In Android, you can easily access recently opened apps using the dedicated “Recent apps” button, but if you want to open a new app that has not been opened previously, you will have to exit your current application, go to the Home screen and open the app drawer before you can tap to open the app. While there are several apps, like Swapps, that allows you to quickly access your app drawer from anywhere, most of them run in the background and drain your battery and memory resource.
Slide Launcher does thing with a twist. It is a launcher app that allows you to access your favorite or frequently used apps, contacts, or even shortcuts quickly. However, instead of running in the background waiting for your command, it bind itself to a shortcut key and will only launch when you run the shortcut key. This means that it will only launch when it is required and it will use almost 0% RAM and battery usage.
The usage is very simple.
1. Install Slide Launcher from Play Store.
2. Once installed, you can open Slide Launcher, either directly from the app drawer or slide up the Home button (the same shortcut as Google Now). On the first run, you will be guided through a quick tour.
3. Back to the Slide Launcher screen, tap on the icon (3 vertical dots) at the top right corner. You can then proceed to tap on the Pencil icon to add apps and shortcuts, or the Settings icon to access the Settings.
When you click the Pencil icon, a big “+” will show up. Click on it and you will be able to choose an app, contact or shortcut.
When adding a contact, you can choose the action associated with this contact, like open up the Contact detail, sending a direct message or make a direct call to this contact.
Similarly, for the Others option, you can either specify a Shortcut, Activity or Custom Intent.
This is what you will see when you are done adding all the apps and shortcuts.
Slide Launcher Settings
There are various settings that you can configure, including the launcher layout, look and feel, frame and behavior. The default layout is “Circle” (apps arranging in a circular manner), but you can change it to Arc, Hive, Grid or a vertical bar. And when you select each layout, it will recommend you the optimum target size and spacing. You can, of course, choose to customize your own than to accept the recommended settings.
The Look section allows you to change the icon theme as well as the background of the launcher. If you love customization, here is where you can customize the theme to your liking.
Slide Launcher is a well designed app. One limitation is that it makes use of the Google Now shortcut, which means in most cases (unless you are using custom ROMs, or Nexus 5 with the new Google Launcher), you will have to forego Google Now for Slide launcher. I don’t use Google Now much so this is not a deal-breaker for me. With this app, I am now able to reduce my Home screen to only 1 and keep it minimal.
Will this app be of interest to you?