11
Mar
in

We've got more choices than ever when it comes to launchers, including Google's own search-infused option. The top third-party launchers have been mostly the same for the last year or two, but Inspire Launcher is a head-turning new option. It's based on the stock Android 4.4 launcher, but it has a GNL vibe with bright colors and some neat features.

The icon for Inspire Launcher offers a little preview of what the app is like – it's colorful, flat, and kind of funky. It supports the transparent system bars on KitKat, of course. There are some neat features that I'll get to shortly, but I think my favorite thing about Inspire is just the general vibe I get – it's kind of tropical. You can control the color of text, folder backgrounds, and more. Inspire also supports custom icon packs designed for Nova/Apex, along with a few of its own (optional) custom icons. I won't blame anyone who isn't into the icon surrounds, but they can be turned off.

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That's just scratching the surface of the visual stuff you can do with this launcher. There are tweaks for opacity, grid size, and transition effects as well. Inspire can do most of the things Nova or Apex can do, but it does them a little differently. I feel like there's perhaps less fine-grained control in Inspire, but this is a brand new launcher.

Like GNL, you have a configurable number of home screens that fit the icons and widgets you decide to place on them. Instead of having a Google Now panel on the far left (which isn't possible in third-party launchers right now) there is a "Genius Page." It's a sort of enhanced search interface that does local device search as well as passing queries off to Google. You'll also get settings toggles and recent apps listed in this area. Of course, you can still access Google Now/search the old fashioned way when using Inspire. The Google Search bar on the home screen can be removed for a little extra space.

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Another nifty set of tweaks comes in the app drawer, where you can create custom categories in a slide-out panel on the left (a little like the navigation pane in apps). Transition between categories is a little slow right now, but again, this is a very new app. There's an option to password protect apps through Inspire, but it's not super-secure. You can still switch launchers and access the apps, but most people won't consider that.

Inspire Launcher pushes a feature called IntelliUI, which I assume is going to be more fleshed out in the future. It offers a 'good morning' notification with weather and event information (a little buggy for me), as well as automatic background rotation throughout the day in the colorful Inspire style. It's not a make-or-break sort of feature, but it's interesting.

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Inspire Launcher is not Nova or Apex – those apps do still have more features and options. The developer also goes to great pains to indicate features from Nova and Apex aren't going to be ported over to Inspire just to bring them to parity. Inspire has an impressive feature set for being so new, but don't expect the world just yet. It's getting updated crazy-fast with fixes and feature tweaks, but it'll take time. I like Inspire Launcher and will be interested to see how development proceeds.

Inspire's basic feature set is available in the free version, but an in-app purchase (about $6) unlocks the full list of features.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Ishimaru

    I'm using this launcher now, and it's pretty awesome if you ask me.

  • jet199

    Sounds great. Might try it.

  • jpelgrom

    Am I correct thinking that GNL means "Google Now Launcher"?

    • Ishimaru

      Yep.

  • vyktorsouza

    looks a mess and what's up with those icon packs?

    • Daniel Traynor

      Agreed, had it installed for 2 minutes and replaced it with Apex.

    • Ishimaru

      How does it look a mess? I'm not defending it, I'm simply curious how you think it's a mess.

      • vyktorsouza

        there's way too many things in a homescreen, different concepts in one place and it took me a while to understand how everything works
        and about the icon packs, I'm pretty sure I'm seeing like 5 icon packs in there

        • Ishimaru

          That's just the author's home screen. That's not how it looks. It honestly looks like the GNL by default. Then you customize it how you want. Download the Mond icon pack with this launcher, it's really, really nice. Here's a screenshot for you: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hxbt6ncbsf6rhiv/Screenshot_2014-03-08-07-51-41.png

          • Peter Blanco

            What icons are you using friend? I like!

          • Ishimaru
          • Sac Bunt Melvin

            The author would do well to use better screenshots to sell the launcher. The box padding around the widgets is way off, not sure if that's part of the launcher or just the widgets. But it makes the launcher visuals seem chaotic.

