December 21, 2014

What's the Launcher for me?

I stand beside my time honored statement that what allows Android to be successful is not this enlarged definition of open, but choice. You can choose a carrier, choose a style of phone, and choose a manufacturer before you even turn one on. Once you get in there, there is very little you can’t do to make your phone belong to you. My favorite example of this is virtual keyboards, but today I’m here to talk about launchers. Launcher replacements have been around for awhile, and every day it seems they get better and better. Today I am going to show you the three that I feel are the most amazing, and worth a show on your phone!

Launcher Pro

Based on the Stock Android Launcher, LP provides a highly customizable user experience that maintains a similar look and feel to the stock experience. The bolted on features allow for expanded home screens, improved speed and memory consumption, and added “pop up” features for certain items in the dock. Launcher Pro also offers basic theming for most of your app icons, offering a unique look and feel. These themed icons are updated and improved regularly, and provide a great deal of flexibility in how you make your home screens look. Launcher Pro offers a free and paid version, with the paid granting you access to additional features, and high quality widgets to interact with Twitter, Facebook, and more. It’s a worthy $2.99 investment if this is the launcher for you.

Go Launcher

Go is fairly new in comparison to some of the other guys out there, but it more than makes up for that with it’s arsenal of completely custom animations for accessing menu’s, widgets, and more. Uniquely, the App Drawer with this launcher has a built in task manager, allowing you to kill a program from the launcher. It’s somewhat lacking in app icon customization, which I atribute to it’s youth and the limited developer exposure it’s had to far. All in all, it’s a fantastically smooth launcher. Check out this video for more!

ADW Launcher

ADWLauncher provides a stable, highly adjustable, community driven experience. Allowing any developer or themer to completely alter the look of anything within his launcher, a community has grown around it in support of it’s continued development, and continue it has. So much, in fact, that a new paid version, dubbed ADWLauncher EX brings 8 new animated transitions and a terrific menu’d UI for navigating it’s many features. Take a look!

So, there are clearly many great options available, each with it’s only feel and comfort level. Feel free to do my favorite thing on Android, and choose one today!



  • Tansen

    Very good overview, there really wasn’t a clear outline of the different launchers before. I think its important for cool Android stuff to be talked about mostly because alot of people don’t really know what the platform is capable of.

  • Charlie Collins

    Go Launcher looks very interesting. I might have to try it out. I do wish someone would translate that video though. I hardly could understand what that guy was saying.

    • Charlie Collins

      I should say though I’m using Launcher Pro Plus right now and LOVE it.

    • Bianca

      Did you really have that hard a time understanding it?

      • Charlie Collins

        Yes, I did.

  • http://www.twitter.com/kstagg kstagg

    GoLauncher is nice, but have you seen the security warnings when you install it? Good God, man! Also, after a week or so, was having problems with all of my homescreen icons fully loading (the icon names would just say “loading”). It’s purty, and free, but needs to be fine-tuned and security options need to be scaled back.

    I’ve since switched to ADWLauncher EX and have never looked back. UNBELIEVABLE options on this thing and more than makes up for the fact that unless you have a Nexus, we don’t have Gingerbread yet. :( Totally customize the look/feel of your dock/s and your app drawer (really slick the number of options available). Trust me – give it a whirl and you won’t be sorry.

  • bboti86

    I’m using one called SlideIT (actually the pro version)

    It’s very good, but I think that they are not going to develop it any more :(

    B

  • D~C

    ADWLauncher EX

    The others may be very good, but this one is king (IMHO). Highly recommend.

    • JaylanPHNX

      I just got that yesterday and it’s awesome! Love it.

  • ecdy

    Tried LP but found it had more than I needed and slowed down my MT4g. Now I use Gingerbread launcher (there’s another one called Froyo launcher, I think, but they both show up as just “Launcher” on the market) and HomeScreen Switcher to make it easy to get in and out of the launcher. All the Gingerbread launchers do is simplify the dock, making it the same as the one on the Nexus One and thus getting rid of the waste of a button that Sense uses for TMobile’s “Faves.” And these launchers also clean up the appearance of the app screen, although unlike LP they don’t actually let you remove unused apps from that screen. So now my MT4g looks and works like my stock Nexus One–except it has 4g also. Oh yes, these launchers unfortunately do seem to kill the Sesne Bookmark Widget, which I had found useful.

  • JPB

    I had been using LauncherPro for the past few months. I really like it but it seems sluggish. I hope the new and improved one comes along soon. In the mean time, I gave ADWLauncher EX a try. ADWLEx seems faster and I’m going to keep it around for a while. But it is very quirky compared to LPro. For instance, there’s a “hidden” dock bar that took me ages to figure out and heaven forbid you accidentally remove the Apps launcher from your dock bar. Also, it’s odd that you can click a “+” button but it doesn’t prompt you with a list of apps/shortcuts. I’d much rather have the LPro style dock.

    GO Launcher seems worth a try, especially given that you can get up to 13 home screens! Plus, I love the guy’s accent. :-)

    I’ll put a plug in here for Home Switcher. A great app that will let you try out all of these and switch between them for a good comparison.

    Choices, choices.

    What I’d like to see is for all 3 of these guys to be locked in a room together for a month to build the Launcher to End All Launchers. Take the best from each of them, the speed and transitions from ADWEx, the dockbar, pop-ups and widgets from LPro and the app drawer/extra home screens from Go.

    I Love Android.

    • Joel M

      If anyone does accidentally remove the apps launcher from the dock bar it’s an
      easy fix, just long press on the screen and open launcher action and pick
      open/close app drawer it will create a shortcut on the screen that can be
      dragged back down to the dock bar.

  • http://Potholesinmyblog.com Hatorii_Hanzo

    I was using regular ADW launcher but I recently switched to ADW EX and it’s great so far

  • AndroidSapien

    Guys, right now there is no comparison, ADW EX is THE launcher to beat. What is so great is that LPro will now have to up its game. As these two heavyweights battle it out, we the users benefit. I have purchase both to support the developers and I encourage everyone to do so as well. Android RULES!

  • http://www.medicalindustry.net/ Medi

    Just for laughs?