By Joe Levi | December 15, 2011 9:05 AM
One of the things we like most about Android is the ability to replace your launcher with a custom app. Doing so can let you personalize and customize your smartphone in ways that aren’t possible with your stock launcher. These customizations can include speed and performance improvements, animation options, and changes to the layout of your apps and widgets — not to mention giving it an entirely new look and feel.
Many of the existing launcher apps are based on the stock launcher’s code, with modifications to enable highly coveted features. Such is the case with Nova Launcher for Ice Cream Sandwich.
Nova Launcher is based on the stock ICS launcher, but gives you some features the stock launcher doesn’t give you:
– Custom grid size (default 5×4 on the Galaxy Nexus)
– User setting for auto-rotate
– Resize any widget
– All/New/Downloaded categories in App Drawer
– Widgets-in-drawer (requires install as a system app) or from system picker
– Shortcut or resizable information in Widget Drawer
– Edit App Shortcut icon and label (Supports ADW Icon Packs)
– Wallpaper scrolling options (Disabling scrolling improves performance of live wallpapers)
– Animated cube desktop effect
– Various other smaller tweaks/optimizations
Nova Launcher is a fabulous bridge between older Froyo and Gingerbread launchers, and the new launcher in ICS, and brings UI elements that we’ve gotten used to back to the latest version of the Android OS.