unnamed (2)

Aviate Launcher, if you haven't heard of it, is a new home screen replacement that looks to offer you information right when you need it and which is, at the time of writing, in the middle of an invite-only alpha period.

After receiving my invitation recently, I was anxious to take the launcher for a spin. I have no doubt it will improve as it progresses toward a broad launch, and there are a few drawbacks, but it is already one of the best alpha products I've ever used. It's a thoughtful, well-made, unique home screen replacement that I actually want to use.


The Helpful Home Screen

Aviate's main home screen is a simple grid of cards. You can add and remove cards (widgets) depending on your preference, but this is the launcher's one major flaw. It allows you to add up to five widgets, but since they differ in height, having five widgets inevitably causes a couple of them to become so narrow they're unusable – they won't even register taps to open the corresponding app. If you keep two widgets along with a two-row "dock" card (containing your favorite apps), you'll be fine however.

The first solution to this issue that comes to mind is to allow vertical scrolling on the main page, since there is just one home screen.


Beyond that, the home screen is incredibly helpful. It relies on a sort of profile system which allows Aviate to give you access to relevant apps and information with a simple tap of the home button or the arrow in the upper right corner. These profiles (including Time, Home, Morning Routine, Work, and Going Somewhere) can be selected manually from a slide-out menu, but they will also activate automatically based on your location or movement. The Time profile, for instance, switches from "Morning Routine" to a normal daytime profile to "Night Time" as the day progresses.


Aviate's also got a "Nearby Places" screen that shows, well, nearby places. If you select one, it will set that location as the home screen's active profile with the option to check in, view Yelp reviews (when applicable), and use other apps that may be related to where you're headed.

Screenshot_2013-07-29-21-43-41 Screenshot_2013-07-29-21-43-49

The profiles are surprisingly handy, with the Time profile providing a quick glance at your calendar and quick access to the alarm and Do Not Disturb settings. Likewise Going Somewhere provides shortcuts to Maps, Foursquare, and other relevant apps you have installed.

Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-09-25 Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-09-32 Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-09-40 Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-09-52

Oh, and Aviate recently added a dark mode, replacing the white home screen with a darker gray one.

Screenshot_2013-07-28-20-46-49 Screenshot_2013-07-28-20-46-55 Screenshot_2013-07-28-20-47-02

Past that, the home screen as such is rather limited – users looking for a custom wallpaper (or any wallpaper actually) or more flexibility with icon placement, folders, or widgets, would be advised to look elsewhere. We'll get into the full set of Aviate's drawbacks momentarily.

The Arranged App Drawers

Aviate actually has two app drawers – swipe to the left from the home screen once for a list of apps categorized by collection. These collections include everything from Home, Work, Social and Going Somewhere to Grocery Shopping, Bar, Watching Sports, and Morning Routine. At the time of writing, there are twenty two collections, each of which can be turned on or off at will.

Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-12-07 Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-12-19

Don't have any apps to fill up a collection? Don't worry – Aviate places a plus sign icon in each collection. Once tapped, it will provide a suggestion for an app you may want to include. Tap "Add" and then the icon to open the Play Store to that app's listing.

Screenshot_2013-07-19-14-38-48 Screenshot_2013-07-19-10-12-07

Swipe to the left one more time to get a list of apps sorted by name. This is the list I personally use most often, as I can more easily predict where apps are, not having memorized each collection I've got turned on.


The Drawbacks

There's one big, obvious drawback to Aviate: customization. The app, as explained, is a grid. At that, the grid gets really wonky really fast if you add too many widgets, and there's just the one page of content.

While Aviate's app drawers are handy, I found myself using the alphabetical list view way more often than the categories view, but there's not an option – at the time of writing – to make that drawer appear first.

Otherwise, my complaints with Aviate are few.

Final Thoughts

Aviate is probably not a launcher for everyone – there's not a high level of customization available. That said, Aviate – by making new app suggestions and allowing for a selection of widgets – does invite the user to participate in cultivating a walled garden.

