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✏ Android Launchers

This is a Wiki Post. Everybody can edit it to add information.

Hello,

inspired by this Topic I thought a Topic where different launchers can be introduced to other users could be interesting.

A Launcher is the program, that shows your homescreens, allows you to organize your Apps and gives you the possibility to place your widgets. Because this App can be changed like every other App on Android, you can simply change the look and feel of your phone by changing the launcher.

Because everybody has different preferences this Wiki should introduce several launchers. You can add your
preferred one to the list (in alphabetic order). Please explain what makes the launcher unique and please try to be objective by doing this.

Action Launcher 3

The Action Launcher 3 is one of these projects which are driven by one creative person. At the firs look the launcher looks very standard but the developer has added some clues.

The most popular is the Quickdrawer. This is a alphabetic sorted list of all your installed Apps. You can open it by swiping from left to the middle of your screen. At the right side of the list you will find the letters A to Z, by tapping one of this letters you jump to the first App with this letter at the list. If you tap an App from the list it will start.

Two other clues are covers and shutters, these techniques allow you to swite up on icons of your homescreen to start a widget, app or shortcut.

The Quicktheme feature extracts the colors from your Wallpaper and themes the folder backgrounds, google searchbox etc. Based on them.

Most of the more interesting features are reserved for the payed Pro version so it is almost a must to buy the Pro version if you want to participate of Action Launchers full power.

Restricted features in free version.
Price of pro version 4.99€
Licence: Proprietary

Buzz Launcher

This Launcher is highly customizable. You can for example set the grid for the icons on the screen from 1x1 to 12x12. So that means you can have up to 144 icons or even widgets on one screen. You can toggle the Status bar, icon labels, a customizable Dock and so forth. If you have multiple screens (up to 9) you can have a different wallpaper on each one.
There is also the possibillity to share your custom Screen (‘homepack’) with the community. Community members uploaded thousands of homepacks including many that emulate other OSs (like Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS, Cyanogen Mod, Windows Phone, iOS, …)
Special: flashlamp works!
With badge Notification for all Messenger apps i tried exept Whatsapp :slight_smile:
Licence: proprietary
Price: Free

Catapult / Trebuchet Launcher

This is the default Launcher in CyanogenMod. It has a very clean layout (without “we need to be different” stuff), that is orientated towards the stock Google Launcher. Furthermore, it allows many useful additions, such as:

  • adjust the number of rows and columns of your screen to place the icons and widgets on
  • resizing support for widgets
  • enabling / disabling the Google search bar
  • enabling / disabling icon descriptions
  • configuring the default home screen
  • configuring the visual swipe effect

No badge Notification
Lincence: Apache 2.0

Fairphone Launcher

The Fairphone Launcher is the default Launcher your telephone was shipped with. It is massively inspired by the Google Launcher. Unlike the Google Launcher it does not have a classical, always visible, dock. As key feature it shows the dock at your finger position while you swipe from one side of the screen to its center. So the dock won’t waste room on your homescreen if you don’t need it.

The launcher will be enhanced by several widgets like „your apps“ and „peace of mind“ and several video tutorials explaining the launcher itself.

Version 1

The Version 1 of the Fairphone launcher comes with all currently downloadable versions of the Fairphone OS.

Version 2

The Version 2 launcher was introduced in the withdrawn Fairphone OS 1.8 and was heavily criticized wich is why 1.8.5 comes with the Version 1 launcher again.
With the release of 1.8.5 alot of people who previously installed 1.8. are not happy about the “change” of the launcher again wich is why the apk can be downloaded. (does not work with FP2)

Also see this discussion on how to get the bigger icons back.
For people who don’t want to update to 1.8.5 but don’t like the V2 launcher see this post.

No badge Notification

Firefox Launcher (experimental)

See discussion.

KISS Launcher

Another smart launcher like, e.g. Z-Launcher (see below), but more mature and elaborate (with contacts you can choose between SMS or call. And if you type numbers, KISS suggests “Call 09998887776” at once). But the best thing: It is FLOSS and available for free on F-Droid. [added by @Stefan]

No badge Notification
Licence: MIT

Launcher3

Launcher 3 is a simple open source Launcher based on the original Android Open Source Project (AOSP). It gives you more or less the same experience as the un-customized launcher developed by Google for Android. It is open source and available for free at f-droid.org.

