There are hundreds of launcher replacement applications available for Android. Most of them are based on the AOSP launcher’s codebase, with various tweaks and feature additions baked in to allow for a better overall experience. Others, like what we’ve seen from our friends over at Themer, start fresh to deliver a fundamentally different and more customized experience. Now a new launcher called HTMLauncher takes an even different approach by essentially letting you create your own launcher through HTML editing.
At this time, the launcher itself is fully functional, and you can indeed use it as a daily driver. However, in my usage on a Nexus 5 running Android L developer preview 2, the experience wasn’t quite as stable or smooth as I would desire. That said, this is still an intriguing prospect for those looking for a different kind of launcher with a fundamentally different level of customizability.
You can monitor the app’s process or give it a shot for yourself by heading over to the HTMLauncher application thread.
Nobody can claim that there is a shortage of launchers replacements available on Android. Some of you probably stick to the same one fanatically (I know I do), but there are plenty of people who are always on the prowl for new options. With the continual advances in device specifications and capabilities, many of the newer launchers take this opportunity to add feature after feature. While this is generally a good thing, it can make these applications incompatible with older and lower spec devices.
Scroll Launcher, developed by XDA Forum Member slinkyregent, is specifically geared towards lower performance devices that run Android 4.0 or above. The app isn’t laden with complex and resource heavy features. Rather, it simply performs the main purpose of a launcher as efficiently as possible. I tested this out on my trusty old HD2, which does sometimes struggle to cope with the fancy transition animations and widgets on most launchers. Scroll Launcher, however, was a lot smoother and more responsive.
As mentioned earlier, the application is quite feature light and offers little more than clock and weather information towards the top of the single home screen. Below that, you’ll find an optional section for shortcuts to any commonly used apps. After that, begins what is essentially your app drawer, moved right onto the homescreen of your device, ready to scroll through without any extra taps or gestures. The grid size can be altered, and applications can be hidden from view, but for now that is about the extent of customisation available. Scroll Launcher is still in very early beta, so more features may well make their way in over time.
If you are looking for a lightweight launcher for an aging device, Scroll launcher is well worth a look. Check out the application thread for more information.
March 13, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
We said it last week, and we’ll say it again. There are so many options for different types of launchers on your Android device, so it’s easy to find one that you like. But short of going through and installing all the different launchers, it’s hard to know what one works best, or looks how you want it. However, we here at XDA Developer TV are here to serve you!
XDA Forum Member dasi1241 offers up another navigation launcher option. As a service to you, in this video XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Sidebar Launcher. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts of the application. Is this the one for you? Check out this app review.
March 6, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Not too long ago, we talked about the HTC Sense-like DO Launcher. But at the time, XDA Recognized Developer doga.ozkaraca‘s application was in early alpha stage, and had much that needed to be done. Then, HTC found out about the developer’s work and decided to send a DMCA letter to take the launcher out of the Play Store.
Despite the hurdles, the developer didn’t give up and decided to make a new version of the launcher with quite a bit reworked, as well as much more stability. A few options have been added like a share button in news reader. And since the developer estimates that 80% of the bugs have been fixed, he now calls the current version a beta. The launcher itself hasn’t changed much since its initial release. Users are still able to read their RSS feeds on their home screens, check the weather forecast, and basically enjoy a Sense 5-like experience on non-HTC devices.
To check out the HTC lookalike launcher on your device, make your way to the application thread and give DO Launcher a shot.
February 19, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Do you remember Lucid Launcher? We featured this indie launcher a few weeks ago right here on the XDA Portal. XDA Senior Member powerpoint45 made a video series detailing its creation. And then on Valentine’s Day, the developer decided to update the application and add some love in the form of a few new features. The application also changed its status from alpha to beta, so it should be considerably more stable.
What is new in the new version? The application now supports 3 screens, and scrolling vertically switches between your work spaces. This can help you sort your applications, games, and widgets. The built-in browser also offers some new features and supports tabs. And these two new functions are only a small sample of the new features that have been added with this release.
The launcher is still simple and resource efficient, so even on older devices it will perform well. Powerpoint45 and his crew also made a website for the launcher. It’s still not ready for widespread release, but many core features have been added, so you can easily track the progress either in the XDA thread or the official website.
