The folks over at TeslaCoil have been hard at work. Just a week or so after testing a ton of small but significant changes in the 3.0 beta release of the popular Nova Launcher, they've expanded them to the full Play Store version. Check out our breakdown of some of the more significant additions for more details. But there's one more trick up its sleeve for the general release: the "OK Google" hotword.
For my money, Nova Launcher is the best of the AOSP-style launchers available in Android. Developer TeslaCoil Software has consistently updated the launcher for the better part of three years, and one of the biggest updates is coming soon. Nova 3.0 won't add any earth-shattering changes, but there are a bunch of little changes that will thrill the customization-obsessed in small ways.
On the homescreen, you can now customize the text below shortcuts to a greater degree with color and shadow options, and widgets can now have individual padding settings.
In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.
Google blew a lot of minds with its Android Wear announcement yesterday. The ambitious project, which aims to put a specialized version of Android on as many wearables (for now watches) as possible, has been talked about, analyzed, and previewed heavily for the past 24 hours, but there's still more to discuss.
Today, we've got the Android Wear launcher (extracted from the emulator) as it currently exists. This is an early version of the home launcher that you'll see on the Moto 360 and likely other wearable devices coming in the near future.
Today Mozilla showed off something that seems like it's an amazing addition to its software portfolio: a Firefox Android homescreen launcher. That would be huge news, if it weren't for the fact that Mozilla invested in the promising launcher Everything.me (later rebranded EverythingMe) in November of 2012, eventually making its search-focused interface a core part of the Firefox mobile OS, which is just now getting off the ground. Now Mozilla and EverythingMe are showing off a tweaked version of that app, rebranded as Firefox Launcher for Android.
You remember Everything.me, right? About a year ago it popped up in the Play Store as a homescreen replacement built around search. It aimed to deliver a smarter, context-based experience by generating suggestions using automatically generated themes and suggestions for apps and websites. The project even drew the attention of Mozilla and ultimately became the interface of Firefox OS. Today, Everything.me leaves beta and changes its name ever so slightly to EverythingMe.
There are a lot of apps like SwipePad, and no matter how many we cover, I keep coming back to the original. Loopr is the first app in a while that's tempted me away, thanks to both an impressive visual presentation and some thoughtful features. At its heart Loopr is a a quick app launcher/switcher with the usual side-swiping mechanism, this time launched as a semicircle of icons similar to Circle Launcher Widget.
SwipePad is a gesture-based app switcher that lets users open a selection of apps without exiting the one they're in beforehand. The latest update isn't a large one, but it's bound to make using the launcher slightly less annoying. Now users have the option to select apps that should disable SwipePad's functionality while they are running. The recently updated version of Carbon, with its new slide-out view, is an example of one such app that could benefit from this option.