Nova Launcher

It has been reported that Nova Launcher makes the FP2 crash.
(I’m using nova launcher for four weeks now, and didn’t have any crashes…)

The Nova Launcher is very classic, it offers several Homescreens and you can place Apps and Widgets on it like you want. So far nothing special. So why is the Nova Launcher one of the most successful launchers for years?

First thing is that Nova launcher simply works, it is stable and quick for years and it receives updates for years. On the other hand the developers have added tons of options to customize the launcher at your wishes. You can define how many homescreens you want, how many apps will fit on each of them, if the Dock should be hidden, shown or autohide how scrolling between the homescreens look, what background app groups should have etc.

The payed Pro Version also offers the possibility to define groups (Tabs) in the App drawer and allows to define gestures. It also allows to define icon swipes. So you can define that a group just opens if you swipe up on its icon and a default App will be started if you tap it.

No badge Notification

OpenLauncher

A new Open Source Launcher with potential. Development began on 21.03.2017. Requires Android 4.1 or newer.
You can download it on F-Droid: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=OpenLauncher&fdid=com.benny.openlauncher

Smart Launcher 3

The Filesize of about 3 megabyte indicates, that the Smart Launcher is very minimalistic. And yes it is. But it also proves, that “minimalistic” can be a compliment.

Smart Launcher 3 offers exactly one homescreen with exactly one widget and the App-Flower. This main feature allows you to organize your favorite Apps in a clear cycle, having them in direct access. You can add two Apps for every item at the App-Flower, the first one will be started with a single tap the other one with a double tap. You can also define Folder Items, these will presend a collection of chosen Apps on singe tap (you can also start a specified App with a double tap).

In Version 3 of the Smart launcher you can use an App Arc inset of the App Flower this groups all your favorite Apps at the lower right (or left side for left handed people) side of your phone. This makes it possible to start then with your thumb even on big Screens.

All other Apps can be found at the categorized App drawer which can be opened by pressing a virtual button or swiping from left to right. Your Apps become categorized automatically but you can move them between the categories. Not used app symbols like licenses or widget icons can be hidden from the folder.

The payed pro Version offers special widget homescreens which can be opened, almost like the app drawer, by using a button or with a swipe from right to left. These homescreens can only hold widgets witch clearly separates them from app starters.

Another pro feature are popup widgets. These are normal widgets but they are shown by double taping an item in the app flower. If you have defined a item to start your music player for example, you can define this item to show a player widget on double tap, just it want to skip a song quickly.

While you can define one finger gestures on the free version you can also add two finger gestures with the pro version.

The whole concept of this launcher is very strict but this makes it look very simple and clean. So using it will be very stress less.

No badge notifications by default, but available through a seperate plugin by the developer (“Plugin Notifications”).

Z-Launcher

Still in beta, Zlauncher is one of these “smart” laucher, like for exemple Yahoo Aviate or Everything me, wich adapt the content of the home screen according to the recorded usage. The main particularity is that you can “scribble” on the screen, with you finger, to draw letters and perform in phone or web based searchs. Results will be displayed in a “smart” manner", according to your recorded usage and preferences. One drawback, if you care about privacy, is that the laucher has to collects a lot of datas about your usage, location and so on, te perform in an optimal way. It is provided by Nokia (not the part purchased by Microsoft), and used by default on the Nokia N1 Tablet. Usage is very easy, and it’s not for you if you like to navigate through differents options and menu. Still, it can be customized using icons packs and wallpapers, even dynamic wallpapers like Muzei.

Google Now Launcher

This launcher is provided by Google and allows you to get features and some of the visuals of later Android versions. The main feature is integrated Google Now which gets its own screen and is thus only one swipe away from the home screen. And – since this is from Google – the search bar is fixed on every screen of the launcher. Apart from that it is a pretty standard launcher with a 4-icon dock at the bottom, folders, widgets, and the app overview.

Obviously, this is most useful, if one uses Google Now (and probably only works if Google services are installed…

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