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Review: Launcher 7 on Android

This is a guest post written by @ronoffringa, a long time Droid Life reader and launcher aficionado.

There are a lot of third-party application launchers available for Android from GO Launcher EX to ADW to LauncherPro. Most Android users choose to go to a third party launcher to either get a stock look on their phone or just to customize it more. While my personal favorite launcher has always been LauncherPro (please no hate mail from ADW fans), the delays in an update to the rewrite of LauncherPro made me begin to look elsewhere for a new feel for my phone.

Launcher 7 is an attempt to replicate the simplicity of Windows Phone 7’s launcher on an Android device, and it does a great job. There are others out there (like Windows Phone Android), but Timo Kujala’s Launcher 7 easily takes the cake. From live tiles to widgets to transition animations, Launcher 7 is the way to go for someone who wants a simple launcher or who loves the look and feel of Windows Phone 7, but doesn’t want to leave the Android fold.  

The Set Up
When you first open Launcher 7 it gives you a default set of icons like Phone and Browser and then lists the rest of your applications to the next screen on the right, which can be accessed by swiping over or pressing the arrow. If there is an application that you want to add as a tile to the main screen, all you have to do is long press the application and a new screen will appear allowing you to customize the tile with whatever icon you want and how large you want the tile to be (1×1, 2×1). Launcher 7 comes with a set of white icons to use if you want to try and make each tile look as close as possible to WP7, or you can just use the application’s default icon.

Live Tiles
This is where Launcher 7 really shines over and against other WP7 launcher imitations. There are options for live tiles, like the calendar tile you see above. The calendar tile will cycle through your 24 hour events or display an event that is coming up that day. Another option for live tiles is a People tile, which displays pictures of your various contacts. For those familiar with WP7, you’ll recognize that these live tiles are straight from the WP7 launcher. While the options for these lives tiles are limited right now, there is a lot of potential to make the app even more like WP7 and then to expand beyond with custom live tiles.

Widgets
Recently, support for widgets has been added. As you can see from the images above, my battery percentage and weather forecast widgets fit right in with the rest of the tiles. Any widget can be added by pressing menu and then Add Widget. While there will be some limitations for which widgets can be added (mostly size), you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a way to get the information you need onto your main screen. The widgets update automatically and respond exactly how they would if they were on a normal Android launcher.

Wrap Up
Launcher 7 isn’t for everyone, but for people who love a simple experience and want access to their information and their applications quickly, Launcher 7 is worth a try. The dev doesn’t guarantee that the launcher will work on all phones, but a quick perusal of the comments will show that most phones handle the launcher just fine. It has easily replaced LauncherPro for me because of its simplicity. I’m by no means a lover of minimalism (I would pick Fancy or Beautiful Widgets clocks over any other clock), but with a busy schedule and a need to access things quickly and easily, Launcher 7 helps me get things done. Besides all of that functionality mumbo-jumbo, it’s fun to use. I find myself choosing to use Launcher 7 more and more because I enjoy the simple beauty that it offers.

You can find both a free version (with ads on your applications list page) and an ad-free paid version in the market. Even die hard fans of Launcher Pro and ADW should give this a shot – you may be pleasantly surprised.

  • Ajproart

    Love reading everyone’s comments. Many funny and a lot of them very informative.

    About the Review: is missing many features but someone mentioned most of them in other comments. And YES, it is smooth. I’ve been using it a lot with Go Launcher too. I wouldn’t be going back to Go Launcher EX if this awesome Launcher 7 wasn’t draining my battery a lil faster than usual.

    “Free will (and choice) is one the greatest thing ever”

  • Anonymous

    This blog Is very informative.I am really pleased to post comment on this blog.Thanks for sharing.
    Regards:
    Options Trading

  • http://profiles.google.com/carmack.nathan Nathan Carmack

    Anyone know what the number is for the blue color that comes up when you install the app? I’ve been using the app for the past week and I’m lovin’ it. However, I messed with the colors and can’t get it back to the “metro” look colors scheme that it starts out with. The colors are assigned a number in the color pallet. There is no option to restore the colors to default, however. Thanks!

  • Droid 1

    I have to admit….this is the smoothest launcher I’ve used yet. No lag whatsoever or screen re-draws. I love launcher pro, but this is a top minimal launcher. I like it. It’s also fun to confuse people into thinking I bought a windows phone.

  • The Truth

    why are ppl arguing about phones and os and companies? the damn app is nice and guess what? you dont have to use it if you dont want it! The real point here is that the beauty of android is that i can do what ever i please whenever i want.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty cool, very smooth. A change of pace from the standard tiles/dock. Good minimalist look.

