Smart Launcher for Android: Is It Really That Smart?
Among the plethora of applications available for Android devices, launchers have grown to become quite popular. They can often offer better feeling, better features, and better usability for your phone. At the very least, a launcher can provide a different look and feel to the home screen of your phone.
There are many popular launchers for Android. Today we’re going to look at one such launcher – Smart Launcher.
About Smart Launcher
Smart Launcher, having been downloaded over 10 million times from Google play store, is one of the most popular Android launchers. It is available for Android version 2.1 and higher. It offers a free version and a paid version which costs $9.39.
Smart Launcher can be downloaded directly from the play store through this link for paid version https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ginlemon.flowerpro and this link for free version: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ginlemon.flowerfree. Once installed and launched, Smart Launcher prompts you to select preferred layouts, default apps and a wallpaper and then you are done setting it up.
On the initial start, the home screen of Smart Launcher has applications displayed in the selected layout, a time widget, a search bar at the top and an app drawer trigger at the bottom right corner.
You can search for apps and contacts or perform a web search through the search bar on home screen. Smart Launcher also facilitates making calls or messaging directly from within the search results.
Similar to most other launchers, the clock widget displays current time and date. Tapping on the widget opens up the clock app. On top of these general features, Smart Launcher’s clock widget enables changing the color of the clock and auto repositioning. This is a default widget and can be replaced with other widgets. However, a home screen pane can have only one widget.
Below the clock widget, there are apps displayed in the selected layout. This apps section can also include folders and application shortcuts (shortcuts to perform a certain action in the certain application). The items in this listing are also defaults set by Smart Launcher and can easily be changed.
And finally, the app drawer which you can access by pressing the trigger icon at the bottom left or by swiping right on the home screen. The apps are displayed by grouping them into different categories according to their type. This is possibly where the ‘smart’ in ‘Smart Launcher’ becomes more prominent. Although not perfect, the categorization is mostly correct. And like in other places of the launcher, this categorization is also configurable. However, there are some limitations in the free version of Smart Launcher.
Although Smart Launcher comes with the quite good default setup, you’ll inevitably want to customize it to your liking and that’s all right. There are lots of customization options available. Some include the search bar design and behavior, widgets, icons, and categories. Let’s have a dive into the most important ones.
1. Organizing home and app drawer
You can add apps, app shortcuts and folders in the home screen. The icon of each of these components performs its default action on tap. Smart Launcher offers a double tap action along with the default option. To set double-tap action long press on the icon, tap on “Double tap” and select an action. One example where this is applicable is the phone app. Single tap for phone and double tap for contacts. These taps can also be set to show pop-up widgets displayed as an overlay.
The app drawer also has many configurations available. On long pressing an app icon, we can see the available options – rename, edit icon, manage, hide and rate on play store. When these options are displayed, the category of the app can be changed by simply dragging its icon to the desired category.
Another important customization feature is the management of categories. You can add categories, rename existing category or edit categories icon by simply long pressing on any category icon from the app drawer.
2. Settings and Preferences
Smart Launcher offers many configuration settings you can choose from. To see them, long press on an empty region in home screen and select Preferences. Here you can see options available for the search bar, icon, animations, widgets, gestures along with many others.
3. Customization through themes
While a lot of changes can be done manually, installing themes can be a great way to quickly get a beautiful looking launcher. To install themes for Smart Launcher, long press on an empty area on the home screen, select themes and then install a theme from the market tab.
Smart Launcher is a great mix of flexibility, usability and of course smartness. However, if using the free version of the launcher, you may feel yourself constrained. There are constant signs of features being blocked in free version prompting you to buy the full version. Also, the free version has limitations on the number of screens it allows. If you can move past this or are getting a paid version, then Smart Launcher is still a great launcher.
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