Android Central

Back at Google I/O last year, our very own Phil Nickinson posed the question -- might Google Now become an Android home screen? Well, a new custom launcher in the Play Store brings a little taste of that to life. SF Launcher Alpha comes from the same developer who brought us the Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and integrates the now familiar Google Now images with a card style layout for apps and widgets. 

The top image is currently limited to that of San Francisco, London or the generic Google Now image, but will change with the time of day from dawn through day into dusk. Below it sits a widget 'card' and while only one widget is on show at any time, it scrolls so you can add as many as you like. Below that sits your favorite apps, the number displayed is customizable and you choose from scratch -- when you first start the launcher this card is empty. 

Scrolling in from the left brings up the settings menu where the theme can be chosen along with numerous different visual setting tweaks, as well as controlling the behavior of tapping on the clock and top image. This can be customized to launch search, the stock clock app, quick settings, among others. 

Scrolling in from the right brings up your full app drawer, all the while maintaining the top image and clock. It's a simple idea, and a simple launcher, but is definitely something different to other launchers we've seen. It's still in the early Alpha stages, but is available to download for free from the Google Play Store now. Click on past the break for a quick walkthrough video.


Reader comments

SF Launcher Alpha brings a little piece of Google Now to the homescreen


This is what I love most about Android. If you don't like how one company does it you can download a new launcher that's absolutely different.

Choice is good but I'm not liking this launcher.

I think Google Now needs a card stack widget similar to currents and youtube but not a whole Android homescreen devoted to it.

I'm surprised AC hasn't done a post about PA's pie launcher or LMT launcher.

LMT launch is not a launcher per say....sort of like soft buttons. But it is really cool. Once you start using it, it becomes soo natural, you actually wish that was the default way

I love this launcher, however I had to switch back to Apex until they add the ability to drag and drop icons on the favorite screen and include folder capabilities.

This is real nice. I love that it looks so different. A few changes like those listed above and it may become a daily driver.

I like it a lot but not ready to pull the trigger to make it my everyday launcher. I'll definitely be checking back though.

This is why I love this site... I never would've heard about this launcher... I'd been looking for something simple and clean. Love it!

Blech. This launcher is a good idea but has the worst user interface for adding apps and widgets I've ever seen. Not only is there a lack of folders, you can't move around the apps and widgets by dragging and dropping. You pretty much have to remove all the apps in order to move one around. I'll stick with Nova Prime, thank you.

The developer of this launcher posted in /r/android about a week ago. He made it perfectly clear that this launcher is alpha at best. If you search for his thread over there you will be able to leave your ideas of what you would like to see. The developer is a great guy and listening to all ideas.