  • Skilcher

    Seems like a resource and battery hog in my opinion. If I wanted this, I’d switch to a Windows7 phone, which I will never do… :-}

    Cheers!!

    • Anonymous

      I haven’t noticed any issues with it taking up resources or battery… quite the opposite actually.

  • Anonymous

    I love this launcher, I love android. Going from launcher 7 to adw to touchwiz to sony ericsson launcher. You could have it as simple as a piece of paper or as complicated as life. Love Android

  • Anonymous

    I love this launcher, I love android. Going from launcher 7 to adw to touchwiz to sony ericsson launcher. You could have it as simple as a piece of paper or as complicated as life. Love Android

  • Anonymous

    I love this launcher, I love android. Going from launcher 7 to adw to touchwiz to sony ericsson launcher. You could have it as simple as a piece of paper or as complicated as life. Love Android

  • http://twitter.com/RTanner60 Russell Tanner

    People should try this before bashing it so much. After all, probably the coolest thing about WP7 is the clean, minimalist launcher. I wasn’t sure I’d actually like using it in terms of functionality, but combined with a couple of Circle Launcher widgets so I can put several apps in one tile, and switching the app list to “Android style”, which is in the preferences, it’s actually quite cool. Being so simple, it loads really fast and scrolls fluidly. I’m gonna stick with it for a little while, and will certainly keep it around for when I feel like giving my phone a fresh look.

    • Guest

      I agree, I love the simplicity and the look.

  • Anonymous

    why anyone would want to do this is bizarre. It’s like stripping down your BMW to make it look/act like a Ford.

    • MikeC

      Nothing wrong with a Ford.

      • Anonymous

        not when you compare to a Chrysler but it still doesn’t run with the beauty and precision of a BMW.

  • Anonymous

    this is a really great alternative launcher. I have a zune hd and i love the interface and now my droid x has it. I’m probably going to get the Xoom Wifi when it comes out and i am probably going to try it out on it, too.

  • Bs_thinker

    Why?

  • gr0od12

    what’s the weather widget that you’re using in the 2nd screenshot?

    • http://twitter.com/ronoffringa Ron Offringa

      It’s part of the Beautiful Widgets suite.

      • gr0od12

        Thanks a lot mate

        • Anonymous

          No problem.

  • surf02

    Launcher pro ftw nothing better

  • Two_cents

    anti theft device for my thunderbolt… nobody wants to steal a windows phone… sorry I had to say it

  • Anonymous

    I love that my phone can look like stock 2.2 the first week, an i*hone the next week, a Windows 7 phone after that, and then when I get tried of all of them I can just change it to something completely different and awesome the that’s never been on anything before. This is why I f*cking love Android.

    • dillydally

      Ditto, I couldnt say it any better…

    • dillydally

      Ditto, I couldnt say it any better…

    • dillydally

      Ditto, I couldnt say it any better…

    • dillydally

      Ditto, I couldnt say it any better…

    • dillydally

      Ditto, I couldnt say it any better…

    • Anonymous

      This blog Is very informative.I am really pleased to post comment on this blog.Thanks for sharing.
      Regards:
      Options Trading

  • Sacco

    Nothing worse that a phone theme that tries to dress it up as another phone. Just cries ‘wannabe’. Have to agree with the poster who said that anybody who likes this bought the wrong phone.

    • Me

      The only thing good about the windows 7 phone is the launcher and I have it!

    • Anonymous

      Nothing worse than a phone that can only have one look. Nothing better than a phone that can have any look it wants on any given day. Your argument is not a good one at all. Besides, there is more to the android experience than the home screen.

  • Bump47

    It’s a cool launcher to use every now and then. I think I will keep it to show off to friends and just use maybe like a few days out of the month

  • Ryan Thomas

    A lot of these comments are ignorant to most capabilities of the launcher. You can change the home backgroud, color and opacity of tile backgrounds, find tons of WP7 icons online, even make bitmaps cover the whole tile which looks fantastic, change the app drawer style, animation effects, sctoll bounce, etc

    The dev updates constantly fixing bugs and usually responds to user requests with an update within a few days. You can also set any tiles to keep counts like mms count, email count, etc. This review grazes the surface as to how good launcher 7 is.

    I’ve been using it for weeks and love it. Anyone who doesn’t want to jump through screens and wants to quickly access raw content will love the simplicity of this launcher

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, I probably could have gone into a little more detail. I didn’t mostly because I didn’t want to write about how I like the app because of its customization. Without certain customizations I wouldn’t use it, but what sold it for me was the simplicity. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Anonymous

    If I wanted Windows Phone I would have bought one.

