Fully Customize the Menu / Interface of Your Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) or Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.)
Know another way to customize the interface of your Sony Ericsson UIQ3 (P1i, G900, W960, etc.) and Nokia S60v3 (e61, e61i, e71, etc.) besides Themes.
For most of us, the good old-fashioned way of spicing up the menus and interface of either our Sony Ericsson or Nokia phone is to download a “Theme” and installing it to our phone. But if you already have a smartphone like the P1i or the e61, downloading a theme just isn’t enough.
With the open source application named GDesk, you could fully customize the menu / interface of your Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) or Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.)
GDesk is an application that is installed in the phone to fully customize the look of your menu. It almost replaces your default menu style which is in your phone. I said “almost” because the default menu is still there and you can access it anytime if you want to. It also doesn’t just replace your menu; it also replaces the desktop or initial view of your phone.
|Replace this normal look of our phone with GDesk..|
Some examples of phones customized by GDesk can be found at the official GDesk website designs page. Fully customized right?
What phones can use GDesk?
Since GDesk is an application, it relies and only works on certain operating systems (OS) of mobile phones. Simply put, GDesk is for UIQ3 (mainly Sony Ericsson) and S60v3 (mainly Nokia) mobile phones only.
Here is a list of Sony Ericsson phones which I have tested supporting such OS and are thus compatible with GDesk.
Sony Ericsson – P1/P1i/P1c , M600/M600i/M608 , P990/P990i/P990c , W950/W950i/W950c , W960/W960i/W960c , G700, G900
Note that there are other phones out there with the UIQ3 platform like the Motorola Z8 and Motorola Z10 but I haven’t tested them personally. So if you have those kinds of phones and you’ve successfully installed GDesk on them just tell me, and I’ll include them in the list and quote you as the one who personally tested it.
The Nokia version of GDesk however, was just recently made as GDesk was originally for UIQ3 only. Examples of s60v3 handsets are the Nokia E61, E61i, and the E71. You may use this link to view all s60v3 mobile phones.
I had tested GDesk for s60v3 only on the Nokia E61, E61i, and the E71. I have not been able to test the s60v3 version of GDesk on the other handsets (too many of them!)
Note that since the s60v3 version of GDesk is “unsigned”, you have to make sure that before you install GDesk to your phone, that you set Software/Program Installation to “All” or “All Applications” and Online Cetificate Check to “Off”. Both can be found at the Application settings or Program Manager (usually located at Menu, Tools, Settings, Applications then Application Manager). If you don’t do the settings above, when you install GDesk, you’ll get a “Certificate Error” message and you won’t be able to install it.
If your phone doesn’t have this setting you’d need to have it Symbian signed.
(The UIQ3 version doesn’t seem to have this problem as I installed GDesk without any problems.)
UPDATE 3/4/2009: The certificate of GDesk 0.32a expired last 2/25/2009, so when you install GDesk, a certificate error would appear. For you to install it correctly, you need to set the date of your phone before 2/25/2009 (for example 1/5/2009). Once you’ve successfully installed GDesk, just set the date to the correct one.
You can download GDesk in the GDesk Versions page. Just click what type of version you would like to download. Just remember, pick the one that is for your type of phone (UIQ or s60).
You can install GDesk by either using the PC Suite software of your phone (connecting your phone via a USB cable and running PC Suite), or by transferring it to your memory card (transfer the GDesk installation file to your memory card and launch it from your file manager). You only need to install the GDesk core file to make GDesk work (ex. GDesk.0.32a.sis). The other plugins like GDesk Shortcuts and GDesk Taskman are optional only.
How to use GDesk
I’ll be showing you the basic methods on how to operate GDesk. Screenshots shown here are from the UIQ3 version and s60v3 version of GDesk.
After you install GDesk, launch the application. You should now be able to see something like this.
By launching GDesk you now have what replaces your Desktop or Menu View. What you get initially is a blank desktop. You haven’t modified anything right?
