Most third-party home screens simply add on features to the standard launcher experience, but Action Launcher has always been a little more innovative. While it has a lot of neat stuff like Shutters and the Quickdrawer, it has been missing one of the basic features of a custom launcher – unread counts. Well, now it has arrived, albeit in beta form.

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You'll need to grab the free Action Launcher Unread Count app from the Play Store and also be running the new Action Launcher v2.1. That's still rolling out to everyone, but you can get going now by joining the beta program or by downloading the APK from Chris Lacy's post. Note: you still need the pro key to unlock all the features. When you're all set up, the unread badges will show up in Action Launcher right away. Here's what Action Launcher v2.1 includes.

  • NEW: Initial Unread Count support (Pro only, requires Unread Count application available for free in the Play Store). Works for missed calls, SMS, Gmail and Calendar.
  • NEW: "Ok, Google" voice activation works (all thanks goes to @MohammadAG). Requires Android 4.4 or later, and must be turned on (Settings -> Shortcuts -> "OK, Google" voice activation).
  • NEW: Double or triple tap empty space on a Home screen to power the screen off.
  • NEW: Option to enable Roboto Condensed (Settings -> Display -> More... -> Roboto Condensed).
  • NEW: More fine-grained control over where icon text labels display (Settings -> Display -> More... -> Icon text labels).
  • NEW: Option to disable drawing of Cover/Shutter indicators (Settings -> Display -> More... -> Cover/Shutter indicators).
  • IMPROVEMENT: Icon scale can be configured for items on Home screens, Dock, Quickpage and Folders (previously was only applied on Home screens).
  • IMPROVEMENT: Display app icon shortcuts on Settings menus that require you to select apps (Hidden apps, 1-Swipe blacklist, etc.).
  • BUG FIX: Misc. stability improvements.

Beta testers will recognize a number of these features from recent test builds. The unread counter currently only supports Gmail, SMS, phone calls, and calendars. It's still in beta, though, so more apps might be added later. As for why it's a separate app, Lacy has explained that he didn't want Action Launcher to request all those permissions. Sensible.