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Action Launcher v40 adds improved device and web search functionality, plus a colorful new icon

The latest update to the ever-popular Action Launcher includes a new search feature that's been a year in the making. Version 40.0 includes Action Search, a powerful new tool that serves results from the web, your apps and contacts, your in-app search history, and your settings (from both your phone and Action Launcher itself). Also included is a snazzy new app icon.

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Xiaomi's Mint Launcher comes to the Play Store, but it's not available on any phones yet [APK Download]

Xiaomi has its own distinct style that can be a big adjustment for anyone used to a different version of Android. The company has moved closer to the Android mainstream as its international business has grown, launching phones like the Poco F1. That device sported a new launcher, and it looks like Xiaomi has decided to make it into a full-fledged app on the Play Store. The new Mint Launcher listing is up, but it won't install on any phones yet. Don't worry—we've got an APK for you.

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[Update: Out of beta] Action Launcher v38 adds Pie styling, more granular Quicktheme settings, and more

So, your stock home screen is getting you down? There are plenty of great alternatives in the Play Store including Action Launcher, and it just so happens there's a new beta build of Action Launcher popping up online. This one adopts more of Android Pie's look and feel—plus there are new settings, theme options, and more.

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Microsoft Launcher 5.1 beta adds a Pie-like 'digital health' feature [APK Download]

One of the most notable additions to Android 9 Pie was Digital Wellbeing, a feature that can help you track how you use your phone and alter your habits. Most people don't have Pie, but the latest beta update to the Microsoft Launcher has a similar (but more limited) feature. It's called "digital health."

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[Update: Fixed] You're not alone: A recent Google app update is causing launchers to constantly request your location

There was a time when the Google app was just a search box for your home screen (the package name is actually "googlequicksearchbox"). Now, it's an integral part of your phone that can add new and wonderful features via an update. Unfortunately, it can also introduce new and infuriating bugs. Case in point, a recent Google app update is causing launchers to ping your location every time you go home. Which launchers? It looks like all of them.

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[Update: Replacement launcher coming] Sony ends development of Xperia Home, will close beta community in the coming weeks

Sony's phones have long used the company's custom Xperia Launcher, which has offered some innovative features over the years. For instance, it was the first OEM to offer Google Feed integration. Sony fans could even join the Google+ beta community to get access to the latest builds. That's coming to an end soon. Sony has announced the end of feature development on the Xperia Launcher, and the beta community will vanish in a few weeks.

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Nova Launcher v5.2 is out with notification dots, round search bar style, and more

The final build of Nova Launcher v5.2 is rolling out to users as we speak. It comes with the usual raft of performance improvements and minor fixes, but this update also brings a little Android O flair to your phone. Nova Launcher now has O-style notification dots. There's other stuff, too. But dots.

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The newly revived Apex Launcher v3.2.0 is available in beta form [APK Download] [Update: Non-beta now live]

Launchers come and launchers go, but some of them come back. Who can forget the unexpected return of ADW Launcher recently? Not to be left out, the developers of Apex promised a comeback by the end of May, and now a new version is available. It's only a beta, but count this as a promise fulfilled.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: App shortcuts are supported in the Google Now Launcher

There were some interesting features announced as part of the launch of Google's Pixel phones. While some are exclusives to the new handsets, others are a part of the new Android 7.1 Nougat. One of the headlining features for the new OS version is the App Shortcuts API, a way for apps to offer fast access to select screens and functions. If you've been looking forward to trying it out, the Google Now Launcher in combination with today's developer preview fully supports app shortcuts and there's already plenty of examples to try out.

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Sony Xperia Home beta updated with full Google Now integration

Sony isn't making the most compelling Android phones these days, but it does at least try to put out good software. It's one of the most developer-friendly OEMs and it was even the first to release the N preview on non-Nexus hardware. Now, Sony has the distinction of being the first to do something else. The latest version of the Xperia Home beta has a Google Now pane just like the Google Now Launcher—no other OEM has done this on its custom launcher.

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