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Articles Tagged:

launcher

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Opinion: My early thoughts on Google's round icons (and consistency for its own sake)

By the time this post goes up, I'm sure most of our readers will have seen Google's circlified icons in the new Pixel launcher, bound for the new Pixel phones. I've been asked a few times what I think about the new launcher and, for the most part, I don't have a strong opinion. But I do have some thoughts about the circlified icons, some guesses at the rationale, and some thoughts about the downsides of consistency for its own sake. As with any written-from-the-outside post about design, I want to note up front that we aren't privy to any research, data, or other information Google used to make its decisions, so the best we can do is respectfully speculate and ponder.

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Pixel Launcher and Android 7.1 Sneak Peek Part 2: The return of Launcher Shortcuts [APK Teardown]

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.

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Pixel Launcher Sneak Peek Part 1: Google's new circular launcher icons [APK Teardown]

If there is anything you can count on to remain the same in Android, it's that Google is continually looking to change it. The visual style of the world's leading mobile operating system is updated every year as new versions are released, but it's with Google's own apps that there are almost constant shifts in what we're seeing. As we all know, Android 7.1 is in the works, and it's expected to be released alongside the upcoming Pixel and Pixel XL phones, which themselves will include a brand new (and much leaked) Pixel Launcher. For its latest daring design move, Google appears to be adopting a new look for the home screen, and it's all about circles.

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[Hands-on] ASAP Launcher is a familiar launcher with no homescreens, no widgets, no folders, and several cool features

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.

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[Deal Alert] Nova Launcher Prime is 99¢ ($4 off) in the Play Store for a limited time

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.

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[Deal Alert] Nova Launcher Prime Down To $0.99 On The Play Store In Many Countries

There comes a time when the launcher on your phone doesn't cut it anymore. Whether you're bored of the lack of customization in the Google Now Launcher, or you're annoyed by the superfluous elements of LG's launcher, or you want a more stock Android feel on your Samsung or HTC or Asus or other brand phone, Nova Launcher is one of the best alternatives you can turn to. The app has been a staple of the Android platform for years and years, evolving as Android grew and changed, and adding innovative features like icon normalization and more with time.

Nova Launcher Prime, the unlock key that enables gesture actions, unread count badges, custom drawer groups, app hiding, icon swipes, and more scroll effects, usually costs $4.99.

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[Update: Normalization Is Gone] Google App v5.8 Beta Brings Back Launcher Auto Rotation On Phones And Now Normalizes Icon Sizes For A Bit Of Consistency [APK Download]

Following the big improvements to Maps on Monday night, Google is hitting us again with another update that is sure to make quite a few users happy, at least for those that use the Google Now Launcher (a.k.a. GEL). Support for a rotating launcher screen on phones is back, and if that's not enough, there's also a nifty new rendering feature that resizes app icons so most of them will look more consistent on your home screen. This update appears to have come out of Google's beta channel, but we've got download links at the bottom if you want to jump on it right away.

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Android TV's Leanback Launcher Now Lets You Reorder Your Apps In Version 1.1.4 [APK Download]

Nexus Player owners are starting their week with plenty of goodies to enjoy. Yesterday saw the rollout of the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow factory images for their set-top box, and now its Leanback launcher is getting updated to a new version with a small but useful change: they can now re-order their apps!

Android TV launcher version 1.1.4 might not be live in the Play Store for everyone yet, but you can grab it from APK Mirror and install it on your Android TV device (regardless of whether or not it's running the new 6.0.1 Marshmallow update). Once you do, you can long-press on any app in the launcher, which then goes into a sokoban-like mode allowing you to move it and slide it into other positions on your app grid, and even delete it.

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EverythingMe Launcher Will Shut Down And Leave The Play Store Due To A Terminal Lack Of Money

It's a bad weekend for indie apps and services. After the PasswordBox team announced that its well-liked product would be folded into Intel's alternative, now a unique Android homescreen replacement is also going the way of the dodo. After amassing 15 million downloads since its debut early last year, EverythingMe will soon be shutting down and no longer available on the Play Store. As Douglas Adams said (and the company quoted on its farewell blog post), so long, and thanks for all the fish.

According to the post, the simple fact is that EverythingMe's business model wasn't bringing in enough revenue to sustain the development team.

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HomeUX Review: A Fresh, Elegant, And Unique Take On Android Launchers

Coming across a genuinely new launcher interface and paradigm on Android is rare. Most third-party clients try to emulate the default Android launcher and add some customizations and improvements here and there. Not to undermine the power of something like Nova Launcher, but there's only so many times you can swipe left and right between homescreens or tap to open and close an app drawer before you wonder what that new launcher you installed does differently. If you seek the novelty of a new welcoming interface each time you unlock your phone, choices are somewhat more limited especially if you want a reliable and simple app, not one that has been built for the sake of difference more than usability.

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