If you're interested in a unique, helpful, thoughtful launcher, sign up for an invite at getaviate.com, and grab the app below. It's free, so at the very least, you should give it a shot.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Nabil L

    I signed up 2 weeks ago, and I still don't have any invite :(

    • Mothreja Jay

      It's still Alpha Stage, chill bro. They will send you the invite soon.

    • http://tonybullard.com/ Tony Bullard

      I can't remember when I signed up, but yeah, it was a long wait before they let me in.

  • kray

    I want an invite! :'(

  • Sanjin

    Anybody care to explain "read Google service configuration" permission? Thank you.

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      A bit of Googling reveals it's to do with configuration of Google Maps, usually used for displaying maps within the app. Makes sense given the launcher appears to have quite a few location based features.

  • Robodheue

    So does anyone who has this want to upload the cracked apk?

    • zhuowei

      Hold on, I'll try it. It might be mostly serverside though, so it might be useless without an account. We shall see.

      • michyprima

        some bird told me the key is in AmigosApi$6 ;)

    • Δnt◊nio dmψa

      Here's the cracked version:D you don't need an invitation.

      • michyprima

        from what I could see there was no protection at all, apart from that online check which can be easily disabled. (in 5 minutes)

  • Drayon

    Reminds me a lot of SF launcher, but I've no idea how it compares to this.

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

    Got my invite yesterday, played with it, went back to Nova. Not because it's a bad app, not at all - it's the most polished alpha I've ever used, as Liam said. But I'm just too used to the conventional launcher to extract enough usefulness out of something like Aviate to want to switch. I'd rather use an app that categorizes my apps and a regular launcher, and be done with it.

    • Picky Nosey

      > app that categorizes my apps

      Namely? :)

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

        I could swear I saw a decent one recently (there are a few with awful-looking UIs at first glance) but I can't quite place it. If I remember what it was, I'll update.

        • Jesse Cohen

          There is this one by the maker of Beautiful Widgets that had a search option with option T8, as well as organisation by use or recent. I switched back to the Stock Nova drawer because I <3 ClickUI (set up Xposed and Unicon just so I could have circle icons everywhere lol)

      • David Margolin

        smart launcher is pretty good at categorizing things

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

          But that's also a launcher. We're looking for a standalone app.

    • Casin

      Android 5.0's should perhaps switch profiles automatically by tying into Google Now. But maybe keep it as the furthest left screen while letting the other home screens remain.

    • MidnightNinja

      Do you still have it installed? I couldnt figure out how to get rid of the notification, after I switched back to Launcher2

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

        I do, I haven't gotten any notifications.

        • MidnightNinja

          Huh, I had a persistent notification that Aviate was running, even after force stopping it/clearing data. That's odd-Although it may be a consequence of android 4.3. Did you by any chance try it with 4.3?

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

            Oh, no. It was on 4.1.2 on my Note II.

          • Christopher Heidt

            I have it on my Optimus Vu running 4.0.4, and there's no notification here either.

  • duse

    Who wants to bet that Key Lime Pie will do something like this for the standard home screen. More "card"-like, easier to arrange and configure for the average user, less screens. Could end up being awfully similar to Windows Phone. Power users probably wouldn't like it, but I do wonder if they are going to try to "innovate" that area of the UI in the next release.

  • skippengs

    i want my invite :(

  • Zhuowei

    Here's a modified Aviate that allows you to launch it without an invite to activate their service. However, the web service powers its notifications and context sensitive-ness, I believe, so this version is slightly useless. The app categories work though.


  • Craig M

    I'm going on 2 weeks of using it. Its the best launcher I've used. I've provided a lot of input to the developers, and they've been emailing me back with a positive attitude. Great stuff so far.