You can find the launcher by visiting its application thread. So if you are looking for a simple, minimal, and speedy launcher, you should definitely give Lucid a shot.
HTC devices are quite popular for many reasons. Naturally, one of these is their fantastic build quality. However, many people also favor HTC’s trademark Sense UI. Sense isn’t easy to port because of some code implementations in the framework. Of course, there are some ports available like the one from HTC Sensation, but these ports are unlikely to be found on non-HTC devices. The only solution seems to be writing some elements from scratch, like the launcher.
XDA Recognized Developer doga.ozkaraca took up the challenge, and now all XDA users can test a Sense 5-themed launcher on any phone running Android 4.1 or greater. The launcher supports basic BlinkFeed-like functionality, which shows the most important news from RSS feeds like CNN Top, Yahoo, CNET, and more. And with this, you can even easily browse our XDA Portal news directly on your home screen. The launcher also supports pretty weather widget, which can be found after long pressing the screen. DO Launcher can show up to 5 different themes.
This launcher is still at a very early stage of development, and many features may simply not work. But if you are a Sense 5 lover, you should definitely give it a shot. The complete list of features, current bugs, and todos can be found in the original thread, so make your way there to get the newest application file.
When you think about a launcher, Nova and Apex are likely the first choices that come to mind. That said, there are some smaller projects out there, and such are great opportunities for new developers to start their journey with Android coding. Some time ago, we talked about a video tutorial by XDA Senior Member powerpoint45 that showed users how to make a launcher. This knowledge was used by the developer of the next project, XDA Forum Member naresh babu.
In naresh_babu’s launcher, you won’t find a spectacular UI, tons of features, and freemium options to unlock. Rather, NLauncher is an easy-to-use, minimal launcher that uses swipe gestures to access your favorite apps, settings, and wireless options. The launcher also allows you to easily set up a list of frequently accessed applications for direct access.
It’s really nice to see that applications like these are released on XDA, as we all are here to learn. The launcher can be found in its original thread, where you can find the newest APK.
There’s no need to mention the importance of your launcher app. It’s the second thing you see when looking at your phone, right after the lock screen Most launchers look pretty much the same. They feature a dock bar with a few icons, and a main screen with icons and widgets. While this works, some people like to keep things as simple as possible.
If you fall into this group, you might be interested in launcher developed by XDA Forum Member SickSky. SickSky Launcher breaks all of the traditional launcher rules. You will fail to find phone, SMS, or media player in the dock, but you can easily find a weather widget and calendar. I said widget, but the inbuilt “widgets” are the only things that you can use with that launcher.
As I mentioned earlier, SickSky keeps it minimal. The launcher has one window with sliding add-ons and few additional features like opening an app after double tapping on the screen. Of course, only one application can be assigned at a time. Despite the lacks of widgets, SickSky Launcher is very interesting project, and it can be used on phones with Ice Cream Sandwich or greater.
To find more details make your way to the application thread, where links to the APK are waiting for you.
January 4, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
A good looking and highly functional launcher is something that everyone needs to have installed on his or her Android phone or tablet. Stock launchers are fully capable of doing the job, but they often lack of features in aftermarket launchers such as Nova or Apex. This time, however, we will present something a bit unique.
Not too long ago, we wrote about a video tutorial by XDA Senior Member powerpoint45 that explained how to create a launcher from scratch. The product of his work is available on XDA as Lucid Launcher.
This launcher is completely different from most known launcher apps. There is no grid, so an unlimited number of widgets can be placed wherever you want. There is also no typical application drawer, as the list of apps is available on one of the pages. Instead, the launcher has three workspaces: The first is analogous to your application drawer. The second is a typical home page. The third is Google, enabling you to search for interesting topics without opening an external browser.
Despite being an early alpha, the app has plenty of configuration options, allowing it to be easily adjusted to your personal preferences. The end result is something really nice, especially considering it was written from scratch.
You can find out more about Lucid Launcher by going to the application thread and giving it a try. Don’t forget to leave your feedback in the thread.
