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The flick-gesture for quickly opening the camera app on the Moto X and new DROIDs has been repeatedly highlighted by Motorola. And like any buzz-worthy feature in an upcoming phone, it's been almost immediately duplicated. Twisty Launcher popped into the Play Store last night, promising to deliver a customized version of this gesture-based feature, with the added benefit of being compatible with any device or app.

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The name "launcher" is a bit of a misnomer - Twisty launches apps, but it isn't a homescreen in any way. Select an app to open with a gesture (the camera is enabled by default) and it will run in the background, waiting for your to call upon the mighty power of waiving your phone around. The main gesture is the "chop," which you activate by quickly rocking your device from portrait to landscape twice. Some short experiments on my own phone show that it's pretty reliable; even a gentle tilt will open the assigned app.

Twisty Launcher is free to download, but to select a custom app you'll need to pony up a dollar as an in-app purchase. That will also open up two more gestures, a sort of "barrel roll" motion and a perpendicular flip, which can likewise be assigned to any app. It looks like Twisty could use a little refinement: it's using an inordinate amount of battery life on my phone compared to other apps, and there needs to be a sensitivity setting and a function to disable the gestures temporarily for situations where you're moving around a lot, like in a racing game with tilt controls.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Amer Khaznadar

    "The name "launcher" is a bit of a misnomer - Twisty launches apps, but it isn't a homescreen in any way."

    In my (pre-Android) days that's what launcher used to always mean. Damn kids with their damn intelligent phones. *shakes cane*

  • JustReboot

    uninstalled. looks like this only works when the phone is on / kinda pointless/ and as you said the shake has to be done precisely. -poof-

    • fixxmyhead

      The shake can be half assed and it still works.

  • Josh Flowers

    all i want is "Ok Google Now"...i'll pay $2 for that ability. (i've never had good luck with Tasker)

    • Awkward Guest
      • Kenny O

        I tried Open Mic, it has potential and is easier than the Tasker route - but it has a ways to go. It kills battery like crazy and made the phone real hot even with the screen off.

        • sheila752

          like Stephanie said I
          am stunned that people can make $7104 in four weeks on the internet. have you
          read this webpage w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

          • Scott Hendry

            NO. WAY.

        • Imparus

          That is kind of the reason they made the new chip to handle it in motorola ;)

          • Kenny O

            Exactly. What alarmed me more than the crazy battery drain was how hot it made my phone while in my pocket.

          • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

            And yet, many people don't seem to understand that just because a S4 or HTC One has a faster processor, doing the same thing on those phones may not be as good an experience as on the Moto X.

      • Josh Flowers

        good suggestion. will try it out and hope that the battery drain either detracts from the attractiveness or that it's minimal enough to warrant the novelty/functionality.

    • br_hermon
  • bungadudu

    Can't this be done with like.. Tasker?

    The concept is pretty simple...

    • br_hermon

      Yup, considering this app requires the screen to be on, if you have tasker, this app is worthless.

  • http://farukahmet.blogspot.com farukahmet

    Uninstalled. It makes available only one gesture to use, and that's the hardest one to do, and it didn't work anyway.

    I've been using "Shake" https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adl.appshaker and it has three, much intuitive gestures, sensitivity setting, works when the screen is off (if you want), doesn't seem to drain a lot of battery for me, and is free. It sometimes confuses the movements when you are using all three though, so I'm using only two: up-down for flashlight, and front-back for camera.

  • solbin

    Would be kind of scared about the battery drain with an app like this. It would have to always be on using CPU to really be of any use. The Moto X handles this effectively because it has a very low power cpu to use for this task.

    • fixxmyhead

      This app has hardly used any battery since I installed it in the morning. Too many paranoid battery freaks afraid of losing more than 2%

      • solbin

        I don't mind having an app that will use an acceptable amount of battery life. I just hate it when I have it in my mind that I know I will be out all day, so I don't want to use my phone too much in case I need it. 4 hours later I am suddenly down to 20% because some program has too many wake-locks. It is incredibly frustrating.

  • Scott Hendry

    i think the phrase you were looking for is "from landscape to portrait". landscape == horizontal. just being picky.

    great scoop!

  • Cory_S

    It is kind of missing the point. The moto gestures are cool because it works from any state, even screen off.

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    Carpal tunnel syndrome anyone???