If you’re a user of Android you may already know what launchers actually are. Those are the programs which lets you open up different apps, categorize them and responsible for making your device more user friendly.
One of the beauties of Android is how Android lets you create your own launchers if you’re a developer or use different launchers for getting a better experience unlike Windows Phone or iPhone/iPad/iPod etc. In this article I write about the top 7 launchers for Android which I think everyone should try. Each of them is really popular and has a lot of potential. I have added a poll as well for all you people to vote for your favorite launcher. Please note that I am not ordering the launchers according to their ranks or anything as such. These are the launchers which I found pretty interesting and there is no actual reason for me to rank them.
This might come as a surprise to some but chances are that if you are using a Samsung, HTC or any other major brand on your mobile phone you still haven’t tried the true stock Android launcher. Most brands have their own launcher shipped with the phone.
Google Now Launcher is a launcher that is stripped down to the bare minimum without being dull or boring, it just does what it supposed to while looking great in a very minimalistic way. So if your running a the stock launcher from e.g. Samsung out advice is to try this true vanilla Android launcher.
Yahoo Aviate Launcher was released last year and is quite different in how it works. This is the launcher I am currently using for my Android device. The launcher is pretty awesome and will give you a whole different experience on your Android device. If it makes you feel any better, this launcher was recently acquired by YAHOO!. This app changes your device throughout the day.
Here is how the developers describe it.
Aviate automatically categorizes all of your apps, and intelligently rearranges your homescreen throughout the day to dynamically give you the apps and information you need most, at precisely the moment you need it.
Aviate is an intelligent homescreen that simplifies your phone and surfaces information at the moment it’s useful.
Now coming to the features, the launcher has mainly three screens, the home screen, then the collections screen and then the A-Z list of apps. The home screen will let you add any widgets or apps which you might find important. The collections screen is responsible for categorizing the apps to different sections so that you don’t have do it manually. But if you see some apps categorized in the wrong way you’ll be able to re arrange it manually.
Here are the major features as described by Aviate which in my opinion works flawlessly.
- Wake up, and Aviate automatically brings you weather and your meetings for the day
- When you’re at work, have all the apps you need to get your job done ready to go
- When driving, Aviate automatically gives you traffic and directions home
- Out to dinner, Aviate automatically shows you photos, tips and reviews for your favorite restaurant.
- When plugging in your headphones, Aviate shows you music apps with relevant information about the artist/band you’re listening to, including recent Tweets, upcoming concerts, and bios.
- Update: Supports custom icon packs
Come on, try it and let us know what do you think about it. Aviate gives you a new experience with Android and is definitely worth a try, though it might not be for everyone.
This is another of those immensely popular launchers. Smart Launcher is being used by over 6 millions of Android users and has an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Now I know this is not enough for most people. So let’s dive into the details and features. The new trend is minimalistic and flat. And just like Nova launcher this one too offers a very minimalistic interface and uses very low resources. The PRO version of the app has some additional features which the free version doesn’t have. These features include a secondary screen where you will be able to place widgets and include a lock screen as well. Another difference is in the number of transitions and colours available for the home screen customization.
If you’re new into android launchers, then you have to know that being minimalistic doesn’t mean it has fewer features. It has a lot of awesome features of which I have given a few below.
– Drawer organized by categories
– Ready to use without further configurations.
– Customizable lock screen.
– Full support for API 4.4 (transparent system bars)
– Live Wallpaper Support.
– It supports every screen and device (Google TV too!!)
– Widget support (PRO version only).
– Support of set of icons for ADW Launcher, Apex Launcher, Nova Launcher and Launcher Pro.
– Possibility to change a single icon in the drawer.
– You can hide every app you want by long pressing an app, then select menu → Hide.
– Quick search.
– Dozens and dozens of global themes, which will allow you to change all elements of the interface.
– Easy access to apps info.
– Designed to be used comfortably also in landscape mode.
– Option to hide the statusbar.
Nova launcher is a launcher that definitely deserves a mention here. Most of the internet polls about android launchers show that this one is easily one of the best and most popular launchers for android. Nova launcher is popular for its simplicity and its ease of use. There are no complicated feature whatsoever in Nova. But want to know why I included Nova in the list, read on.