With a launch of the Google Nexus 5 and the release of the Google Experience Launcher, Android users were allowed to enjoy the new translucent status bar and other goodies offered by Android 4.4 KitKat. Of course, many of you have used similar third-party modifications in custom ROMs years before, but now these features are available for regular users to enjoy as well. Many developers realized that the new Google Experience Launcher has a big potential, but lacks functionality. That’s why new launchers are springing up all over the place.
One of these launchers was created by XDA Forum Member kkappteam. KK Launcher offers a variety of customization options like setting up desktop text size, hiding the search bar, and modifying icon scale. The functionality can be expanded because this launcher supports icon themes designed for other launchers such as Apex, Go, Nova, and ADW. The performance is simply amazing. Scrolling is very smooth, and transitions are handled in blink of an eye. Another great thing is that the developer seems to be listening suggestions and implement them into new releases.
If you are looking for an actively developed launcher featuring lots of customization, you should consider visiting the application thread and giving KK Launcher a try.
A good launcher can often be one of the best pieces of customization on our mobile devices. The newly released KitKat Google Experience Launcher makes your home screens beautiful, with various effects and animations. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the functionality and customization seen in other alternatives. Apex Launcher is one of the most popular alternatives launchers, and now there is a new update to Apex to bring it inline with KitKat.
XDA Senior Member dennisxl, creator of Apex, announced that his application now supports more and more of KitKat goodies such as the transparent system bars and KitKat-styled folder backgrounds. Version 2.2 is still in an early beta stage, but it’s only a matter of time before it’s back in full form.
Below are some screenshots from a Nexus 4 running KitKat:
If you are looking for a solid custom launcher with tons of customization options, make your way to application thread and give new beta a try.
September 2, 2013 By: TheRomMistress
XDA Senior Member Xlythe brings a navigation system that works alongside your favorite launcher to give you instant access to text messaging, contacts, apps, and more. With a simple swipe in the direction of your choosing from any screen, SAO Launcher flows down the side of your screen to reveal five menu orbs that allow you to launch some of the most common Android features. The launcher allows you to place calls and send texts from within its user interface, and without the need to return to the home screen. Users can choose to also install SMS Extension module, which allows for popup SMS notifications.
Depending on preference, users can choose to launch the navigation system by swiping down from the top corners, from the sides, or from any of the top edges. Options are also available to filter and sort contacts and apps so only the items you want available appear. Due to animation restrictions, SAO Launcher is only available for Android 4.1 and up.
As an introduction to his application, Xlythe has disabled ads for XDA community members who download the APK from the original post. Ads will be re-enabled on Oct. 1. The standard free edition with ads and a paid addition that disables ads can be found in the Play Store. Visit the application thread and watch the demo video to learn more.
Yes, it’s been done. Whether that’s something to squeal in joy over or cringe in disgust about is up to you. However, that’s besides the point. Facebook’s ‘exclusive’ product reserved for the HTC One, One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and Note 2 (Don’t ask why there’s no love for other devices) debuted in the Play store on 13th of April, 2013 and has garnered a lackluster two-and-a-half stars rating with near 2 thousand votes. Want to know what’s the hype about? Read on.
After a bit of modding with the Facebook and Home APKs, XDA Senior Member theos0o has successfully ported Facebook Home to all devices running Android. Both rooted and unrooted phones may take advantage of this port and get a taste of what things are all about, requiring users to simply download and install the 2 APK files provided. A reboot may be required if the app does not run at first. However, all previous versions of Facebook installed must be uninstalled to make way for the modded version of Facebook that’s required, thus root access may be necessary if your device came preloaded with Facebook in order to complete the process and get Facebook Home up and running.
Now, does Facebook Home live up to the hype and expectations? Well, it depends. If you were expecting a simple and minimalistic launcher that conveniently displays your Facebook news feed with scrolling images and quick access to Facebook Messenger and app drawer, then you may want to check it out. If you were expecting a sophisticated and intuitive home launcher that’s comparable to Android, then it certainly does not. There’s no support for our beloved widgets, the wallpaper cannot be changed, and the amount of Internet data and memory it consumes will be unbelievable.
If you would like to try Facebook Home out on your Android device, check out the original thread for more details and download.