Yahoo Aviate Launcher

Yahoo Aviate Launcher 2.3.3 and up

Take Android to new heights

Still finding the Android interface a bit fiddly? Aviate Launcher will transform the way the operating system works, making it easier to access your apps and get to the things on your phone that you use the most. View full description

PROS

  • Easy to set up
  • Crystal-clear user interface
  • Gives quick access to favorite contacts

CONS

  • Not very customizable

Very good
8

Still finding the Android interface a bit fiddly? Aviate Launcher will transform the way the operating system works, making it easier to access your apps and get to the things on your phone that you use the most.

Slide away

Developed by Yahoo!, Aviate Launcher offers a minimalist, yet useful front-end for your Android smartphone. As you'll know, the classic Android interface gives you a series of home screens where you can place shortcuts to apps and widgets, plus an 'app drawer' that gives you access to your applications through a slidable grid of icons.

Aviate Launcher does things quite differently. In fact, you could argue that it's more logical. For starters there's just one home screen, which by default consists of a wallpaper and a dock bar with shortcuts to your favorite apps and tools. You can add widgets to this home screen too, though if you apply any more than three it starts to look busy and the widgets become virtually unusable. \n

Slide up from the home screen and a panel will lift to reveal an area where you can pin shortcuts to your most-used contacts. This is useful for getting in touch with your spouse, Mom, workplace, etc. in a flash. However, if you're a regular user of Google Now you might find it irritating since it uses the same upward swipe gesture (albeit done slightly higher up the screen).

But the really useful stuff Aviate Launcher brings comes when you swipe left or right from the home screen. One right-to-left swipe will display all of your apps grouped in 'collections' (categories such as productivity, games, entertainment, etc.). It's a much more organized system than the stock app drawer, and it certainly looks neater.

Make a further right-to-left swipe with Aviate Launcher and it will display an alphabetical list of all your apps. Again, this looks great and it allows you to quickly jump to an app by tapping the letter it begins with (much like the Windows Phone apps menu).

Personal space

Swiping to the right on the home screen reveals another interesting screen, known as 'Spaces'. A Space in this case is a customizable screen that pulls in collections of apps and widgets that might be useful for a particular aspect of your life.

There are Spaces for 'Today' (e.g. weather, news, calendar events), 'Moving' (directions, transit), 'Listening' (music, podcasts), 'Work' (productivity, finance, work-related calendar events), and 'Nearby' (interesting places near your current location, powered by Foursquare). As I say, you can customize what appears in each Space but you can't create new ones, which would be a nice addition.

Android made easy

It looks clean and colorful, makes it easier to access apps and contacts, and groups things that are useful in certain situations together. Power users might lament the lack of customization options, but Aviate is ideal for smartphone novices and less experienced users.

Yahoo Aviate Launcher

Download

Yahoo Aviate Launcher 2.3.3 and up