A new version of Chris Lacy's Action Launcher is rolling out today, and it brings an all-new feature that makes it a snap to search your apps. Well, I guess it technically makes it a swipe. Quickfind is a built-in search box in the app list that's accessible with a simple gesture. That's not all that's new—there are a number of other thoughtful tweaks and changes in v3.6.
Chris Lacy's Link Bubble floating browser was a cool idea right out of the gate, but you might notice that development has been slow. Today Lacy explains that his little indie dev company simply doesn't have the resources to do what needs to be done with the app, so he's sold Link Bubble (and TapPath) to an unnamed US startup. What does that mean to you? For starters there's a huge update today.
Action Launcher v3 came out a few months ago with a ton of refinements and a slimmed down feature set. I thought it was quite a nice app, but the lack of certain extras irked some users. Developer Chris Lacy has been hard at work pushing updates to the launcher since then, and today is a big one. Action Launcher v3.2 adds so much stuff I'm going to use our snazzy new multi-column layout for the changelog.
YouTube is a somewhat respectable internet destination, but that doesn't mean you want to turn a kid loose on it. HomeTube is the newest app from Chris Lacy, and it aims to make it easier for kids to watch the YouTube vids you deem appropriate. You can even give it a shot for free.
Developer Chris Lacy's last release was Link Bubble, an app that loads web pages in Chat Head-like bubbles that float on the screen until you need them. The newly released TapPath seeks to refine the mobile browsing experience even further by assigning different actions depending on how many times you tap a link.
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.
Android fosters a wide and varied app ecosystem, enabling companies both large and small to produce compelling software. The ability to write an app and easily distribute it to most of the world has given rise to independent developers like Chris Lacy, the man behind Action Launcher, Tweet Lanes, and most recently, Link Bubble. Chris took some time to answer a few questions and tell us a little about his experiences developing apps for Android.
AP: What attracted you to mobile development, and Android specifically?
Chris: Before I developed mobile apps I was a game developer. Given my interests in gadgets and technology, developing an interest in the mobile space was natural.
Link Bubble is already a pretty great app, but developer Chris lacy is apparently not content to rest on his laurels. There is already a Play Store beta program you can join to get the latest tweaks and features. Just a few steps and you're in.
For anyone not aware, Link Bubble is an app that loads web pages in the background and stacks them up in a floating bubble. You can maximize the bubble at any time to check out the web page, then close, minimize, or share them. There is already a v1.03 update in the works, and you can check it out if you join the beta group here, then opt into the test.
We're lucky to have capable mobile browsers on Android these days, but the experience of poking around on the web is still flawed in a number of ways. You're often stuck bouncing between two or three redirects because of apps, mobile sites, and link shorteners. Then there's the fundamentally modal experience of only having one thing up on the screen at a time. The result is lots of wasted seconds waiting for links to actually resolve at the final destination. Link Bubble from Chris Lacy changes that by loading links in the background with an awesome floating browser. This app has finally launched, and here's what you can expect.
Action Launcher is something special. The home screen replacement made its debut a short three months ago in December, and found its way into our hearts as one of (if not the) best app of the month. What makes Action Launcher a great replacement is that it's unique – AL is totally different from any Launcher we've yet seen, and it earns that distinction with a couple of signature features: first, all your apps are a quick slide away. Second, your home screen can have "covers," or folders that behave as the app on the "cover" when tapped, but which expand to a full selection when swiped.