There are only a few launchers that have stood out from the pack since Ice Cream Sandwich came along, and one of them is TeslaCoil's Nova Launcher. Just in time for the brand new Nexus devices and Android 4.2 update, the developers have freshened up Nova with a compatibility update. The latest version has been updated to play nice with 4.2 (Jelly Bean+) as well as add a couple of features for those of you lucky enough to be running the latest version of Android.
The biggest change is the addition of the Quick Settings function on the tablet layout, just like the stock launcher.
Back when ICS was released, it brought a whole new stock launcher, leaving old-style GB launchers in the dust. One such launcher - ADW - just received a massive update in the Play Store, bringing it back from the dead.
This is basically a full re-write of the launcher, but it still offers many of the features that made ADW and ADW EX so popular back in the day, including icon themes, gestures, widget resizing, and more.
ADW is of course, free in the Play Store, while its "pro" version - ADW EX - will set you back three bucks. If you were a fan of ADW back in the day, or are just looking for a new launcher to test out, hit the widget to check it out.
Most of our readers consider themselves power users, and rightly so. Perhaps you don't have a spare 1.8 seconds to laboriously tap the Home button, then the app launcher, then that app you use every third Tuesday. Well, obsessive customizers, your new best friend on the Google Play Store is FlipLauncher, a free app that embeds up to five completely adjustable launcher ribbons over any and every part of Android.
Don't let its admittedly plain looks fool you: FlipLauncher is surprisingly versatile. By default, it puts five candy-colored tabs on the left side of your screen. Swipe right on any of them to open up a ribbon, which can hold four apps or shortcuts.
Looks like it's been quite a busy day for the guys over at TeslaCoil software: they just pushed updates to both Nova Launcher and TeslaUnread, the add-on app that allows Nova and WidgetLocker to display unread counts. The two updates go hand-in-hand, so let's start with the latter.
TU's update brings support for several more services, including Samsung Email, HTC Email, AOSP Email, Motorola Email, K-9, Google Voice, and Google Reader. It also adds support for multiple GMail accounts. Yay!
Along those same lines, Nova was updated to support unread counts for all the aforementioned apps, as well as a few other bug fixes:
Include Android 4.1.2 changes * Fix Transparency on Samsung Jellybean Fix blank desktop when leaving drawer Fix icon pack crash on some HTC devices Fix drawer not correctly remembering position Miscellaneous fixes * Note: The setting for auto-rotate remains at Nova Settings > Look & Feel > Screen Orientation > Auto-rotate
If you're already a Nova user, the updates are now live in the Store.
Looking to give users the "fastest, smartest launcher for Android," Jesse Andersen brought Conjure to the Play Store recently. The app, which is actually more of a launcher companion, can perform an incredible range of actions, from finding and launching apps to calling contacts, adjusting device settings (like volume, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.), and searching the web.
What's great about this app is not that it can do a lot, but that it actually adapts to your usage, storing a history of actions and listing content results by frequency of use. It can even recognize abbreviations for app names when searching.
It's National Custom Launcher Update Day! Didn't you know? Hot on the heels of Nova Launcher's recent update, Apex Launcher was also bumped up to v1.3. Only, with that update, the launcher decided to FC every time it was opened. Bummer.
You can't keep a good launcher down, so the Apex team just pushed a point update to the launcher - bringing it to v.1.3.1 - that fixes the FC issue, so it works like a top now. Yay!
This new version of Apex brings a slew of new features, enhancements, and other goodies with it - just take a look at the changelog:
Rebuilt based on JB launcher (works on ICS too) * Desktop items automatically re-arrange to fit * Long press and fling to remove items * Performance boost for homescreen and drawer New features * Option to switch to tablet UI * Custom drawer grid settings * Activity animation options Other improvements and bugfixes * Improved vertical drawers * Custom widget picker (requires JB or root) * Unlimited drawer tabs (pro) * Fixed paid themes under JB * Many misc.
One of the biggest drawbacks to new versions of Android is that it can take forever for the new features to roll out to current users. For launcher-specific items, though, we can always count on developers to bring us up to speed. Nova Launcher has done just that with several Jelly Bean-esque add-ons to its ICS-compatible app, including automatic rearranging of desktop elements, and the ability to fling apps and widgets away to remove them from your homescreen.
Here's the full list of what's new:
Since 1.3.0 Fix preview screen Misc minor fixes Since 1.2.2 Jellybean launcher features (Works with ICS) -Desktop automatically rearranges to fit -Long-press then fling to delete items -Project butter related enhancements Import from other launchers Custom drawer grid size Uninstall on quick menu Performance improvements - Smoother scrolling - Faster load - Reduction of memory usage - Reduction of APK size Fixes
The update is available via the Play Store and should be a welcome addition to anyone running a skinned launcher on an ICS device.
Most of the home screen replacements out there are just variations on a theme. There are scrollable panels, icons, and an app drawer. Foneclay is something entirely different. With this app, you can turn your phone into functional, though bizarre art.
The app itself is essentially just a front end for downloading and installing the artistic home screen apps. Tap on one that looks interesting, and you can preview the UI before you download. Each home screen is installed like any other non-Play Store app from system dialogs. Some of the options are more impressive than others, with animations and really cool art.
Chameleon Launcher received what I would call its first "major" update today, bringing the launcher up to version 0.8.0. Naturally, you can expect performance improvements and bug fixes, but the update also brings something that users have been asking for since the beta launched: more widgets.
The new offerings in the widget department include Facebook, time, and a "switches" widgets that brings power control options to the launcher. Unfortunately, the switches aren't yet customizable, so you're stuck with a stock set of options that includes airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, brightness, GPS, and sync. Hopefully the Chameleon team will bring the ability to customize these in a future update.
The Android launcher has always been ground zero for device customization, and most launchers make at least some concession to user options. But TSF Shell, which we've covered before, surely takes the cake for sheer flexibility. The latest update, to Beta version 1.6.0, adds a dazzling amount of new features. Granted, most of these are eye candy - something that TSF never lacked in the first place - but a few of them are genuinely useful. The ability to select and move multiple apps at a time is something I've wished stock and source-based launchers would implement for years.
The mini-docks on the right and left of TSF, as well as the homescreen itself, get plenty of small tweaks and options.