OK. A few answers to your questions, plus a few suggestions...
I really like your current layout. I say stick with it.
(I'm just throwing these in to generate some ideas)
- Display the version/release number of the app in the bottom left hand corner
- Leave a couple of blank rows between the bottom row of option and in the middle display a URL people can visit for updates, instructions etc. Obviously, this couldn't be navigated to on this screen, but people could type it into their browsers
- Display the system date/time (if a clock is present). Not vital, just fun to display it.
Your notes about the startup sequence seem to make perfect sense. I'm sure they'll become even clearer once I'm tinkering with the app.