It's time for us to come clean. We've been collectively living a lie, Android fans. Hiding our deepest desires and hoping they go away. Praying that maybe, Duarte willing, that we'll get something that's close enough that we'll be satisfied. But no more! Today, we shed the façade and embrace the truth: all we really want is a clean, simple UI that's not cluttered by drawers, widgets, or icons in shapes other than rounded squares.
In a post to its official blog today, the team behind Chameleon Launcher announced version 2.0, which simultaneously hit the Play Store. The update, which is – for now – only available to Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers, brings a handful of popularly requested features. Perhaps the biggest of these is optimization for the small screen. Yes, Chameleon is now specifically optimized to work on your smartphone as well as it does on your tablet.
Forget skeuomorphism. Why do we need things that look like objects if we can just use actual objects? That's what reddit user and notable George Bruns ballad davy_crockett thought. Using a combination of Apex launcher's ability to resize the icon grid and MultiPicture Live Wallpaper to use multiple photos for different homescreens, he created a layout that's made up entirely of real-world things. Want to play music? Tap the headphones.
Whether you use Windows Phone or not, chances are at some point you're going to have to get used to the concept of tiles. Microsoft's putting them everywhere. On your Xbox, PC, tablet... They're unavoidable. If you like the idea of tiles over icons, though, here's an app you might want to try out: Tile Launcher Beta. While it's not quite a clone of the MS-borne smartphone interface (for example, you can still have a custom background), it does place brightly colored squares on a continuous scrolling homescreen.
What makes a developer great is a continued commitment to a great product, and Apex Launcher dev Android Does has it in spades. Their latest in a long line of updates adds a handful of features, most of which are designed to allow the app to more seamlessly integrate with Android 4.2. There's a new shortcut to the Quick Settings menu, as well as modifications to the shortcut selection screen for 4.2 devices.
Chris Lacy, developer of the gorgeous, widely lauded Tweet Lanes, has finally brought his latest creation to the Play Store – Action Launcher.
As the name would suggest, Action Launcher is a custom launcher with an emphasis on its ever-present action bar. The action bar allows users to quickly open a side-panel app drawer which, in Lacy's words, "aims to allow you to load any app in one second from your home screen." The bar also features Search and Play Store shortcuts, along with an action overflow.
Apex launcher, following closely behind Nova Launcher, has updated to include support for the Android 4.2 update that's currently rolling out to various Nexus devices. If you like your launchers like you like your anterior corner of a butterfly's wings, you can download the update directly on your device. You'll also get a few new extras, including the option to close the app drawer after launching an app and better icon label handling.
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.
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.
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.