Application Activation through speed-dial & Standby screen

Two begginer questions:

(1) Is there a way for an application to set itself up so that a single key press can be used to activate it? Very much like speed-dial: holding down the "8" will cause an app to start.

(2) How can a developer control the phone stanby screen and display infomration in the standby screen? How can the UI be modeified to interact with the stanby screen application?