Quite a few hours are spent writing guides and reviews on apps to highlight which ones are worth a look. But have you ever wondered what we writers specifically pick out from the vast ecosystem of Android apps to run as our daily go-to’s?
I, like many of you, am always looking for a faster way to launch applications on my phone. There is the standard multitasking button that shows the recently used apps, but the key is the application had to of been recently used to launch it again. You can keep your favorite apps in the dock for quick access, but are forced to leave the app you are in just to return to the home screen in order to launch the next app. Plus, you are limited to just apps. What if you wanted to be able to launch any app, shortcut, or action right away from any screen? That is where Rovers Floating Launcher comes in.
One of the many benefits Android has over iOS is its deep and rich customization possibilities. There is no Android phone or tablet out there that is the same to another. Some prefer the custom launchers over the OEM skin while others prefer a wide variety of custom wallpapers over a select few shipped with their device. Another group of people prefer customized ringtones over presets. There are just so many different ways to adapt your Android device to fit your personality.
Beyond launchers, wallpapers, and customized sounds, you can also customize your icons with icon packs. That’s right. You don’t even have to use the icons developers and OEMs have designed. And we’re going to show you how to do just that.
Launchers are always popular for Android fans who want to extend the customization of their interfaces. With Android 5.0 Lollipop expanding to more devices this year, some developers are seeing a new opportunity to create new launchers that are in keeping with the design principles of Google’s Material Design guidelines and that take advantage of new APIs in Lollipop. One of those developers is the group behind HomeUX that hopes to produce a launcher that is “simplistic, yet highly functional.” They are currently soliciting additional beta testers for the latest version of HomeUX that is in development. Read more
Owners of Chromebooks running the Chrome OS should expect to see a feature from the Android platform make its way over to their devices before much longer. Google has added support for Google search, including Google Now cards, to the next version of their Chrome Launcher 2.0. Testing of the new launcher is rolling out within the next week for users who are on the Chrome OS Beta Channel. Read more
Earlier this month, Talk Android’s Justin Herrick reported on app developer Jack Thackar’s complete remake of his original SF Launcher, which you can view here. The new launcher, SF Launcher 2, features an amazing imitation of the Google Now app, but instead of notifications, you can customize your home-screen with apps and widgets inside of the notification cards.
This custom launcher doesn’t just stop there, though. Fully implementing Google’s new Material Design elements, colors and actions are present to satisfy your thirst for all things Lollipop.
Thanks to Justin’s tip on the new launcher, I decided to give it a test drive for a couple of weeks. Here are my thoughts on Thackar’s work. Read more
When the new Action Launcher 3 was released last week, much was made about the support for things like themes and Material support that would match colors to a user’s wallpaper. Inexplicably, support for icon packs was not included. Developer Chris Lacy has corrected that with an update released to the Google Play Store that will help users customize their icons. Read more
Last week developer Chris Lacy took to Google+ to announce the forthcoming release of an update for his Android Launcher. As part of that announcement, Lacy made it known that the app would be a paid app due to the extensive overhaul he gave the launcher. Along with the release of Action Launcher 3, the predecessor Action Launcher 2 is being re-released as a paid app for new users. The apps are now available in the Google Play Store for anyone interested in giving them a try. Read more
Android developer Larva Labs is taking a stab at re-inventing the homescreen on Android devices with an interface called Flow Home. The idea behind Flow Home is to get rid of all the small icons and tapping and swiping users engage in when using an Android device. Instead, the Flow Home interface pulls information out of the apps and shows it right on the homescreen. Read more