Android 2.0+ Let’s face it people, the stock Android launcher is straight up boring. You can’t configure it, and on most phones, you can’t have more than 3 home screens. Luckily, LauncherPro [Market link] has arrived, and although it’s very similar to Helix, it’s got some strengths of its own. The first thing I noticed was the speed – this thing is blazing fast. Everything from sliding through the screens to pulling up the app drawer is much faster than stock. Let's check it out after the break.

For all you dock bar fanatics, fear not; it’s there, complete with phone, contact, e-mail, and web shortcuts. Unfortunately, you can’t customize it with your own apps, but it will open whatever software you have set as default. Before you grunt and immediately dismiss this as a contender for your phone, realize that it’s still in beta, and you can bet that more customizations are on the way.

If you’re a widget freak like myself, then a mere three screens just ain’t gonna cut it. LauncherPro lets you have three, five or seven home screens, and also lets you choose which one out of the seven will be your default home. To adjust the screen settings, simply hit menu and go to preferences where you can adjust it to your liking. Another useful gimmick this launcher has is when you hit the "home" key at your default home screen, all of your screens will appear, just like the "Leap" feature in HTC's Sense UI.

The app drawer produces a slick “fly-in” effect which is a copycat version of the N1, except without the 3D. You’ll notice that the scrolling is very responsive and produces virtually zero lag.


The bottom line is that this launcher is probably the fastest on the market, however, its current lack of customization (if you're using Google Voice for text messages, you're out of luck here) is holding it back from taking the number-one spot. Be sure to keep your ear to the street, because this home replacement has potential.

 

Reader comments

Android Launcher Pro beta makes an OK home screen even better

87 Comments

I installed this last nite after I saw that it was like around #5 in the top free downloads of the Android Market. Seeing as how I had just got rid of Helix Launcher, I just thought it was another home screen program....

BUT GOOD GAWD! This thing makes your homescreen soooo fast. Almost too fast. Fast enough that it really makes me think they should have kind of speed tweaking option available.

If there's one thing I've learned from this app, its that Google can easily enhance the Home screen if they want, and speed things up if they really tried. Makes me excited for Froyo and the supposed, "450%" speed increase

bhj216,

Goes along with the marketing principle of 'leave them wanting more". That way you can release something that makes it even better down te road to peak more interest in your product again.

They can pull apps from the store for people on their network (which is why I can't find tether apps in the market without taking my SIM card out) but it should be in the market on AT&T. I have the AT&T 3G Nexus One and it's there for me.

Do you have Android OS 2.0 or better? If not it won't show up.. only apps compatible with your version of the OS are shown.

this launcher is very fast and user friendly at first, but after a bit of my usual usage it began to slow down to a crawl. It got so bad that i couldn't even swipe between screens. so don't look at this as a permanent replacement because i suspect many will return to helix1.4beta_donate once they have the same problem.

This launcher also lacked very desirable features like landscape rotation when qwerty is closed and customizable shortcuts. although it brought a perfect replica of leap to an android launcher i couldn't find this useful any longer. so i finally uninstalled it yesterday.

What phone are you on? On my Droid it's been fast all day, having 5 loaded up homescreens.

I feel like the landscape rotation only kills the battery and causes lag, I hope the dev doesn't add it.

Landscape rotation is the primary reason I use Helix. This launcher is very fast, but I wish rotation could be added as an option. I see why some people may not like it but I am actually a little bummed when a launcher doesn't have it. Helix isn't the fastest but the rotation is awesome!

I haven't found any home replacements worth keeping, or that didn't chug and glitch out.

For a beta, this thing is FAST. It's snappy, and really nice. It's not a 3D launcher, but it's the same look and nice transition effect. The pinch to zoom/home button for a zoomed out view of your homescreens comes in handy, and I'm digging the shortcut icons. Just wish there were some more options there.

It's everything I wanted all the other home launchers to be, and enough to make me switch from stock. Hopefully it gets better, and not worse, and I'd even pay for it.

It doesn't show up in the market for me, but probably because I'm on 1.6. This app probably requires 2.0+. I had my hopes up and everything.

Not bad. I tried it on the Incredible and it seems to work well. I can't seem to get any of the Sense widgets to work on it, however. Is there a way to get the HTC clock/weather widget to work with this?

If you're using a UI interface that is not Sense UI by HTC, that means you have disabled Sense UI and can no longer use any of HTC's widgets. It's a trade-off. Either use Sense UI with HTC's widgets or use Launcher Pro. It's either or, not both.