Nova is a performance driven and bug free launcher which works flawlessly even if you have a lot of opened apps at any given moment. The major features include availability if different themes, transparent notification bar, availability of icon themes, support for Go Launcher/ADW Launcher icon themes, customizable app drawer, folders, availability of folder icons, widget overlapping feature etc. Some of the features are available only in the paid version of the app. But you won’t be missing out much even if you’re using the free version.
Would like to know more? Why don’t you give it a try and see if this is a launcher which suits you?
This launcher offers a similar range of functions as Nova. You can tweak the icon tray size and scrolling, change animations, adjust home screen behaviors, and customize gesture commands for various pinches, taps, and swipes. Standout features on Apex include a superb tablet mode – which finally allows users of the Nexus 7 to rotate the home screen – and the Pro version has the fantastic Apex Notifier service, which pushes notifications to a widget on your home screen. Infinite scrolling, transition animations, numerous folder styles and multiple app drawer styles add even more customizability. Furthermore, the paid version unlocks even more options, such as more drawer options, additional gestures, and added theme support. There are a wide range third party themes available in the Google Play Store which let you change the overall look of your Android experience, but as a functional core, Apex does extremely well.
To sum it up, here are the core features of the Apex Android Launcher (Basic Version). To check the Pro version features, click here
- Customizable homescreens and grid size
- Scrollable dock
- Infinite & elastic scrolling
- Fancy transition effects
- Customizable app and folder icons
- Multiple drawer styles
- Drawer apps sorting
- Hide apps from the drawer
- Enjoy homescreen gestures
- Backup/restore settings and data
Unlike many other android launchers, Buzz launcher doesn’t come with a proprietary Android look. It has a unique look which again can be customized as you like it. Moreover you can simply choose to use a custom home screen or themes which is created and shared by other Buzz users by installing it on your smartphone. That way you don’t have to use your imagination to create a stunning home screen. Below are some of the key features of Buzz Launcher.
- Select different wallpaper images for each screen
- Edit and resize icons on your own. Transparent icons are also supported (Theme icon pack is to be supported)
- Designate different grids for each screen (up to 12×12)
- Create folders in app drawers/Homescreen, modify folder images, and resize folders
- Features for viewing most frequently used apps, recently installed apps, and hiding apps
- Glide up, Glide down, Double-tap and more.
- Very simple – Homescreens downloaded and implemented within 5 seconds
[/sociallocker]So that’s it. If you would like to customize your custom launcher again by installing icon packs, be sure to check out list of top 5 icon packs of 2015. Now please do vote for your favorite launcher below and share your thoughts. If you have different favourite launcher, please do let us know that too by commenting below.
The Action Launcher 3 seems to be gaining a lot of ground fast and for a good reason. This Launchers offers many advanced and yet easy to use features. This theme has fully embraced Android Lollipop, and works brilliantly with devices that have received the coveted update. A slide-out app drawer provides users with quick access to their app library and widgets (with alphabetical sort keys), and special gestures such as “covers” (performed on top of a folder icon allow you to run given apps or shortcuts) and “shutters” (swipes on app icons to automatically display widgets) allow for speedy access.
• Quicktheme. In true Material Design fashion, the colors from your wallpapers are extracted, and used to customize the look of your layout. The Quickdrawer, folder background, Google Search box and more can all be themed with your wallpaper.
• Covers, an innovative take on folders that lets you launch apps and shortcuts without compromising the look of your carefully crafted home screen.
• Shutters, a unique feature that unlocks the power and potential of Android widgets. Swipe an app icon, and that app’s widget is automatically created and displayed.
• Quickdrawer, for instant access to all your apps.
• Fully customizable All Apps list.
• Quickpage, a fully-featured Home screen accessed from the right screen edge.
• Use icon packs, scale icons and change individual icons.
• Full tablet support.
• A wealth of options for you to customize and tweak your layout as you see fit.
Note: Some features require the Plus in-app upgrade.