Google Now cards on their way to Chrome Launcher 2.0

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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.
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SF Launcher 2 review: the launcher that brings Google Now style straight to your home-screen

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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.
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Action Launcher 3 gets update to support icon packs

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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.
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Action Launcher 3 now available in the Play Store

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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.
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Flow Home tries to re-imagine the Android homescreen

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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.
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Nova Launcher Beta updated to include new drawer animations

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Nova Launcher Beta has been updated once again, this time bringing new app drawer animations among a lot of other bug fixes. Some of the new animations included are circular opening, slide up motion, and a lot more. In addition,app drawer search now shows recently installed and updated apps without search query.

To download the beta, you have to be part of Nova’s beta community. To do that, head to the Google+ community, add yourself, opt-in to the beta program on Google Play, and finally download the beta from Google Play.

You can check out download links and a changelog past the break.


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Wear Mini Launcher gets an update and moves from Alpha to Beta

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Developer Nicolas Pomepuy has been quickly working to improve the Android Wear experience through a custom launcher, Wear Mini Launcher, for Wear-based devices. He already released an alpha version of the app for testers to try out and has been providing updates over the course of the past couple weeks. Now, the Wear Mini Launcher app has moved to the beta stage.
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Nova Launcher gets Android L-style visual tweaks

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Nova Launcher is one of the best third-party launchers available, and today’s update makes it even better. The latest stable update brings some visual flair from the Android L developer preview, including different animations and theme tweaks.

There’s a new animation option for opening and leaving apps called slide up, which causes apps to appear from the bottom of the screen like they do in Android L. Many of the default theme elements have adopted the same aesthetic, including the Google search bar and the app drawer icon. The folder icon previews can now use Android L style grouping, too.
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Here are the top functions and apps available on Android that are NOT on iOS

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Because there are so many different Android devices (and so many variants of those individual devices), developers tend to begin programming their apps on iOS before putting together the resources (and endless hours) to begin porting their creations to Android.

Developing for Android is an arduous task, and Google knows it. That’s why the company will soon be making a concerted effort to streamline the development process. Google has also pushed manufacturers/carriers to stay as close to stock Android as possible by criticizing bloatware and OEM custom skins. But with different phones running different processors, having different amounts of RAM, different screen sizes/resolutions, etc., it’s tough to make sure an app will work seamlessly across the platform, no matter what Google does to ease the process. Android’s vast device offering can be seen as a major strength (and something that has led the platform to be an industry leader in market share) but it’s also been a weakness from the development side.


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