I just downloaded on my HTC Hero (with leaked 2.1) and its solid! With the shortcuts, it eliminates anything but Beautiful Widgets Home Small on my main screen!!! Perfectly clean!!

Only recently has HelixLauncher seemed a bit sluggish for me, and now after switching to LauncherPro things are blazin' fast again. I wish you could customize the lower 4 shortcuts like HelixLauncher though- kind of a bummer, but the trade-off for speed is worth losing the control over my shortcuts at this point.

Day 2 and LauncherPro is still running great, outperforming HelixLauncher, no doubt. Still miss my custom static shortcuts next to the launcher though (N).

i downloaded it on my droid Eris!! Works great! bought beautiful widgets and now im not missing anything from sense....i think its a must have for people with 1st Gen phones, makes my Eris Alot faster

Everything has been said already as far as I'm concerned... It is awesome. It will only get better. I love it on my Droid, and my wife WILL love it on her Eris...

HelixLauncher = dethroned by LauncherPro!

Blazing fast? Check.

More modern interface? Check.

Cooler than your mom? Check!

Ok seems really nice, I just downloaded it but it's not in my app drawer! What's going on? Is there a trick to get it running?

How about putting the Android OS version the article refers to in the title? For example: "Android Launcher Pro beta makes an OK home screen even better (v2.1)"

Just installed on my Nexus One and so far so good. I'm using Cyanogen 5.0.6 and missed the Leap feature and 7 home screens from Sense, so this is great.

It looks freakin' amazing, but sadly after setting up nearly all my screens I found that it would force close every single time for any thing I tried to open! I'm on bugless beast 1.1 so maybe that has something to do w/ it.....gonna try to update that to whatever the latest release is, just been too lazy lately, but I really wanna use that pinch to zoom out to jump to diff screens!

Well according to my sys info on the phone it's BB1.1, I did this way back in the beginning of March.....found it at Droid Forums, cannot find the link for it now

BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS APP!!

I'm not an average end user. I use strong unique passwords for most things, including my email. My email password was 14 characters, alphanumeric, Upper/Lowercase, and special characters. My email account was hacked within an hour of installing this app on my phone. It may be pure coincidence, but I find that hard to believe.

Just an FYI to anyone who uses this app.

That sucks. How did you realize someone hacked it? I mean, the smart thing for a hacker to do is make themselves never known (so they can just read your email without you knowing, etc). Did they change your password or something?

downloaded on my droid eris! looks great just wish it could some how integrate my htc widgets! no option to do so!

downloaded on my droid eris! looks great just wish it could some how integrate my htc widgets! no option to do so!

I'm going to wait until the shortcuts are customizable. This is a little too beta right now, but I'm looking forward to trying it out. Helix doesn't appear to be updating regularly enough.

I installed it but it didn't retain my icons and folders. I didn't feel like resetting everything up again so I deleted it.

I didn't know that,thanks. I'll reinstall it, and when I get more time I'll spend more time with it. I'm fairly new at this.

If it ever gets the ability to put any shortcut in the bottom bar and be able to move items from one screen to another i may consider it. For now helix launcher 2 FTW!

Lucky for you. It's a fairly common problem (gauging by feedback in forums, and online). It's doesn't appear that updating the launcher is a priority (there's probably a good reason).

Ok, since i always like to try new things on my nexus one, i gave this one a try and... i never looked back :D

Yes it is FAST and the scrolling animation is awesome.
I really like the sense overview of the homescreens.
The shortcuts at the bottom are almost the same i had in helix launcher! Only thing i would change is the contacts with something like apps organizer. Since i have dialer one (MUST HAVE app for no (htc) sense users) i never need to go to the contacts app directly.

P.S. It DOES support moving shortcuts from one screen to another!

Anyone use this who has sense ui and/or the incredible. I kind of like it, but miss my sense weather widget. Any thoughts?

but the question is, is it worth it to buy beautiful widgets just to use this launcher? what does this do better than sense and what do beautiful widgets do better than htcs?

I guess it's up to you if it's worth it- <$2 for a nice weather widget, amongst about a dozen other widgets/toggles that come with the package (some I use, some I don't.) It was worth it to me, but to each their own.

Level Up Studio is a fairly active developer (releasing skins and widget updates), and the updates are usually good quality updates- this, I appreciate. I don't know how often HTC updates their weather widget so I can't say much on that.

