The Go Dev Team, who are the guys behing the famous Go Launcher EX have released a Beta version of their upcoming launcher, Next Launcher.

Next Launcher UI

Here is a list of features of Next Launcher, from the developers website. Some of the features haven’t been implemeneted in the launcher yet.

Features:

  1. Various operation for icons: icons support rotation, reset, select, align and so on. Operation is easy and fantastic.
  2. Unlimited screen layout: placing icons or widgets randomly which forms your own home screen.
  3. Stereoscopic screen preview: lots of screen display effects, dazzling animation of screen switching about adding or deleting screen.
  4. Quick screen management: adding different kinds of elements in screen edit including application icons, folders and widgets. It’ll support changing wallpapers and themes soon.
  5. Rotatable dock: inverting upward or downward the Dock can quickly switch among home screen, screen edit and screen preview.
  6. Powerful app drawer: icons can be arranged by names or by time, and folders can be created by overlaying icons. Batch mode and operation of adding apps to screen are also available.
  7. Beautiful scrolling effects: a variety of app drawer scrolling effects that provide a distinctive screen switching experience.
  8. Fancy 3D widgets: 3D widgets that are based on Next Launcher are coming soon!

Performance:

Even thought the developers recommend a  phone with a Dual-core and 800*480 resolution as the minimum requirement to run Next Launcher, it runs just fine on my Optimus One. In fact I think its smoother than Go Launcher EX.

Home Screens:

You can have upto 9 Homescreens. And with the options for having folders on homescreens, I don’t think anyone would need more.Overlapping icons Next Launcher

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Android users are used to creating folders at the homescreen by just overlapping the icons over one another, its even available in Go Launcher EX. I don’t understand why they took it off Next Launcher? Its much easier to make a folder by overlapping icons, especially when you install new apps and have the “add shortcut to homescreen” option checked in the Google Play Store app ? To know how to create a folder and edit it, read the Folders section below.

Long-pressing on an icon at the home screen gives you some useful options, multi-select icons, uninstall app, rotate the icon, editing the icon label, etc.

Widgets can be added by longpressing on the home screen or by pressing the menu key and selecting Add>Widget>System Widgets and choosing one from the list of available widgets. You can resize a widget by long-pressing on it.Resize Widgets

Folders:

To create a folder on your homescreen you have to longpress on the home screen or use the menu key and choose add a folder, and then you can multi-select apps from the app drawer and a folder will be created on your homescreen. But on the bright side, you can add icons to an existing folder on the homescreen. You can rename folder by long pressing the folder icon and tapping the Pencil key or by tapping on the folder and tapping on the text field which says “Folder”.

Dock:

The Dock isn’t currently editable. So there is nothing really much we can talk about it just yet. The icons aren’t exactly pretty.Next Launcher DockThe shortcuts in the dock (from to left to right) are Dialer,Contacts, App Drawer, Messaging and Browser. I usually replace the dock with custom shortcuts in whatever launcher I use and I hope they allow us to customize the dock.

App Drawer:

Next launcher’s app drawer looks impressive, allowing you to create app folders, sort the apps alphabetically or by the last installed app, etc. Just tap the icon with the four-squares to bring up the app drawer arc which has the sorting options. Add a shortcut Next LauncherThe installed apps are listed in the lower part of the screen and the homescreens are in the upper one. Both screens are scrollable, just swipe from either side to scroll.

You can change the grid size, transition type and disable the looping app drawer screen from App Drawer settings.

Gestures:

  • Swipe up on the homescreen to bring up the Edit screen, same as the one that comes up when you press the menu key.
  • Swipe down on the homescreen to display the status bar.

Next Launcher certainly looks good, but the lack of customization in the current version may not tempt users from switching to it just yet.

Download the beta version apk of Next launcher from here.  Make sure you have allowed installation of apps from unknown sources in your settings.

Note: When you start Next Launcher it asks you to share it with friends. Tapping on cancel will not load the launcher. This in my opinion is a really annoying way to get a userbase. Fortunately there is a workaround, you can just tap gmail from the share menu and press the back button, without actually sharing it with anyone.

Drop a comment below and tell us if Next Launcher is going to be your new launcher.


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