        • abobobilly

          DUDE!! Don't you have any concept of customizing?

          It looks and works like a stock Google Now Launcher. If you want it to be even more minimalistic, then DON'T download it. Move to something else ... which you think is not crowded.

    • dsca

      That's the autor desktop set-up, it doesnt depend on the launcher features :P

  • Jack

    It looks fucking shite.

    • Ishimaru

      Same could be said about you. Nice argument, btw.

  • Samvith V Rao

    Really.....I don't see a reason why I should try this over Nova/Apex.

    • iGio90

      No one force you to try it O.o and @Pete Kiczula:disqus Ishimary is nothing to do with me (I'm the dev)

    • abobobilly

      If you feel "Google Now Launcher" is any good, then DO try it. Otherwise, i don't see why you should complain about it. Plus, Nova/Apex launcher are different breed. Its time to MOVE ON and try something different ... unless you don't want to, in which case you can simply NOT post negative comments and move on :)

  • Pete Kiczula

    I get the feeling Ishimaru is somehow connected to this launcher.

    • Ishimaru

      lol, I'm not. I'm just on this page and haven't gone back to the home page yet. :)

      • iGio90

        he is not

    • Dan-O

      No. Fede /s

      • http://ubuntu-su.blogspot.com/ Kleverson Royther

        You mean Fede from LauncherPro?

  • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

    Here's the launcher freshly installed on my HTC One. Apparently it's not as obnoxious out of the box as it seems.

    • papernick

      Can I have that wallpaper please?

      • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

        It's the wallpaper Inspire came with.

      • Anon

        Extracted from the apk: http://i.imgur.com/rPTwUnI.jpg

        • papernick

          Thanks!

  • SetiroN

    meh.

  • AllPurposeRadio

    KK(Kit Kat) Launcher does have Google Now/Far Left Homescreen capabilities...works pretty well only limitation is can't swipe back to the other screens have to hit home or back

  • Kevin Vesga

    Hows the performance/memory use of this launcher? Would it good for older/slower phones?

  • Barry Gilpin

    Most interesting part of that to me was that you were listening to little known (but awesome) thrash band Forbidden.

  • Double_a2013

    What widget is that showing RAM, device temperature, signal strength and on-time?

  • Milo
  • The Maverick

    £2.99? for the prime i know this will sound like a whine, but quite a few apps are guilty of this, if these kind of apps kept it under the 99p mark then this can be an impulse buy with no regards to whether i use it again or not, but 2.99 i have to consider if im even going to use this that much. i know a few years ago when i was on iOS apps were like 69p/79p i would purchase if i even slightly liked the app but on Android i noticed app prices are all over the place, £1.21, £1.69, £2.37

    i know you can download the free version but i would love to try out some of the prime features.

    this isn't a go at the app (which i am liking so far) but its just not the £2.99 i'm willing to press the trigger for.

    Rant over, sorry people :(

  • Sahil Chaturvedi

    Anyone know where I can get those wallpapers?

  • Deeco

    Too many launchers already!

  • Jeff Saul

    This has potential. There are obvious issues with switching screens and getting some of the settings (color wallpaper for sure) to stick. Seems like it can be pretty minimalistic as well. Hope to see more updates and I will check it out some more. I just can't have i as my default just yet.

  • Dick Butkus

    My new favorite launcher!!!

    • MauriceGriffin

      ***Obligitory "What widget is that?" reply***

      • Dick Butkus

        Dashclock widget

  • http://androidappsapkdownload.com/ Android Apk File Download

    Wow... great launcher with lot features at free cost. I Love this app
    from : html color code

  • BOZO

    Inspire launcher 12 worked fine on Samsung tab 2 10.1 but after that it won't start any more.
    Getting the message " Unfortunately Inspire Launcher has stopped"
    Pretty boring as it has worked before.