The stock launcher in ICS is, without a doubt, the best launcher that Google has ever produced. It offers some great features that previously required the use of a custom launcher, like customizable dock shortcuts and drag-and-drop folder support. Despite being a definite improved over its predecessors, it's still not perfect.

With that in mind, the devs behind WidgetLocker took the ICS launcher to the lab and made it even better. The result is a blazing fast new launcher called Nova Launcher. Nova builds off of the stock 4.0 launcher while retaining the same look and feel, but brings advanced customization and improved features to all Android 4.0 handsets.

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Nova allows many of the customizations that users of custom launchers have come to expect, like resizable widgets, custom grid size, transition animations, and a scrolling dock. It also adds features specific to Android 4.0, like the ability to change the way folders look. By default, folders are round, with an icon stack displaying its contents. With Nova, however, you can make folders square, platform, a custom image, or remove the background altogether. The way the folder shows its contents can be changed, too; you can choose between stacking icons, putting them on a small grid, or fanning them across the folder background.

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Nova also allows users to hide apps from the tray, backup and restore features, and more. If you're the gesture-using type, Nova also has a premium version called Prime that will add quick actions like pinching, swiping, and two-finger swiping.

While all of this sounds quite fantabulous, there is one downside: in order to display widgets in the app tray the way the stock launcher does, your device has to be rooted. Otherwise, you'll have to add widgets the old-school way.

If you think you can handle that, hit the widget below to grab the download.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • _ThaNerd_

    Played around with it on my HP Touchpad and did not like it. I find the GO Launcher is still the best one to get if you want nice templates and widgets.

  • http://gplus.to/yoshinatsu Yoshinatsu Ryou

    Incredible ICS launcher! Got the "Prime" version, as I've been waiting for the "hide apps" option for a while now!

    • Jeff Tarman

      Go Launcher Ex has that ability for some time now

  • Evan

    Been using since beta 14(2 updates ago) I've enjoyed it a lot and plan on getting the nova prime asap for support of the devs and the nifty gestures

  • Caleb B

    No way to get this on pre-4.0 I guess?

    • http://www.unlocktheinbox.com wpfn

      Yea, that's a drag too considering 98% of the entire market consists of pre 4.0. :(

  • James

    Stock is perfect already if you ask me :P

  • Rob

    Any chance of sharing that wallpaper?

    • Andy

      Finally found a use for Google Goggles! here is the wallpaper.

  • Brian

    I've got news for you... The "old school way" is still the best way!

  • Lon Lawrence

    well Andy, that sucks... the picture has an ad in the middle of it until you sign up for something.

  • Ken

    One major problem I have with Android is the carriers' and manufacturers' laziness with updates. I am using an original Droid Incredible, and let me tell you this thing can more than handle Ice Cream Sandwich. In my opinion, Google should have demanded that every single capable Android device out there be upgraded to ICS, thereby destroying fragmentation and also allowing all Android users to be able to use the new apps that are ICS-only (this, Chrome, new Gmail, etc). There are so many Android devices out there that the Droid RAZR is considered obsolete compared to the RAZR MAXX, which is absolutely absurd. Not only should Google demand that manufacturers make less devices per quarter, and demand that no bullshit custom UIs be placed over stock ICS (although I think the consumer should have the option if they so choose), Google needs to make sure that as many devices as possible are running ICS. There are still phones being made with Froyo for crying out loud.

    • Ishken

      This would cause Google to act like Apple, which is the exact opposite direction of action that Google has been striving for. Where Apple is closed off and locked down, Google is open sourced and deeply customized. Where Apple acts like a elitist bully from on high, Google is the guy in the college quad handing out flyers to everyone to come over and party.

      Enjoy Google for who they are and what they are about. It isn't their fault OEM's drop support for their devices too soon. If people really cared, they would show it with their wallets and not buy from that OEM ever again.

  • Adam

    Aaaand, still no continuous vertical scrolling. Pass. When you have as many apps as I do, non-continuous horizontal scrolling is a nuisance.

    Oh, and contrary to the headline, this app isn't new, it's been around for some time. It's just new to the market.

    • Geoff

      I agree, I don't know why Google switched from continuous vertical to paged horizontal. In fact, I'd like to see an app drawer that's continuously scrolling, with a scroll bar that jumps by first letter of the app, the way the People app is. Even if a non-majority of people used it, it would be a nice feature to have.

  • tommmmmm


    How come some posts from AP link to the mobile version while some other posts link to the full version? This article in particular links to the mobile version (from google reader) whereas the article on nova launcher links to a full version post.

    Also, when I click to turn off the mobile version at the bottom of the page, it just reloads the page with the mobile version. The button isn't working.

    • tommmmmm

      Edit: the other page I was referring to was the google music article, not been nova launcher article.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Could you please email admin@ourdomainname and include your device's user agent? I'll take a look at what's happening when I get a chance.



    Not available for the evo 3d? SMFH

    • Cryogenic

      Not available for any device not running ICS. So yeah, that's why.

  • Norbert

    this is nice but i prefer apex for now. the lock screen feature and the ability to hide tabs on the app drawer are one of the feature i love in apex.

  • http://justreboot.wordpress.com Deidein

    Instant purchase, for me.
    I've been using the beta so long, it's only fair. I didn't even bother to see what the new features were. Nova Launcher and AOKP on the Galaxy Nexus = peanut butter and Nutella on perfect toast.