Notes on Android launchers
Last updated : 3/10/2022
With Nova Launcher being bought out by Branch (yet another ad corpo), I am probably going to need to look for another launcher app.
My personal requirements
Here are the things I will need for my next launcher app:
- Works without internet access.
- No hard dependencies on Google Play services whatsoever.
- Downloadable through Git releases / F-Droid / official site (with the last one preferring a non-soydev site), not just some Telegram groups and/or Google Play Store (and any of their unofficial mirrors, such as APKMirror / APKPure / uptodown)
The downloadables must be a single full APK, not some split APKs. Full APKs for different architectures are tolerated as long as they work & don't need a separate installer app other than the system's inbuilt package installer.
- Properly maintained, with effort to ensure it works on the latest Android version. Old & unmaintained builds might be fine, but as time goes on & users update to the latest Android version, these builds will eventually not work.
- If the app features a paid-only Play Store exclusive feature unlocker, all requirements listed above this point aside from downloadable through other sources will be applied. However, the single APK requirement still apply.
- Based off Launcher3. Special interfaces are nice to have, but unfortunately I'm not looking for those.
- Support for opening apps with gestures within the launcher. This is not related to AOSP navigation gestures, which I don't use.
- Option to disable wallpaper scroll; or if that option isn't present, the wallpaper must not move while changing pages in launcher.
Some nice to have things for the next launcher:
- Infinite horizontal scrolling for app drawer & home screen
- No integrations with internet requirements (like Google Now) unless absolutely necessary.
- Libre software (serves as a double count for my 3rd requirement, if considering Git releases / F-Droid)
With my requirements out of the way, here are the candidates:
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- Formerly successful :
- Lawnchair : Inbuilt in some custom ROMs. The A12-supporting build is considered Alpha even when A13 is publicly released. In addition, the questionable stability in Lawnchair's development team is concerning.
- Nova Launcher : Bought out by Branch, which led to the creation of this very note. If there are no good launchers for me other than Nova, I'll probably stick to it... at least until a decent launcher comes along.
- Failing after personal testing :
- Neo Launcher : Release 0.9.3 adds in support for launching apps by in-launcher gestures, but unable to prevent wallpaper scrolling.
- Candidates as of 27/9/2022 :
Index - cellphone