Action Launcher Shutters

Tablets also get some attention, along with a number of other fixes

Every now and then you run into a cool system-level Android app that does some really interesting stuff -- and does it well. Action Launcher is one such application. From Aussie developer Chris Lacy, Action Launcher, erm, launched in October 2012 and shifted the usual Android launcher paradigm -- the home screens for app icons, folders and widgets, and a separate app drawer full of icons -- to a far-left (and extremely speedy) list view for apps. 

An update in December brought forth Covers -- sort of uber-folders that added a slick new bit of functionality to the application.

And now, we have Shutters, available in an update today along with a slew of new features and fixes.

In a nutshell, Shutters are widgets launched by swiping on the corresponding app icon. Instead of a widget taking up all or most of a home screen, it stays hidden in the app icon until you swipe on it. You get a pop-up question to make sure you're cool with that and then the widget appears.

Action Launcher Shutters

The plus is that you save on screen real estate this way. No more needing a whole home screen -- and no more swiping over to it -- to get to that full-screen widget you need a few times a day. The down side is that we've found a couple widgets that aren't playing nicely on the first try. Google+ and the camera app take some patience for the widget to populate, and you might need to try opening it a second time. 

Other improvements to Action Launcher include:

  • Landscape mode on by default for tablets (including the Nexus 7)
  • Proper Nexus 10 support
  • Much-improved app stability
  • Easier to open the app list with a left swipe when not on the left home screen
  • And a whole bunch more

Check out Lacy's tutorial here, and be sure to hit the Google Play icon at the top of this post to give it a whirl.


Reader comments

Action Launcher gains 'Shutters' - swipe your way to widgets


He's trying to set his launcher apart from other launchers by innovating rather than duplicating. You can always use something like tasker or icon changer if you really need to change your icons. But as far as I know, Shutters and Covers are exclusive to Action Launcher.

Ummm.... not really. What's being called "covers" in this launcher is also available in Nova launcher. Tap to launch the app or swipe to open the folder. Or the other way around.

The new shutters feature is new though. And really interesting too.

I am trying to remember which launcher implemented the "cover" feature first, Nova or Action Launcher.

I do remember that Action Launcher was the first launcher I used them with, which leads me to believe that it had them first.

Maybe Phil, or someone else knows for sure?

I believe GoLauncher actually had the 'cover' feature first, but only for items in it's dock. I don't know who was the first to implement it on the normal home screen.

However the "shutters" is also not exactly new. PowerStrip (and old launcher that no longer is supported on most devices) had the ability to add Icons for Widgets in it's dock as well. Clicking the icon would open the widget just like the shutters feature.

Both are great features and I'm glad someone is putting them in the main 'launcher' space instead of just the dock area for a change.

Correct, in Nova, if you create a folder, you can specify 1 app in that folder to auto launch on tap, swipe up to open folder. Covers is basically the same thing, only difference, Covers only shows 1 app icon, instead of the folder icon in as in Nova.

I believe you need the paid version Nova Prime...Create your folder in Nova...Long press the folder and select Edit..You should see a Check Box labeled Swipe to Open Folder. if you check that, you have to swipe to open....Below that you will see Swipe on the drop box, select the Apps tab...scroll through list and select the app you want the folder to auto launch.

I always like this Launcher but never bought it because there was no WOW factor... well not the case anymore. I am now the proud owner of the Action Launcher. Hope to see it get even better in the coming year

I've been using action launcher for awhile. it's fantastic, and with this update it's hands down the best launcher.

Sounds good. I've been using it for a couple weeks on N7000 and it is pretty great. Covers are my favorite. Only problem I have is occasional crash. If the update fixes that, it will be the perfect launcher for me. My other minor inconvenience is that when backing out of an app it usually goes to the home screen rather than an app that was open before.

Nova user. Action Launcher Covers feature as many have said is nothing new. Nova has had this "feature" for some time now. In Nova if you create a folder, you can specify 1 app in that folder to auto launch on tap, swipe up to open folder. Covers is basically the same thing, only difference, Covers only shows 1 app icon, instead of the folder icon in as in Nova.

I do like the swipe the edge for the side app drawer, similar to the Ubuntu launcher/OS. But, I wish you could organize the app drawer into groups. All you can do is hide apps.

Very limited in customization. Only gestures are, pull down for notifications ( only occasionally works for me), the swipe for launching covers or shutters...maybe I have been spoiled with Nova. I have a gesture to return to the default home screen, a gesture to open the app drawer and a gesture for notifications (which has never failed me).

My biggest gripe with Action Launcher, I truly dislike scrolling wallpaper. Almost every launcher, even the most basic ones, has the ability to disable wallpaper scrolling.

I finally caved and bought action launcher. It's not yet fully on par, like a few commenters above said, with Nova, but man do I love that sideswipe app drawer.

Just needs a few more features and it will be incredible.

I jumped on Action Launcher early on, just to check it out, but ended up going back to Nova. I left it installed, though, so that I could see when it was being updated. Lacy has really been updating this thing regularly, and I've actually been using it as my launcher for about a week now. I'm enjoying the features, and I'm really looking forward to what he'll come up with in the future.

I don't know... to me the point of widgets is to be able to look at them on the home screen without interaction. If I had to interact to see a widget I might as well just open the app itself, so I don't think this would be useful for me...

This launcher is GREAT. And I'm currently using it.
BUT, it lacks a lot of customization options.

I miss some features from Nova, like gestures, custom icon sizes, widgets dropdown options (when you press and hold a widget), groups for drawer, optional transition effects for pages...

Developer should implement some of these.

BTW, cover and shutter features are awesome, I can't live without it anymore... :)

A lot of hub bub about this launcher. It works well but the lack of ability to resize icons properly is annoying