I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again, one of the things I like most about Android is the ability to install a custom launcher app. You Windows Mobile guys call this the “Shell” and are familiar with HTC and SPB making cool new UI’s to sit atop the Windows Mobile interface. On Android, it’s as easy as installing an app from the Market, pressing the Home button, and picking which launcher you want to use.
I’ve been a fan of LauncherPro, a free launcher currently based on the Android 2.1 stock launcher. Similar in look and feel to LauncherPro is ADW.Launcher. To the untrained eye ADW looks like it could be the stock Android launcher — it’s that close to the real thing.
What else do you get with ADW?
First off, it’s fast. Really fast. If your Android is behaving slowly, try plopping ADW on and see if things just seem snappier.
Next, it’s open source, so any developer can grab it and modify or improve upon it. This also means developers like Cyanogen can include it in their custom ROMs without requiring any extra licensing or headaches.
Customization serves a central role:
– Customizable application drawer (old one or iphone/galaxy one)
– Customizable drag and drop action buttons
– Application Dockbar
Plugins you say? Yes. Plugins. ADWNotifier is a plugin that costs around US$0.70 which brings notification bubbles from various apps to their respective icons. Say you’ve got new Gmail, texts, missed called, or Toiuteur mentions, anywhere you see those icons (on the homescreen, in the app drawer, in the dockbar, etc.) you’ll see a little red circle with a number in it representing the number of items pertaining to that app that you’ve “missed”.
ADW.Launcher is free in the Android Marker for devices running Android 2.1 and up. The notifier plugin is less than an dollar. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!