    • http://iamandroid.co/profile/rocktoonz Rocktoonz

      I have to agree. If I wanted a big blue screen, well….:D

      • Anonymous

        I use this. And it has huge advantages over WP7. First, I have a custom background. Second, widgets. Third, any color tile I want. Fourth, I an hav ean android style app drawer (rather than the horrible “list”). Fifth, I don’t have to deal with the rest of a WP7 device. The home launcher is only a small part of the experience of any phone. Doesn’t mean I don’t like flashing roms, using android apps, the amazing gmail experience, etc.

        Some people need to think a little more before they talk :p

        • http://iamandroid.co/profile/rocktoonz Rocktoonz

          I don’t use it. I don’t want it. I too have a custom background. I have widgets. I have an app drawer. I don’t have tiles, I have icons. They take up less room so I don’t have to change screens to get to them as much because I can get more on the screen that way. I’d much rather have the option of small icons than big (IMO ugly) colored tiles, no matter what the color. If I liked WP7′s home launcher, I’d have gotten a WP7 phone. I don’t want anything to do with it, so I went Android, and I want it to look like I did.

          • Anonymous

            Nobody said you should use it, or that you had to like it. Like i said in other posts, the lovely thing about android is we can all have CHOICE! I can go back to my last launcher ADW Ex, or the launcher before that Launcher Pro +, or the launcher before that ADW, or the launcher before that Launcher2. Choice! Whether you love a certain launcher or not doesn’t matter to the next guy. Same with me, whether I like a certain launcher shouldn’t affect you. Seems it did though, since you need to hate on it.

            Also. “If I liked WP7′s home launcher, I’d have gotten a WP7 phone.” Really? That seems like a wierd criteria. You buy for the home app? I buy for the overall experience, which is why I bought an android, despite the fact that I like the home launcher of WP7. Gmail, google maps, google reader, google voice, google calendar, google tasks, custom roms, app freedom, the list goes on. None of that is nearly duplicated on WP7, and that’s why I bought an Android. Not for some replaceable home launcher.

    • Kierra

      Isnt this suppose to be the beauty of Android? Choice?

  • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

    I like this launcher, but the problem is that the icons for widgets don’t match the default ones. This is kind of a deabreaker for me.

    • Rtd4379

      You can easily find icon packs online and you can also make a bitmap fill the entire tile.

    • Misterjim

      You can select stock icon now when you create the tile!

  • http://twitter.com/d1m1m1 David M

    Ya tried the launcher and didn’t like it much. Just way to bland for me

  • Rizzidy

    This has lawsuit written all over it.

    • Honeycomb

      can’t patent the “look and feel” of an os ;)
      remember Apple Vs Microsoft?

      • Rizzidy

        I never said patent. I’m thinking trademark.

        • Honeycomb

          “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”
          source: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/trade_defin.jsp

          I don’t know but I don’t see how “live” tiles and icons could be a trademark.

          • Rizzidy

            And that’s why you won’t get paid to litigate these kinds of issues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Emaw-Kennedy/504157652 Michael Emaw Kennedy

    saw this before and i might try it

  • Alvinm 77

    Love my little brother’s WP7 HTC Surround. After playing with it for a few hours I can’t use Launcher 7 because I keep expecting it to do exactly what his phone does lol.

    Still nice but I just got some new HTC Skins for the Thunderbolt! Sticking with Sense UI for now.

  • http://twitter.com/hpizzy Hiral Patel

    Who is the Guest Post by? Hmmm….

    • http://twitter.com/hpizzy Hiral Patel

      As for Launcher 7 – not bad – I like the transitions from the homescreen to apps and even the app drawer.

    • Anonymous

      I’m guessing it’s @ronoffringa, but maybe I read the story wrong. :P

      • http://twitter.com/ronoffringa Ron Offringa

        Yeah I wrote it.

      • http://twitter.com/ronoffringa Ron Offringa

        Yeah I wrote it.

        • Anonymous

          Nice work, Ron! Another example of the Droid Life community at its best. :-)

          • http://twitter.com/ronoffringa Ron Offringa

            Thanks man! I love this community.

        • Anonymous

          Nice work, Ron! Another example of the Droid Life community at its best. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/whenjasonattks Jason

    I’ve been using this for 2 weeks and have been loving it.

    • Misterjim

      I absolutely love it ! Its the fastest, simplest,easiest launcher I have ever used.

  • Anonymous

    This definitely needs a video demo.

    • http://twitter.com/paulternate Paul Cleary

      Or a video review by Kellex, perhaps?

  • Mazz0310

    May give it a shot

    • Calvin Williams

      I tried it, and tbh… I love my Android style homescreen. It’s cool to play with but gets old.

      • Zee Fa64

        true!! Its cool, but gets boring toooo soon. Ive had it off an on.