Now let’s try to design the blank desktop or menu that we have. For the UIQ3 version, tap the background/screen (if you have a touch screen phone), or press the “Ok” button to bring up the menu. For the s60v3 version, press the right menu button (usually the button assigned as “back”) to bring up the menu.
Tap or use the keypads to choose “Design”. By choosing “Design” you are now in Design mode and again presented with a blank screen.
Just tap the screen again or press the “Ok” button on your keys (or press the right menu button for s60 version) to bring up the menu for the Design mode just like below.
If you choose “Set Desktop”, you will be presented with options on how to customize the look of your desktop. Here is where you can set an image as the background of your desktop or just set a plain color as your background.
Be careful though when you set an image as your background. It will display it in your background in its original size and pixels. If it’s too large, your phone won’t be able to display the whole picture and may even hang if the file size is really too big. So it is better that what you set in the background is more or less the same resolution displayed by your phone.
You may use the screenshots I displayed here as a guide when you want to make a background image as they are actual screenshots from a P1i and E71. They may look slightly larger than the screen of your phone but they actually are a perfect fit.
Now comes the bread and butter of GDesk, which is adding an application to the desktop. Go to “Add App”.
When you choose “Add App”, you would be able to choose any application like the Call Log, the Camera, Calculator, Messaging, etc. When you choose an application, a shortcut to the application would automatically be placed in the desktop. When you exit design mode (which I will show you later) and click on the shortcut you made, the application would launch/open. So go ahead and add as many applications as you want.
Now by using “Add App” what you just have is the default icon. To replace this icon with an icon that you like, just select the icon and choose “Set Icon”
When you choose “Set Icon”, your phone’s file manager would launch and you just need to choose a picture you would want as an icon for your application shortcut.
I’m pretty sure you don’t have any icons right now, so it’s better that you search Google for icons or icon packs as there are a lot of sites there offering them for free.
If for example you run out of space in your desktop and you’d still like to add other items or applications, you can add another page to the Desktop through the “Page” menu. This means that you now have another blank page to work on.
When you want to switch between pages and design that page, it is also done under the “Page” menu.
Now if you’ve designed 2 or more pages, you would need a way to switch between these pages when you’ve exited the Design mode. The “Add Other” menu provides a way to add a Page Link.
You can also add Control Panel shortcuts (which is not available in Add App) to the desktop through the Add Other menu. Note that you can also change the icons of Page Links and Control Panel shortcuts. Just select the shortcut and choose “Set Icon”.
Notice on my right screenshot that you can assign a shortcut for the Keylock? The Keylock shortcut is only available for the s60v3 version of GDesk and is not available for the UIQ3 version. However, UIQ3 phones usually have a keylock shortcut at their taskbar which is also easily accessible.
On the left screenshot, there is a GDesk Clock, GDesk TaskMan, and GDesk Shortcuts. When you install a GDesk plugin, it shows up in the “Add Other” menu.
Using Another Person’s Design
If you want to use another person’s design to fully customize the menu/interface of your phone you can do so by first downloading any of the designs in the GDesk Designs page. Once you download the design you want (which would have a file extension of .gdd) go to Design mode and choose “Load Design”.
Your file manager would then launch and you just need to find and then open whatever GDesk design you downloaded.
Note however that some of the designs there are phone specific. Some of the designs even have an application that you don’t have. So when you download a design, you would probably have to modify or edit it a little bit more.
Once you’re done designing, save your design (see the screenshot above on Loading a Design) and just click “Done” and you’ll be ready to use the design you made!
Now everytime you restart your phone, you just need to open GDesk to use the design you’ve made! It’s pretty easy actually and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it once you play with it for a while. GDesk still has many features which I haven’t discussed here but I’m sure you will discover it as you use GDesk.
I hope I have helped you understand how to fully customize the menu / interface of your Sony Ericsson (p1i, g900, etc.) or Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) If you have any questions, comments, or reactions, please feel free to post it at the comment section below.