Getting bored with your tired, old phone? Craving a new experience but find yourself stuck with your current handset for a while? Maybe what you need is a new launcher. Switching to a new launcher doesn't just give your phone a fresh look, but can also challenge you to interact with it in fun new (maybe even productivity-boosting) ways. Earlier this year we went hands-on with the very clean-looking Niagara Launcher, and now we're learning about a new beta release with features that are just ready to pop.
What are we talking about? The name of the game here is "pop-ups," and in the context of Niagara that means windowed elements that can contain anything from app shortcuts to widgets — they're basically a flexible, folder-like component. Swiping has always been a key part of how users interact with Niagara, and now with the latest beta that's extended to opening pop-ups — just swipe on an app to bring up its pop-up with notification, shortcuts, or one of those widgets. The idea is that this all connects you with your information quicker, and users have full control over what kind of content they want to see in their pop-ups.
Just swipe for pop-ups.
We're also seeing the arrival of folders, integrated with these pop-ups. Niagara has never had what we'd think of as traditional "folders," so this is a big step towards feature completion (which the dev thinks he may have just hit). Just bear in mind that all this is a bit limited in the free release, and for full pop-up support with widgets and all, you're going to want Niagara Launcher Pro — you can check out the full breakdown of feature differences in the announcement post.
Finally, we've got the ambitious-sounding Niagara Button, a customizable Google replacement for performing quick actions. It's still very much in development at the moment, but interested users can get started with the beta for an early look.