ADW Launcher was one of my first introductions into Android customization. For the longest time, it was the cornerstone of my homescreen strategy and I'd spend hours perfecting a setup with icons, colors, widgets, until I'd start again a couple of days later. Heck, one of the first Android roundups I ever wrote (warning: not an AP post) was about customization and had ADW Launcher as the first recommendation. Read More
Nova Launcher needs no introduction - it's arguably the most customizable and polished third-party launcher for Android. The base version supports all the usual home screen stuff, as well as icon themes, color controls, multiple app drawer and home screen styles, the ability to import layouts from other launchers, and much more. Nova Launcher Prime (the paid upgrade) goes even further, offering the ability to hide apps, create tabs or folders in the app drawer, unread counts on icons, and more. Read More
Part 1 of this teardown broached the subject of a new set of circular launcher icons Google is creating for use on the homescreen, possibly just for the Pixel Launcher. It likely speaks to future plans for the look and feel of Android, but there's no denying that new icons are cosmetic – they don't actually do anything. Part 2 of this teardown switches over to the functional side as evidence shows Launcher Shortcuts will return with Android 7.1.
The Launcher Shortcuts API was introduced with the second Android N Developer Preview and quickly gained attention as a spiritual copy of the Home Screen Quick Actions introduced with iOS 9, and inspired many theories that pressure-sensitive screens would become a standard in Android. Read More
Over the past couple of days, I've been trying a new Android launcher called ASAP. Although I am not sure the name fits the launcher well, or is appropriate enough for my use — after all, I have perfected Nova's folders to my habits — I do appreciate several of ASAP's features and think it could be a great fit for many users.
What you need to know about ASAP though is that while it looks like most Android launchers, it doesn't work like them at all. There are no widgets, no multiple homescreens in the traditional sense, no app folders, and not even icons on the homescreen itself. ASAP does away with all of that and focuses on quick access to the app drawer, an expandable dock, and several cards to complement the main homescreen. It might sound horrid to some of you who are accustomed to many of the missing features, but it does work in its own quirky way. Read More
There was some stiff competition for alternative launchers in the early days of Android, but now thanks to tireless dedication and improvement from the developer, the excellent Nova Launcher stands at the top of the pile. Nova has been one of our favorite apps since it debuted way back in the Ice Cream Sandwich days, and while it's quite serviceable as a free app, the $4.99 upgrade to the Prime version is worth every penny. Luckily, you won't actually have to pay every penny today: it's on sale for 99 cents. Read More