down on HTC
Mark Walker Evo 3d!
Ricardo Lopez High Tech Computee
Joe Czo Microsoft with WP7. I don't care if I can launch an app from the lock screen what i want is information like my appointments how many missed calls emails text messages etc. so Microsoft wins this for me!
Guillermo De León I'm with everyone else. HTC!
Aizaz Haider xperia arc and x10
Ryan Nunes Easily HTC!!!!
Shawn Poling HTC and stock android
Yash Agarwal nokia 1100!!! :PP
Alaye Kray Brown HTC:100 Samsung:8 lol its clear who the winner is
David Sumner Easily HTC sense 3.0
Kevin Lawrence HTC. Luv my evo 3ds lock screen.




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