Every geek worth to be called so has a custom launcher. This is the story of how I changed my preferred one for my first time, after several years.

30 May 2020

I was writing the list of the apps on my Android phone and I got to the point where I had to add Nova Launcher.

One thing struck me: since when I got my first phone (2013) up to now (mid-2020) I’ve always used it. It’s been so good I also bought Nova Launcher Prime, and I never changed my mind. It’s most likely the (not pre-installed) app I used for the longest time.

I was ready to add Nova to the list, when one thought stopped me: “wait, is it open source?” so, I reached the official website an checked: it isn’t.

Out of pure curiosity, I went on AlternativeTo to know more about existing open source launchers for Android and, to my great surprise, there were some really interesting ones. Each one of them has a unique or very clever feature which makes me want to switch to it. Therefore, I decided I’d adopt one of them. I feel a bit bad about dropping the good old Nova Launcher without many regrets, but… it was about time.

Here’s the launchers (in alphbetical order):

  • KISS Launcher, as in Keep It Soft and Simple. it attracts me because it’s very lightweight and it has a simple search bar you can use to do anything or go anywhere
  • Lawnchair, which seems the one with the biggest team and community behind. Also: a great design
  • Slim Launcher, a bare-bones one with pure simplicity
  • T-UI, I need to test it to really get how it works, but it seems like the whole launcher is replaced by some sort of Linux CLI. Wow.

I’ll dig more in depth to understand how they works and which one suits my needs in the best way and I’ll come back in a few days with my verdict.


1 June 2020

I need no more time. That’s it. KISS Launcher is my new launcher. I completely fell in love. I tested it first, and I gave a quick look to the others, but I already decided. It’s great:

  • it’s super quick because you can search for anything, including contacts and quick actions to perform (add an event to the calendar)
  • it’s blazingly fast, the app is astoundingly lightweight and veri light on the device’s performance
  • it’s intuitive: it has very fwe gestures, but they work great.
  • it’s the best to keep focused: unless you know what to search, your mobile home screen is empty.

It also has a few little but extremely useful features which I invite you to experience yourself. It will definitely be worth it and you may never get back.

I’m sorry for the other launchers, but, in the end

  • Lawnchair is nothing new - boring.
  • Slim Launcher is quite nice but too slim, it makes too hard to do accomplish some specific tasks
  • a GREAT shoutout fo T-UI, which is developed by a fellow Italian developer, Francesco Andreuzzi, which developed it at 17 years old. The launcher itself is awesome, as I pointed out, it transforms your android home in a Linux shell. You get anywhere in your phone from there. I didn’t choose because sometimes I need to get things done very very quickly and with T-UI not every action can be performed in a few taps.

That’s it. Wrapping it up, I’m so happy I found the best launcher ever.

Gimme a KISS.

Bye


7 August 2020

I found another great launcher, but it’s very minimal and it makes it so hard to search for anything which isn’t an app.

It’s Last Launcher and it’s free and open source.

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