Action Launcher doesn't just tweak the Android home screen paradigm like most other launchers do – it creates new features that change the experience. It was already one of the more interesting launchers in Google Play, but it was lacking some features. Each update fills in the gaps more, and this is a big one.

2013-06-07 14.39.02 2013-06-07 14.39.32

Among the most notable additions in v1.8 is the option to configure the home screen grid size. Until now it was limited to 5 rows on phones and a few more on tablets, but now you can go up to 12x12. Coupled with that is icon scaling so you can still press everything with the grid size cranked up. The way screen layouts are imported and backed up is also vastly improved, which is awesome if you switch launchers or devices often.

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Action Launcher's hallmark feature, Shutters has been improved with the ability to manually configure which widget opens. You can even add Shutters to apps that don't have their own widgets. Additionally, Ice Cream Sandwich users can add Shutters to their home screens, but they must be manually configured each time. Here is the full changelog:

  • NEW: The widget displayed on a shutter can be changed by clicking 'Change widget' on the shutter's popup menu.
  • NEW: Any app shortcut can be configured as a shutter, whether that app has a widget or not. Just pick up and put down the shortcut in the same grid location, then select 'Create shutter' from the popup menu.
  • NEW: Shutters are available for Ice Cream Sandwich users. Given ICS's restrictive widget APIs, users are required to select the widget to display in a shutter, but this is better than nothing.
  • NEW: Increase the max grid size to 12x12 for phones and tablets.
  • NEW: Add the ability to scale the size of Home screen icons.
  • NEW: Desktop layouts can be backed up and restored to and from an SD card.
  • NEW: When importing a layout, display a 'SD card backup' import option.
  • NEW: If an SD card backup exists, assume this is a returning user and don't display the tutorial on the app's first run.
  • NEW: Swiping up on a Home screen will reveal the Recents window.
  • NEW: Added a donate option (as requested by multiple people).
  • NEW: Sense layouts can be imported.
  • CHANGE: Reorganize the sections in the settings. Quickdrawer, Home screens, and Dock now all have their own dedicated settings pages.
  • CHANGE: Shutters have graduated out of Labs and into the Display settings group.
  • BUG FIX: Adjusting the grid size no longer radically adjusts the height of the Home screens.
  • BUG FIX: Swiping down to open the notification window works on HTC One devices running Android 4.1.
  • BUG FIX: The bundled Stock Jelly Bean icon pack correctly applies for the HTC Phone app.

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See? It's a ton of stuff. The update is live in Google Play, so go and grab it. At first blush this update still seems perfectly snappy, and the reorganized settings page makes it easier to find what you're looking for. If you haven't bought this app yet, do consider it.