Unlike the closed ecosystem of Apple’s iOS, Android can be tweaked to suit any user. While some prefer to root their devices and flash entire new ROMs, there are simpler and easier ways to customize your Android device. One of the easiest ways to do this is by installing an aftermarket launcher. There are plenty of Android launchers in Play Store, and we have already covered some of the best Android launchers. In this article we take a look at some of the alternatives and more interesting Android launchers.
What Is an Android Launcher?
A launcher is essentially the user interface of your Android device. It is where a user can “launch” various applications and perform other tasks. Most folks refer to the launcher as their “Home” screen. This screen is filled with shortcuts to apps and widgets that you’ve placed there. If the pre-installed launcher isn’t doing it for you anymore, you can easily replace it with a different one.
Launchers can significantly alter the way your phone looks. In addition, many of them offer new features and can even change the way your phone behaves. There are a wide variety of different launchers, with some, like Nova Launcher, being incredibly popular. With so many options available, some launchers don’t get the installs they deserve. Read on to discover some of the hidden gems you can try right now.
1. Anole Launcher
The Anole Launcher is all about security. Swiping left from the home screen prompts the user to input a pattern that gives access to a locked area of the phone. Apps that users place in this secure area are only accessible once the pattern lock is provided.
The Anole Launcher also has a “share phone” function. This allows users to pre-select the apps that are available for someone other than yourself to use. Apps that you don’t nominate are locked from use. Furthermore, users can create separate guest accounts, with each account having access to different apps. Finally, this launcher features a one-tap “freeze” function. This prevents apps from being moved or uninstalled without authorization.
2. Computer Launcher
If you’re a fan of Microsoft’s Windows interface, then you have to check out Computer Launcher. This launcher re-skins the entire Android OS to look like Windows – not Windows Mobile mind you, but full-on desktop Windows.
Computer Launcher manages to scale down everything from the familiar desktop setup to the file explorer of Windows so that it fits on your Android device. Additionally, it puts all of your apps in a start menu, complete with colorful tiles. If you’ve ever wished your Android device functioned more like your desktop PC, Computer Launcher is for you.
3. Z Launcher
The Z Launcher from Nokia has a very minimalist style. Cosmetically it’s nothing to get excited about. However the launcher claims to be able to launch any app “in one second.” To achieve this with the Z Launcher, a user simply draws the first letter of the app’s name on the screen. The launcher then pulls up the apps associated with that letter.
Nokia claims that the Z Launcher learns and adapts to its user. This means that the more you use it, the more likely Z Launcher will predict what app you want to use, cutting down on the time it takes to open it. It sounds like a funky, roundabout way to launch an app, but once you get used to it, it’s faster than scrolling through your app tray.
Be aware that the Z Launcher is still in beta, so there may be kinks that need ironing out.
4. Smart Launcher 3
Is your home screen a cluttered mess of apps and widgets? Are you constantly flicking through the home screen or scrolling through the app tray trying to find the app you need? If so, Smart Launcher 3 may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Smart Launcher 3 seeks to simplify your Android experience. Upon initial setup, Smart Launcher 3 has you choose the six apps that you use most frequently. These apps are immediately accessible from the home screen and can be launched with a single tap. Other apps are hidden away somewhat, meaning this may not be the best option for an Android power user.
The cherry on top is that Smart Launcher 3 is one of the more optimized launchers available. This means that it doesn’t require a lot of your device’s resources to function. Ultimately this saves RAM and battery life.
Do you know of any interesting Android launchers that we have not covered? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!