I now have a home replacement that can actually launch applications! It is a scrolling grid that contains all the applications on the phone. I have also removed more of the sample home code and resources! I think my next step before building my own custom view that will give us the nice favorites area is to see if I can cache the list of applications on the phone and be updated when new apps are installed rather then creating the list from scratch each time the home screen launches. This should speed up the application drawer.
Well one benchmark in a few days is not too bad and I have some ideas how to build the custom view that is needed.
Get SlideHome Milestone 1 here: http://code.google.com/p/slidehome/downloads/detail?name=SlideHome%20-%20Milestone%201.apk