Why should you be using an Android Launcher?
Are you getting the most out of your smart phone? That is a great question and for those people who use an Android-based phone the answer is probably “No”; unless you are already using an Android Launcher.
Smart phones have been around long enough that they have become quite commonplace. Of course in that respect it means people are used to what they have and might not be trying to get more out of a device that most of us couldn’t imagine living without.
For people who use Android-based phones, Android launchers are a way you can turn your phone into more of a personal assistant or just make your home screen more functional and personalized based on your needs.
Android launcher basics
One of the best features about the Android OS is the ability to design or change the interface of the phone. While iPhones are locked up tight, the Android is easy to personalize, which can lead to a more functional and efficient smart phone.
A launcher, also known as a home-screen replacement, is simply an app that modifies the software design and features of your phone’s OS without making permanent changes.
Now some people might think a launcher is a ROM which is a name for aftermarket firmware replacements like LinuxOnAndroid or JellyBAM. For years people have enjoyed using ROMs to load up their phone with a modified version of the Android OS, essentially replacing the OS that came with your phone.
On one hand, ROMs offer a nice level of customization. On the other hand, they void you warranty, require some tech know-how and can possibly brick your phone. Launchers are an app that can be downloaded from Google Play, installed and used – just like any other app. They won’t void your warranty and the effects can easily be undone.
There are basically two types of launchers, either design or smart. While you might find some hybrid attempts, at the root any launcher is either of one type or the other.
Smart launchers – Smart launchers are adaptive at the core. They look to take the apps and information you need and have it on the home screen for quick access. The longer you use a smart launcher, the more you will notice the changes. Some of the better launchers ask for locations of work and home so it can anticipate your needs based on your location as well as day of the week and time of day. For example, on a Friday night your home-screen might have Yelp, GoogleMaps, Open Table and TipFinder apps up compared to Monday morning at work when Email, Calendar, Contacts and a newsreader my occupy the screen.
Some of the more popular smart launchers are Aviate, Terrain and EverythingMe. Each has a different level of “smart” and corresponding changes it will make to your phone such as user of widgets and organization. The overall goal is to have what you need up front based on when you need it.
Design launchers – Design launchers are an easy way to modify or overhaul the appearance of your home screen. They start with a foundation and then have options such as icon packs, wallpapers and widgets to help decorate and customize your foundation. There is not the same intuitive aspect that you have in a smart launcher, but what you do get is a lot more options for changing the look and feel of your phone to make it different from everyone else.
More than just a visual adjustment, the design launchers offer more options for layouts. For those who don’t like the intuitive idea but still want to find a way to redesign your phone to be more efficient and useful, the design launcher is the way to go. Some of the more popular design launchers are Themer, Buzz Launcher, Apex, Nova and Go Launcher EX.
The bottom line
Smart phones are wonderful pieces of technology. For those who own an Android-based phone they can be even more useful by using an Android launcher. Why not squeeze out more functionality and efficiency from an object you spend so much time using? Plus the addition of a launcher can add a bit of life and excitement to those with older phones who want something new to play with.