One way in which you can improve the performance of your phone is to add a new launcher. When you first switch on your Android, you are presented with a screen with icons and widgets – This is the default launcher, better known as the home screen. The visual look of this interface is largely overseen by Google, but various manufacturers have their own launchers that they use instead, such as HTC Sense UI and Samsung TouchWiz. These launchers still allow full access to Android, but offer a new look and feel – like a new ‘skin’.
For some users, however, even the improvements offered by manufacturer launchers aren’t enough. In this situation, a more effective choice is the custom option.
Available as downloads from the Google Play store, apps such as GO Launcher EX, Nova Launcher, and SPB Shell 3D offer a whole new way to use your Android phone, offering new user interface features such as improved scrolling, transparency, improved arrangement of widgets and icons, icon themes and more.
Installing a launcher isn’t for everyone, however. You might be very happy with Android as it is – but if you want improved performance and an interface that is more customizable than the default, then using a launcher is a positive step.
One thing to bear in mind with launchers is that although they should install without any problem from Google Play, you may need additional software in order to persuade your chosen launcher to work correctly. The most popular option here is Home switcher (although there are alternatives) and the purpose of this app is to enable you to designate a launcher as the default means of opening other apps on your phone. If you’re planning on using a launcher, this tool is highly recommended.
|FEATURE||Including access to over 5,000 themes and offering a pleasurable and smooth transition animation between screens, this launcher also includes the ability to set custom gestures to launch apps.||With a range of color themes, scroll effects, and the ability to add 1×1 widgets to the dock, Nova Launcher cleverly imports icons from your existing launcher and supercharges them.||The main feature of this application is that it restyles Android with a new Windows Phone-style user interface, offering configurable tile sizes and colors – not quite the usual launcher.|
|DESIGN||The memorable, minimalistic design of the default theme is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many stunning ways to skin Android with this app.||Nova Launcher incorporates a stunning ‘cube’ scroll effect, enhanced by enabling you to quickly switch from the first home screen to the last by ‘wrapping around the transition between them.||Based on the metro look of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, Launcher 8 includes slick tile animation (including the live contacts tile) and leaves a lasting impression because it’s so different.|
|SPEED||Fast, but perhaps not the fastest to be found. With widgets and other further add-ons installed, any performance gains from installing GO Launcher EX can end up being compromised.||Sporting various performance boosts that enable you to save time launching apps and viewing new screens, Nova Launcher is perhaps the fastest home screen replacement available.||Other than configuring which apps are launched by which tiles when you first run, Launcher 8 is surprisingly fast and impressive, and certainly worth trying out on your phone.|
|ADD-ONS||A massive amount of add-ons are available for GO Launcher EX, many of which can be downloaded via widget links on the home screen. Their presence may slow performance, however||A huge collection of themes and icons are available for Nova Launcher, enabling you to restyle your Android home screen without sacrificing the launcher’s performance gains.||Icon packs and companion apps can be found for Launcher 8, and when these are used with the launcher they give your Android phone a radical new look.|