There are a number of ways that a avid Android user can use to customize their device to their liking. The most common comes in the form of a launcher. Essentially a launcher is a skin that changes the overall look of an Android device. There is a wide-variety of launchers to choose from. The three most popular launchers for Android are Action Launcher, Google Now Launcher and Yahoo Aviate launcher.
Action Launcher has a clean design. The main aspect of this launcher is the Quickdrawer on the left-hand side. The drawer is for quick access to all of your apps and widgets. It also features a listing of the the alphabet so then you can quickly access apps and widgets that would start with a certain letter in it’s name.
Action Launcher is a smooth and fluid experience. The pro version of Action Launcher is not required but it does offer some more features such as the ability to use icon packs to change the look of device’s app icons from just the standard icon.
+ Clean look and feel
+ Smooth and fluid experience
+ Easy access to apps and widgets
+ Full tablet support (including 10-inch tablets)
– Pro version may seem expensive for some (at $3.99)
– If you want more customization options, you’ll want to upgrade to the pro version
Google Now Launcher
For those who use a Nexus device (especially the Nexus 5 from 2013), the look of the Google Now Launcher will seem familiar. That is because Google has made that experience available to more people besides the ones who own Nexus 5.
The biggest feature of the Google Now Launcher is the quick and easy access to Google Now and Google search. Both are just a swipe away. The Google Now Launcher initially launched on the Nexus 5 as the stock look to the latest version of Android, 4.4 “Kit Kat”. That version was released in November 2013. In early 2014, the launcher was available for other devices running the latest version of Android (4.4). Currently, the Google Now Launcher is available for Android devices running version 4.1 or later. This made it widely available to more Android users.
If you are a someone who relies on Google Now or just Google search in general, then the Google Now Launcher is the one for you. However, as compared to the pro version of Action Launcher, Google Now Launcher does not have much customization options, such as support for icon packs. The Google Now Launcher is limited to just having quick access to Google search and Google Now but not much else.
+ Quick and easy access to Google Now and search
+ Gives you a stock Android experience
+ Works with more devices (any device running Android 4.1 or later)
– Not much customizability (has no icon pack support or any other options)
– Won’t give you much unless you use Google Now often
Yahoo Aviate Launcher
Yahoo Aviate Launcher is a launcher that was designed to simplify your Android device and help organize your apps in a smarter way. The launcher has a clean and simple interface, which is easy to navigate and you have quick access to your apps.
The main feature of Yahoo Aviate Launcher are Spaces. Essentially Spaces are context-sensitive sections of apps and widgets. Yahoo Aviate Launcher automatically changes throughout the day. For example if it was the morning, it would show you the commute to your work, your alarm, your upcoming calendar appointments for the day. The launcher will also change depending on where you are but only if you set where your work and home are.
Yahoo Aviate Launcher does have customization options. The launcher does have support for icon packs which will help you change the look of all those icons. Yahoo Aviate Launcher does have the same app listing as Action Launcher, where it will show all your apps in a vertical list in alphabetical order and giving you the option to touch one of the letters to see only apps that start with a particular letter.
+ Has customizations options, with light & dark modes and icon pack support
+ Clean and simple interface
+ Great concept for a launcher
+ Tidies up apps alphabetically, by category and by context
– Best suited for those who like Yahoo’s services better
– Activity prediction is hit and miss
– Not much space for widgets (only two screens)
– No landscape support (which should be included, and would benefit tablet users)
– Cannot create your own app categories
Every launcher serves a different purpose for each user. If you are looking for a clean look and simple interface, then take a look at Action Launcher. If you want something more than just a simple look and want a launcher that is smarter, then take a chance on Yahoo Aviate Launcher. If you are just looking for quick access to Google search, then look no further than the Google Now Launcher.