The reason most people love Android is that it gives a lot of flexibility and control over your device. You can personalize your Android experience in countless ways; from flashing custom ROMs, to changing wallpapers, to merely tinkering with icons.
However, for beginners – and even most diehard customization freaks – a launcher is the best route to get started. For the uninitiated, a launcher is simply an app that presents the main view of the phone and gives you more control over your Android home screen by acting as the main platform from which to launch other apps installed on your device.
So now that you know what a launcher for Android is, check out our handpicked list of the 10 best Android launchers you should definitely give a try.
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10. 91 Launcher
Overview: 91 Launcher is all about its fancy themes. It comes packaged with an integrated My Themes app that houses a bunch of free user created skins that, when applied, give a complete makeover to your home screen. The dev-team has also made sure to make the launcher as intuitive and user-friendly as possible. For instance, when in home screen swipe all the way to the left and you will be taken to a search area where you can search installed apps or the internet either by typing your query or voice interaction. In addition, the app contains a few handy stock widgets for quick controls like Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as a real time battery endurance meter.
- Free downloadable theme packs
- Variety of home screen transition effects
- Various useful widgets
- Quick search screen with voice interaction
- Custom gesture support
Overview: Buzz Launcher’s main strength lies in its Homepack Buzz – a 91 Launcher-esque approach but with extensive skin support. That said, Homepack Buzz houses over 50,000 unique and snappy home screens to give the UI a complete overhaul. Some home screens even perfectly mimic Windows Phone 8 and/or MIUI ROMs. Buzz Launcher also boasts a fascinating multi-wallpaper option that lets you set up a separate wallpaper for each home screen. Another similarity with 91 Launcher is that this app also lets you use gesture swipes for performing various actions such as to bring down the notification panel, open app drawer etc.
- An amazing Homepack Buzz app for one-click customization
- Multi wallpaper screen
- An easy way to access recent apps and hide unwanted ones
- Unread badges for missed calls, SMS and Gmail
- Resizable icons and highly customizable home screen grids
8. Launcher 8
Overview: If you like Windows Phone 8 then Launcher 8 is all you need. It will bring WP8-like navigation to your Android phone. After its simple installation, it gives your device a fresh feel, completely changing the way you interact with your phone. Launcher 8 features the aspiring static and live tiles which WP8 is known for. These big bold tiles can help even the most novice Android users to quickly launch commonly used apps like phone, messages, internet, camera or alarm. Nevertheless, the tiles are also customizable letting you resize them among different sizes.
- Resizable home screen tiles
- WP8 like navigation gives a fresh feel to your phone or tablet
- WP8 styled lockscreen and status bar
- Switchable application list style
- Tiles can be used to set app shortcuts and Android widgets
- A handful of theme colors to choose from
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Overview: ADW is another very popular Android launcher which has been around for quite a while now. Although, I’ve avoided this launcher for the past couple of years, I was surprised to see many changes and additional features I’d been missing on. Thanks to its large user base, the app sports thousands of themes, skins and icon packs available at Play Store. Another major aspect of ADW is its extensive customization, i.e. you can easily personalize home screen icons and resize widgets to your heart’s content. The app also showcases a really nice transition effect when jumping in and out of app drawer. ADW also has paid version that comprises of additional features.
- One of the most customizable launcher app out there
- Supports an umpteen number of user created themes
- Highly customizable icons, docks, folders and page indicators
- Easily manageable home screens with built in screen editor
- Gestures support for fast operation
- Icons editor and an AppWidget picker
Overview: Inspired by Android 4.0+, Holo Launcher HD brings Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich styled launcher to your Android device. It gives all the features available on stock ICS or JB launcher without costing a dime. Not only is it fast and snappy, but fully customizable as well. For instance, Holo Launcher HD lets you enable infinite home screen scrolling, which is something the default JB and ICS based launcher lacks. In addition, it allows you to customize icons, labels and dock to however you please. Besides customization and additional features, Holo Launcher flawlessly mimics vanilla Android. The app also has a Plus variant that boasts a few extra perks.
- All the Jelly Bean launcher features and then some
- Infinite home screen scrolling
- Customizable app shortcuts, folder icons and label color
- Supports ADW icon packs and widgets overlapping
- Gesture support for quickly accessing apps including pinch to zoom for home screen previews
- Scrollable dock
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