The Level Up Studio weather widget is free, however you have to enable live wallpapers and on the HTC Incredible all it did was put a sun on the wallpaper, clicking it did not update. I waited about an hour for a weather update.

but the question is, is it worth it to buy beautiful widgets just to use this launcher? what does this do better than sense and what do beautiful widgets do better than htcs?

I have those same questions as well.

Also, once you set launcherpro as your default how can you switch back to sense? I'm restoring my icons to match how i had it on senseUI but I can't figure out to switch back. When I set it to default a message said to switch back go to settings>applications>manage applications but once i'm there i don't know what to do to change it.

I have the sprint hero with a rooted 2.1 rom which leads me to another question. Since the official 2.1 release is supposed to be may 21st and I am going to have to erase everything I have now and start fresh when I update then what happens with all the apps I paid for? How can i get them back? I want to buy beautiful widgets but I want to be sure that I don't have to buy it again once I update to the official 2.1 release.

Thanks in advance!

To switch back, go to Settings > Applications > Manage applications > select Launcher Pro > tap Clear Defaults button

google keeps track of the apps you paid for, so u don't have to purchase them again. Just re-download them.

Is anyone noticing that their battery life shortens after installing/setting up this app? My battery seems to drain faster than with the stock launcher. Any suggestions?

Thanks.

Using a custom launcher will drain your battery slightly more than the stock launcher simply because it's adding one more process that runs in the background. It's just the nature of the beast. Hopefully this type of launcher will be a stock feature in Froyo!

I'm sticking w/ Helix, which I like better because:
- you can use one finger to bring up the cards (double tap)
- you can customize the permanent icons at the bottom

I don't see much performance diff on my Droid, though I did see LauncherPro slow down when I went to 7 screens. I don't see any advantage here except for the cool App Drawer animation - big whoop, sez I.

Just press the home button on launcher pro and it brings up the cards. They are also much larger than helix and you can easily pick the homescreen you want :)

Instead of pressing home to see all of the home screens, you can pinch-zoom-out like the Leap Feature on the HTC devices.

Pinch zoom is overrated - it takes two fingers, and for most people two hands (one to hold the phone and one to do the pinch - one handing it is not that easy).

Agreed- way overrated. I use my phone with one hand, so pinch zooming really is something I could care less about. I do love how hitting the home button while already home will bring up the cards- very simple and fast!

Lucky for you it's not St. Patrick's Day everyday! Your inability to pinch someone using two fingers on the same hand would leave you at a disadvantage!

So far, this app is absolutely amazing. Now, instead of trying to cram just what was "worthy" onto three screens (I have the Samsung Moment), I can actually arrange icons by category, see all 7 screens at once so I can jump straight to the one I want... and oh my god, I have enough screens to dedicate one to folder and temporary file shortcuts! If there is a downside, I don't see it. Sure, I'd like to change the bottom icons, but I guarantee that'll come in time... LOL this app is like my reward for going through going through the 2.1 upgrade! Thanks so much for the heads-up, Android Central!

Version 0.2 has just come out with a lot of improvements. I had tried both versions of the Helix Launchers and this blows them away! It's extremely fast and I have yet to have an FC as I did daily with Helix. Plus this developer is actively working on his app. From his blog he seems very eager and active, and wants to develop a quality product. This is definitely my free launcher of choice. I'd like to be able to customize the bottom shortcuts also, but that will come in time.

blew me away!! even faster that the stock Android 1.5 on my Spica before.

much faster than HelixLauncher.

and MUCH MUCH more faster than the bundled Samsung Pantheon home screen on Android 2.1 firmware.

Samsung software sucks big time!

Thank you so much!!

This launcher is so fast on my N1 and it hasn't crashed one. Is there any place to donate money to the developer?

QUESTION... Is anyone having trouble with LauncherPro freezing up after the screen has been turned off for an extended amount of time? After about 15-20min, all of the features begin to "stutter." I've had to restart the launcher several times. Also, I'm running BB V 1.0.

I love the launcher, but whenever I press the home key, my motorola droid reverts to the orginal launcher. Anyway to get around this?

App is updated now and allows for custom shortcuts on the bottom!!!! so exiting helix is now no longer active on my phone.

Okay I have the Sprint htc hero and since the update I can't open the app. I like the app but I don't know if there is a bug for the Sprint Htc Hero. Can someone help?