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The Android is a close contender to iOS in terms of usage, garnering 41.58% of the mobile device market. Because An...
The Android is a close contender to iOS in terms of usage, garnering 41.58% of the mobile device market. Because Android users tend to be eclectic, there is no one-size-fits-all for this crowd. That’s why there are currently 1,299,550 Android apps on Google Play, and counting.
Among these are numerous alternative launchers for Android users who like to customize their mobile devices to suit their needs. A launcher is the app responsible for the GUI (graphic user interface) or, in layman’s terms, the home and app screens. For a unique look, give any of these launchers a try.
Nova is hands-down the most popular 3rd party launcher. With more than 10 million users, it’s light and usable, but still highly customizable and loaded with features. It supports the “OK, Google” search hotword, and users can choose to download thousands of icon themes.
It also has import layout capability, so you can duplicate layouts from other launchers. $4.00 for the premier version.
There isn’t much to compare between Apex and Nova. Perhaps Apex has a better tablet mode because it lets Nexus 7 owners rotate the home screen, but it doesn’t have as many features as Nova. Still, in terms of performance, user-friendliness, and customization, they’re neck and neck.
This veteran launcher (more than 100,000,000 installs) works with Android 2.2 and has its very own Go Store where you can download themes, icon packs, effects, and widgets. The launcher is free, but it comes with ads. GO Launcher Prime costs $5.99, but it’s ad free.
This one works best with Android 2.0. You have 7 home screen themes to customize and each provides solid performance all around. The paid version has more features including unlimited widget resizing.
While it’s not as advanced as other launchers, it’s still infinitely better than the default. ADW supports gesture control, app management, and comes with custom widgets/themes.
If you like ‘em simple and fast, this is the launcher for you. It’s not for users who want to tinker with custom themes. It looks a bit stark but is still strangely compelling, and its minimal need for resources makes it work very well with Android 2.2.
Not as simple, but nearly as fast as Zeam. Lightning eXtreme works with Android 4.0+. It has a unique ability to scroll up and down, as well as side to side. Widgets are scalable and home screen items can be moved around freely. It takes a little tinkering to get going, but when it goes, it’s fast.
If your device is on KitKat, you’ll benefit from this one. It’s super smooth and fast, and even though it looks like the default, it’s much more customizable and supports a host of additional features.
This is by far the coolest of the 3D capable launchers. It lets you transform the look of your device in stunning fashion and still runs fluidly. Modders can really have fun with this one! It has a trial version, but you’ve got to shell out $16.99 to get all the features.
Another nifty launcher that uses 3D technology, it’s not as feature-rich as Next, but it populates your home screen automatically. This is a great feature if you like to mod, but find it tedious to manually place shortcuts to your favorite apps.
What’s your favorite Android launcher? Comment below!