It’s been a long time in the making, but this week finally sees the release of Talos Launcher. For those of you who don’t follow me on twitter, Talos is the first app I started making,  and it has seen many changes since its first design. Originally, it was intended just to be used bymy daughter, who is now 5. When I started, she had been asking for a phone news for a while,  for or easing other than being able to phone my wife and I if she wanted a drink.  Apparently my children are lazy…

We looked at the options that were out there, but none of them were what I wanted. The closest was a company where you can order a phone with some numbers and names printed into a very basic phone that looks like a toy – you’re unable to change the numbers, so someone changing their number would render it useless. This is less than ideal.

So I made my own…

At release, Talos supports 4 contacts, that are changeable through a settings menu that is pass code protected. It allows you to set a picture be t to each person in case your child can’t really read just yet. Basically, that’s it. It’s a contact list on your home screen that does not allow (easy)  access to the majority of Androids Base features – it overrides a number of physical buttons that may be on your phone, such as the camera and search buttons. Depending on the screen size and resolution, there is also a clock to tell the time, including a read out when text to speech is set and enabled on the phone. There is a guided set-up to help you through getting going that you can skip if you want – this provides 4 random names and pictures but no numbers.

I’ve tested on a number of different devices with all sorts of hardware configurations and Android versions ranging from Android 2.1 to the developer preview of Android L. That means if you have a phone kicking about that runs Android and was released sometime after January 2010 it could, most likely, work.

There are a few things yet for me to add in, such as SMS capabilities –  something that I have working to an extent but I’m not completely happy with due to how Android 4.4 handles SMS – as well as a basic count of how many times a phone call or text has been sent to each contact. Ideally I will be adding some sort of location panic, but that is a nice to have and will wait until I have SMS enabled and working as it should.

In case you’re concerned about privacy, I do not have any Internet permissions added, as they are not needed. I don’t see any data other than what Google shows me should you purchase, nor do I ever want to see your phone numbers or statistics on use. They hold no value for me to see, and I would never want my own data to be shared in such a way.

I’ve rambled enough for now, but hopefully you’re interested. You can check the Talos project page, which I’ll be updating with some FAQs and a set-up and brief user guide as time permits. If you wanted to see how it used to look through development I’ll be adding some screenshots or its various versions to the Daddy Gave Me A Phone page, which is the old name for Talos.

You can get Talos now on the Google Play Store, for an introductory price of £0.50.