2014-06-19 15_53_58-Z Launcher

Nokia doesn't have much to do with Android, but it does make those super-cheap Android devices with the wonky interface and no Google services. That's not the extent of Nokia's Android ambitions, though. There's a new launcher from the company called Z Launcher, and you can try it right now. Make no mistake – it's basic, but kind of neat.

This is a "pre-beta," which probably means there will be some broken stuff. It seems to run well enough, but the features are sparse for the time being. Z Launcher is a single panel with a clock and upcoming appointment at the top of the screen. The list of contacts and apps below that changes based on your usage throughout the day. You can draw letters anywhere on the screen to filter your apps and contacts, surfacing the ones you want. Down at the bottom is a dock with a link to a full app list and a few app icons. It seems like you should be able to edit them, but I'm not seeing any way to do it.

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Z Launcher might be related to Nokia's ongoing Android side project. Maybe it just wants help testing this launcher for use on future devices, assuming Microsoft lets the division continue using Android at all. Or it might just show up in Google Play someday. At any rate, you can sign up at the link below, but you'll have to actually navigate to the download page on your device to get the APK. Be aware that part of the deal is that Nokia gets usage data from beta testers to improve the app.

[Z Launcher]

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

  • invinciblegod

    I don't know why you thought it would be horrible. Their design on Meego was stellar, if too late. Their Windows Phones are good but hampered by an inadequate ecosystem.

    • Imparus

      Probably because of the only android phone they made the Nokia X

    • Pal

      Agreed. I believe that Windows Phone devices are pretty well made (especially Nokia and HTC devices), hardware and software. It just lacks apps, and it's a huge part of having a smartphone.

      Too little, too late. Quite an uphill battle.

    • buffer overflow

      Nokia WP phones are good.

      But because Microsoft greediness, when someone want to develop app for WP phones, he'll greeted with ridiculous requirement. Win8 x64. VS2013. paid developer account. Hell NO.

      I can develop Android apps on my xp/win7/linux/mac machines. I don't need those crap called Win8. Thanks MS and their limited metro apps.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    So why didn't they publish this in the Play Store via G+ beta test program?

    • Tomáš Petrík

      Because that would be too much Android-like

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        What do you mean?

        • Tomáš Petrík

          It's Nokia, so they just don't do Android-related things the way we'd expect. (E.g. Android phone without Google services.)
          (It was meant sarcastically.)

          • Peter Miller

            This is actually not the Nokia that was bought by Microsoft, but an individual start up that was split from the original firm!

          • Tomáš Petrík

            Uhm... how do you know? The article just says "Nokia".
            (Just being curious.)

          • Peter Miller
          • Tomáš Petrík

            Ah, thanks.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Oh so that's why it says "Nokia Corporation" on Z Launcher's website

          • Tony Ceralva

            Start up? Really? Nokia was founded on 1865!!!

        • Pal

          Pretty sure it was a joke, as they don't work for Nokia and know its motives.

  • Rudie

    Perhaps you guys could add that it doesn't work on rooted devices, although with Xposed you could use RootCloak to hide root.

    And while you're at it, Xposed App Settings can revoke the usage data sending.

  • josuearisty

    Die die die Microsoft!

    • Fer


  • arturodelac

    This is from the Nokia division that isn't owned by Microsoft

  • Peter Miller

    This is not the Nokia that was bought by Microsoft! It is a now independent start up and thus there's no relation to Nokia's other Android projects at all!

  • Connor Mason

    "Sorry. We are not currently supporting rooted devices"

    Doesn't even launch on a rooted device.

    • Mayoo

      A launcher that doesn't work on root? Holy opposites Batman!

      • daniel

        If you have exposed installed just download rootcloak. It works, ive checked. :-) hides your root status.

        • KERR

          Can someone post the package name to add to rootcloak please?

          • mayanks098


        • Jeanne William


          ✒✒✒ �✒✒✒ ✒✒✒ ✒✒✒ ✒�✒✒

    • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

      No Root? %launcher Nokia.

    • Tyler Humphreys

      Not working on rooted devices is currently their #1 issue in their feedback: http://feedback.zlauncher.com/forums/253960-z-launcher-feedback

      No response yet though.

  • Mike Gonzalez

    not impressed... i wanna have the apps i use the most at 1 tap away, not having to draw the letter on the screen to take me to the app

    • Peter Miller

      If you don't type anything it'll actually display the 6 apps and actions that you most likely want to use next based on algorithms (depending on which time it is, where you are, etc), Additionally, you can also pin 4 apps manually to the bottom bar.

  • http://evansims.com/ Evan Sims

    Blocked on rooted devices. How bizarre.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    Now I'm trying to make up a good excuse why to block it on rooted devices, but I cannot think of any.

    • Maranello Santiago

      I can only think they want to keep root users from discussing potential problems with the launcher. But still, what other launchers block root?

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        What difference would it make if a user is or isn't root in this scenario? I can't really think of any.

        In a bank app I can understand it, but for this, not really.

  • Stephen ‘the snake’ elop

    It's crap. Nokia really f*cked up with shitdows phone. Now they're reduced to making awful launchers.

  • Narciso Neto

    Android app by Nokia running on a Samsung.... hell freezing, status 100% COMPLETE

  • Symon Carter

    I can confirm that this launcher is working perfectly on the Galaxy Note 3 N9005 and my device is also rooted.

  • Andrew

    Does anybody remeber ZLauncher from PalmOS times? No? F*, I'm old.

  • djakdekiel

    If you have root use rootcloack from Xposed:)

  • syph

    more like WP app drawer on steroid

  • RiderDown

    No access to google now = deal breaker for me

  • Keita

    Here's a version that it is working with Rooted devices, I patched it myself. http://d-h.st/fq3 Enjoy :)

    • veli

      The original is 8 Mb, this APK is 5 Mb. I'm not trusting this...

      While we are at it, the original package MD5 is ed8a71a362fe08f614aa79ffb2d77014
      Just in case you want to verify third-party download.

      • Keita

        That's because I decompiled it with apktool to edit the smali files, when recompiling everything changes. If you don't like it, have it your way.

        • ashiq

          Hey.. I am using note 3 (nt rooted) it aint working.. :(

  • Jesús Cuenca

    Im not gonna try it because it may be good but not good enough. (And don't work on rooted phones...)

  • Premsuraj

    I'm sure they just want to collect information on what apps we use most often and then solicit the developers to work on WP ports.

  • Sreeram

    My phone is Nokia XL. Its just brough and is not rooted yet they show the same error "Sorry. We are not currently supporting rooted devices" . What should i do ?

  • Symon Carter

    Latest update is now available.

  • thelionk

    Is this from Nokia which is part of Microsoft, or from the remaining Nokia that is still Nokia owned?

  • gilbs72

    I wish someone will make an Android launcher that looks and feels like a classic Nokia or what it would have been like today had Symbian development continued to this day. I'd bet millions of Nokia users would come back. It's what many of us have gotten used to for more than half a decade.

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

    VIDEO - NOKIA Z LAUNCHER (with and without root)


  • Ashiq

    I have installed it on my note 3 (4g not rooted).. but it still is showing loadin sign..

    Does it takes too much time.?

    • Mohamed Sayyaf

      Same thing happening on my gs5(not rooted)
      Did u find a solution?