Developer Klinker Apps, the folks behind the Talon Twitter client and the EvolveSMS messaging app, have just released Blur, a free launcher replacement that takes the approach introduced by the Google Now Launcher and opens it up to other apps. With Blur, any app that adds on support for the launcher can have its own dedicated page that rests right on a person's homescreen. In practice, this means users can swipe to the left to access their Twitter feed, text messages, a basic calculator, or a dedicated Google Now page that the Klinker brothers MacGyvered to imitate the GNL. More pages are hopefully on the way.

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Out of the box, Talon and EvolveSMS are the only apps currently supported, as Klinker Apps has already updated both to work with Blur (with Talon, users will need to download a separate app to make things work). But the developers have already released an extension API so that others can integrate their apps.

The emphasis on pages isn't the only GNL inspiration to be found here. Blur comes off as (and largely is) a customizable version of Google's launcher, as it looks and feels very similarly but has options for custom icon packs, icon sizes, fonts, wallpaper scrolling, and more. Users can also hide certain apps from view, lock the homescreen, use their favorite widgets, and perform various other tasks they've come to expect from custom launchers. OK Google hotword detection also works for devices running 4.4. There's also an experimental feature that adds unread counts, but it requires users to install another app.

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Klinker Apps has shown off Blur running on the preview build of Android L, and it's obvious the team has developed the app with the future in mind. An L-inspired tray icon sits at the bottom of the default homescreen, and apps swoop from the bottom of the screen once opened. Things run smoothly, but they also come off as a bit of a tease.

The Play Store says that Blur contains in-app purchases, but that refers the ability to donate to the developers from within the app. All of the functionality is available from the beginning. To get started, here's a link to the launcher. You know what to do with it.

Source: Google+

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Any sense of whether this gets resource-intensive?

    • joeljfischer

      It shouldn't any more than a widget would (from the perspective of a software engineer with only guesses at how they implemented this).

  • NF

    Cool. I'm always a fan of apps with plugins. Hopefully it's not too hard to integrate some popular apps with this. Until then, it's just a rather bland launcher. Will AP continue to update us on this app?

  • p4

    he keeps saying deeve, and its bothering me lol .. thats not how u say it guy!

  • cabbieBot

    I went ahead and joined the beta, threw it on a test tablet. It's very sparse but has a lot of promise...it's going to succeed/fail based on 3rd party support, that much is apparent, especially if you aren't a Talon or Evolve user. I couldn't see using this on my daily driver phone yet because Google Now serves me up with a lot of good info these days.

  • Daniel Marcus

    I don't particularly see the point in using this over a widget aside from the fact that it's likely easier to develop for this than a widget, because widgets have specific restrictions to lessen resource consumption.

  • Shane

    Now to get more "Deevs" involved ! lol.

  • Seireitei

    Just tried it. I like the idea of having a the talon page - I will say that there were some issues with the theme I was using tho. The part of the notification bar that covers the talon pages action bar was transparent white and the rest of the notification bar that covers the timeline was solid black. I would like it if we could completely hide the talon page action bar so it looks just as the actual app does.

  • Amit_N

    Nova Launcher Devs.. Y U NO make this feature ??

    • Sac Bunt Chris


    • RTWright

      Because that is what is known to all of us as making a choice. Use the one that has what you want, don't demand for all of them to be the same. What's the point in being all the same? I'm sticking with Nova myself, sick of all this Google Now crap. If I want to access it, it's a touch away, I don't need it in everything I do.

    • Eisenhorn1976

      You can always use Blur, you know. Looking at the track record of the Klinker brothers, they're going to try to make this the very best app it can be. I would not be surprised if some variation of Nova's best features made it into Blur.

  • Hamza

    Now this name just brings up bad memories of motoblur.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    I guess I've reached an age where everything new is just too complicated or "not good enough". Grumpy old man. I'm gonna use Nova till my last breath.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Holy crap, this is so awesome. Can you guys imagine if you could use games the same way? Scroll away - you are back to home. Scroll back - you're in game

    • Deev

      Of all the things you could imagine, a game is what you pick? Still. It makes things a lot more productive. Get a text halfway through an email, reply and swipe straight back to the email. Refer to that document while doing that. Makes me wish this was implemented throughout android as an optional setting.

      • Guest

        The only thing though that I am not liking about the launcher is the icon grid style, I would like it better with stock-ish style like in GNL

  • froleo

    Very reminiscent of what Chameleon launcher tried to with their "apps on homescreen widgets." I loved the concept of what Chameleon was trying to do, but they failed miserably in the performance and features department. 3rd party development didn't pick up much either unfortunatley.

    Ever since Chameleon launcher I've been looking for Facebook, Gmail, Wheater, Twitter and Instagram widgets with coherent UI that quickly gives me the feeds, at a glance straight from the the launcher. I am yet to find anything that is as satisfying as the unified Chameleon widgets. Most stock android widgets only show random highlighted post, and forces you to enter each app to enter the feed.

    I really hoped that Google would introduce some design guidlines and more powerful tools for widgets in Android L. I can't stand to use standard widgets as most of them are all over the place in terms of looks and design. Chameleon-like widgets with coherent and powerful features for all launchers would be awesome.

    Anyway, I hope Blur gains the attention of 3rd party developers. Would love to see the revival of a Chameleon-esque launcher that actually works properly.

  • Deeco

    What Talon theme is that?

  • http://playdreamcreate.com/ Miguel Angel

    This is awesome. I wanted the same idea to manifest in the google launcher. Can't wait for deevs to take advantage of this.

  • StankyChikin

    If I could hide icons in the app drawer I'd probably use this.

  • alfreduran

    Hi! I don't like, looks some simple, while I'm using Nova Launcher(with L Android animations) and Google Launcher in my Nexus 5 D820 32Gb. Greetings from Colombia 😉 👍 🍻

  • Carlos A

    This is just what the 'CM Home' project from Cyanogemod is, right?

  • fredphoesh

    Aside from the "Deeve problem"... seems nice, but how is it different from having full page widgets for your favourite apps on those pages... I do that myself with Tasks and DigiCal and Yatse for xbmc...