  • Andrew

    Got my invite yesterday, and have used this app today for a full day.
    First of all, it is first 3rd party launcher that maybe will stay instead of stock one. Nova is nice and all, but essentially it is stock launcher with a bigger set of options that I _personally_ do not need. Aviate is different and interesting experience. It correctly guessed all the places I've visited today. If it could check in Foursquare directly, rather then open 4sq app, it will be even more amazing. I think I'll will live with Aviate a few more days at least, or maybe in will became my default. Because it is beautiful, actually new and unique, never crashed and didn't eat my battery. And it is only alpha. I hope final version will be even better.

    • Christopher Heidt

      I've been using Smart Launcher, which is my stand alone favorite, and I just got my invite tonight. For this only being in alpha, it's a really well-polished launcher! I'm at work, and it almost instantly showed me a list of all of the restaurants and hotels that are right around me (I work at a hotel). If they keep it up, I can see keeping it long-term.

  • jeff

    I have been using it for about a month now on my S3. It just simply works. I am not a person who is overly concerned with indepth customizations so the lack of wall paper etc was not an issue. Aviate is very intuitive. After I installed it I purposefully did not customize it. The point of avaite is that it learns how you work instead if the other way around. It learned what apps I use when and makes them available.Adding the ones I needed after a day or two...extremely easy. It is a clean streamlined app...

    • Rahul

      CanCan u pleaseease send meme invitete on shahrahul13113@gmail.

  • Raviteja

    Who didn't get the invite try this method..

    1) Install it from playstore

    2) Download old version from Google

    3) Install it and Open play store

    4) It will show update...Updated it

    5) ENJOY!!!

    • Alex Constantinides

      How do you download the old version ?

      • Raviteja

        Just search with app name and add apk at last... Aviate apk

        • Alex Constantinides

          Managed to find it, easier than I thought, had a quick little play with this at work and it's pretty good so far, need to get used to it though due to it being very different.

          • Muhammad Kori

            Please can you help me with the link to download or better yet, the old apk itself. Thanks

        • Ketan B. Parmar

          Can you tell what's Old version number ?

          • Raviteja

            I dont remember..Just search it..Mostly you will get older version only

  • meelyg

    really liking this so far. the time view updates toggle options based on the time of day. so at night time, it displays a DoNotDisturb button + customizable shortcuts to apps you may use regularly at night. eg. screen filter

  • Armus

    Wasn't there already a launcher that used nothing but widgets and changed scenes depending on some conditions? This sounds too similar

  • Daniel McDermott

    Looks pretty good if you like things organized, but it will be difficult to pull me away from Buzz and having a beautiful and customizable skin for my home screen.

  • Alexc26

    I've been waiting for an invite since It was released, and sadly I haven't got one yet, I'm looking forward to getting one at some point and giving this a go as it looks great.

  • Balaji

    Does somebody know how to get to the Aviate Settings screen? The Settings button on the left most scrolled screen has Google Play and Phone Settings. I do not see a place where I could tweak Aviate. I heard some where that I could enter my Home and Work Addresses.

  • Oskar Zumba Sawaryn

    oskar5510@gmail.com INVITE ME PLEASE <3

  • hawkeye1103

    could you please give me an invite hawkeye1103 at yahoo.com. Thanks in advance;)

  • Arso

    I would appericate if someone could send me a invite code, since you get 5 codes to send to your friends.

    email: arsosloj@hotmail.com

  • ateet

    Please send an invite to ateet101@Yahoo.com

  • http://www.androidandfreak.info/ Charan
  • Merryck Jun SanAgustin Castill

    could some give me invitation code please? -_- i really want to have this

  • Merryck Jun SanAgustin Castill

    invite me please. -_-

  • Khuất Hữu Hoan

    hoan.ict@gmail.com INVITE ME PLEASE <3

  • anon

    top of the home screen looks different now. It's a thin band with a activity symbol, then time, then settings. no day or date. looks like cannot be altered.

  • Christian Dev

    I loved the drawer and thats exactly what im looking for sorting my apps... everything else is not.. Back to Nova.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/azzreh Mohmmed Aziz

    My video on this launcher