Launcher 7

Sep. 7th, 2011 09:46 pm
The tumblr experiment has been kind of a failure, pretty much the only response it gets is spammers. So, something here for a change.

I've been poking at quite a few Android launchers. Most of them are a variation on the same basic theme as the stock launcher: you have some number of home screens on which you place widgets, shortcuts to apps, folders, that sort of thing. You have a button on-screen which, when tapped, presents all your installed applications in some form, typically as a grid of icons.

One which moves away from this is Launcher 7. This is a pretty clear imitation of the basic Windows Phone 7 launcher interface. Last time I looked at it it was pretty unimpressive, but it's got a lot better.

The gist of it is that you have a home screen made up of tiles. When tapped these will typically open an appropriate application. Some of them are "live" tiles, in that they convey meaningful information, like the number of missed calls or unread text messages.

Here's a screenshot of my home screen:

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This is taking advantage of two extra things I didn't mention above. The top two tiles are "widget" tiles. They contain Android widgets. The left one is Beautiful Widgets Weather 1x1 with the background disabled and a simple outline skin. The right one is DigiClock tweaked to look the way I want.

Immediately below this is a 2x1 calendar live tile. This cycles through my next couple of appointments. Tap it and it opens the Calendar application.

Below that is the dialler -- which is a live tile, but I don't have any missed calls -- and the contacts tile. The contacts tile is similar to the WP7 contacts tile, it cycles through contact images.

When you slide right-to-left the application menu comes up. This is a simple list of applications, sorted alphabetically. Press the "search" key here and you'll get this nice jump list:

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Tap a letter, you go straight to that section of the app list. Nice and simple.

Launcher 7 also supports having a web page as a live tile, and you can create a tile which contains a folder of applications.

The author has some sort of Facebook integration and a proper clock live tile on the to-do list. These would be nice little extras. But basically, if you want something in a live tile you can work around this by finding or writing a widget to do the job.

Overall, it's a pretty nice launcher.

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