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What Is Cover And Why Did Twitter Just Buy It?

Six-month-old Cover lets Android users replace their default lock screens with relevant apps.

What Is Cover And Why Did Twitter Just Buy It?

[Image: Flickr user Johan Larsson]

Cover, a startup that lets users replace the default lock screen on their Android devices, announced Monday it has been acquired by Twitter. The app, which launched six months ago, customizes Android home screens to surface relevant apps based on smartphone sensors, like location and time of day.

The acquisition signals a renewed emphasis on the Android platform. It follows last month's news that Twitter's Android lead Sara Haider left the company to join anonymous app Secret.

"Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android," wrote Cover's cofounders Todd Jackson, Ed Ho, and Gordan Luk in a blog post. "They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter—more useful and more contextual—and together we’re going to make that happen."

It's still unclear what Twitter's vision is for Cover: whether it acquired the company for its talent, or plans to integrate Cover's technology into Twitter's Android experience. However, it's not the only company that sees potential to engage users with the lock screen. Last week at Microsoft's Build conference, the software company showed off customizable lock screens on the new Windows Phone 8.1 operating system as well as a set of APIs for developers to build deep app integrations from the screen. Facebook also made headway in this space with Home, an Android layer that displays status updates and photos on the home and lock screens. However, the app has largely languished since its debut last spring.