February 23, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Anyone with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus or Android 4.0-equipped phone needs to head over to Android Market and downloadNova Launcher. The app bills itself as “Everyone’s favorite ICS launcher,” and while it’s obviously not everyone’s favorite, it is one that everyone should try.
Nova Launcher is an alternative to the stock Ice Cream Sandwich launcher that brings a great deal of customization options. One of the smallest but most powerful examples of the app is that it can remove the persistent search bar seen at the top of the default launcher. It can toggle the divider between dock and apps, change folder icons on the home screen, change app icons, and returns some traditional home screen conventions that users may have missed. Do you still find yourself long-pressing on the home screen to add a widget, forgetting that action is only possible through the app drawer now? Worry not, because Nova Launcher can restore the conventional way of adding widgets.
Sure, these are small changes that address minor things, but that’s what makes Nova Launcher so great. As much as we love Ice Cream Sandwich at Androinica HQ, it’s not perfect, and having the ability to address small imperfections through third-party apps is what makes Android so great. I have actually shied away from replacement apps because the default ICS launcher was superior to them all, but Nova Launcher has been a breath of fresh air during my beta testing over the past month.
Android 4.0 or higher devices can experience the same by heading to the Android Market and downloading the app. Nova Launcher is free, but a Prime version ($4.00) adds the ability to use a number of gestures that provide shortcuts to apps and activities. Nova Launcher Prime users will also have dock swipe options, more scroll effects, and the ability to hide apps from the app drawer. Try out the free version and see if you’ll make the jump to the premium app after testing out the app for a few days.
Other features include:
- Custom Grid – ?Configure the rows and columns to fit all your app and widget needs.
- Scrollable Dock – Keep all your favorite apps on the dock, with up to 7 icons per page and up to 3 pages.
- Scroll Effects – ?Enjoy eye candy when scrolling your desktop and drawer. Effects include Cube and Cardstack and more for Prime users.
- Infinite Scroll - ?Never be far from your favorite page, loop through your desktop continuously.
- Folder Icons - You can chose a background, preview style or even replace the whole icon.
- Backup/Restore - Export your settings and layout before a wipe to quickly get back up and running.