Aviate was one of the most interesting alternative home screens when it came out last year as an invite-only beta, then Yahoo bought it and we all worried Aviate would be swallowed up by the machine. However, today is Aviate's big coming out party. The app has been updated with a number of new features, a tweaked UI, and you no longer need an invite to try it.

If you've never used Aviate, it bills itself as an intelligent home screen that changes to fit your location and the time of day. It categorizes apps and pulls in location-based content from various apps and services. You can also switch between these "Spaces" manually.

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Yahoo has just posted the news about the update, and it appears to still be propagating across Google Play. We don't know what the version number is right now, but it was 1.3.2 before, so maybe 2.0? Whatever it is, it's clear from the screens and blog post that Aviate is getting a real makeover.

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Here are the new features as listed by Yahoo.

  • Favorites: Yahoo Aviate automatically suggests “Favorites” for your most popular contacts. Swipe up from the homescreen to call, text, or email people you chat with daily.

  • Calendar: Connect to conference calls with a single tap (no more typing out conference codes!). On your way to dinner? Aviate makes it simple to call an Uber. Running late to a meeting? Easily email everyone attending if you’re running late.

  • Daily Habits Galore: With a single swipe, you can access your alarm clock, weather, daily news summary, and a curated Flickr image of the day. It also takes it a step further - instead of giving you a snapshot of the weather, Aviate will alert you if today’s weather will be noticeably different than yesterday’s, so you can dress appropriately

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The interface in general looks quite a bit different in this version. The favorite app bar is smaller, and the open desktop space seems much larger. The swipe-up gesture may also have been axed in favor of an extra panel on the left. We'll have to wait on the update to fully roll out to know how it all works.

[Yahoo Aviate]