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. Read More
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. Read More
Now that the developers of the more popular apps in the Play Store have come to grips with the changes in Android 4.4, it's high time to see them take advantage of the new options. Such is the case with popular alternative homescreen Apex Launcher, which exits its KitKat-enhanced beta and lands on the Play Store today. The new version adds a host of visual tweaks to bring the launcher up to date with 4.4. Read More
Themer wowed us with its introduction a few months back, and today's update to the powerful homescreen replacement and customization app is the largest yet. The biggest change is a redesigned app drawer, which allows for both the standard scrolling view and a new Categories screen. Categories are basically folders, but they're displayed like Google Now cards, and automatically populated with apps. You can manually tweak them if you want. Read More
KitKat introduces a lot of much-needed features into Android, like better support for low-memory devices, a new storage framework, SMS integration with BLAH BLAH BLAH. We all know what the people want: transparent user interface elements! Following Nova Launcher's update to better visually match the KitKat launcher on the Nexus 5, popular alternative Apex Launcher now has a beta version that does much the same thing.
The beta version was released to the Apex Launcher Beta Google Group, which you can find here. Read More
So you didn't get a Nexus 5 – that's okay. You can still get that shiny new KitKat look and feel with the new Nova Launcher beta. It won't get you all the way there (the transparent nav bar is limited, for example), but the new version of this third-party homescreen has a lot of little visual tweaks to make it look almost like the real thing.
The Nova Launcher developer posted recently about the changes that were coming in light of KitKat, and now here we are. Read More
One of the more drool-worthy aspects of the software from the Nexus 5 (and not necessarily Android 4.4) is the homescreen and launcher, which includes a ton of new features tied directly into Google Now and Google Search. But you might want to curb your enthusiasm: according to a report from The Verge, Google isn't interested in expanding that launcher to other devices at the moment.
Google tells us that the new Launcher on the Nexus 5 is exclusive to the phone — though the company may change its mind and offer it for the Nexus 4 and perhaps even put it on the Play store someday.
So it looks like a lot of you were excited by Themer, MyColorScreen's custom launcher which promises no-hassle installations of some of the fantastic homescreens featured on the site. After a month in closed beta the service is now open, so you no longer need a code to get access to those sweet, sweet themes. The free app is available on smartphones (and only smartphones) running Android 4.1 or later.
MyColorScreen was eager to share two key statistics with us after four weeks in full operation. Read More
The Fallout series has had a unique retro-futuristic aesthetic for nearly its entire run: it's a strange mix of post-apocalyptic settings sprinkled with themes of 50s and 60s Americana. Android customization enthusiast Turner Davis has applied this unique aesthetic to a massively-customized homescreen based on the game's PipBoy gadget, now on display at MyColorScreen. Best of all, he's detailed the steps needed to recreate this masterpiece.
For the uninitiated, the PipBoy is a wrist-mounted computer, sort of like a mix between an Apple II and Turanga Leela's ever-present watch thingy. Read More
Widgets are an indispensible part of Android for many users, including yours truly. It's just too bad that they're so ugly - who wants to use a 1080p screen for looking at Twitter feeds or checking emails when you could stare at some fantastic wallpaper instead? All joking aside, Popup Widget is a pretty fantastic solution for those who prefer their homescreens without clutter.
It's a simple idea: instead of having a big, space-consuming widget sit there all the time, hide it in a shortcut. Read More