Android Launchers

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When I got a tablet I was annoyed at the big differences between how my phone (a OnePlus 5T) and my tablet (a Galaxy Tab 8) worked. I wasn't aware that it was possible to change the launcher you use until a friend of mine pointed it out. I've only tried out launchers that appear on F-Droid.

There seems to be two different types of launchers for Android. Homescreen replacements and just launchers. The Launchers are placed over any other app running.

Homescreen replacements


F-Droid page
Version tried

Posidon is quite different from all the other launchers that I've seen. Instead of a normal desktop with some icons or other means of launching applications it features a list of your notifications and optionally a number of rss feeds.

It does have the usual Dock and App Drawer that many other launchers also have, so you can of course still start any application you want. It seems to be able to handle large folders in the dock well enough, at least for my purposes.


F-Droid page
Version tried

Lawnchair is a boring launcher, in the sense that it looks like most of the other basic launchers out there. It has plenty of features and customization options. It's got a very usual set-up of desktop and app drawer. It seems to be able to handle folders on the desktop of large-enough sizes (at least for my purposes). It allows you to add multiple widgets to a desktop. You can have multiple desktops. With the right settings you can set up quite interesting combinations of widgets on the desktops.


F-Droid page
Version tried

A simple and fast launcher that just shows a simple list of all of your apps. It allows you to find them by typing in their name. This can be done either with the letters shown on the home screen, or using the keyboard. Apps names are matched with substring matching, but not fuzzy, so “Droid” will match “DroidRec”, “F-Droid”, and “Light Android Launcher”, but “fd” will not match “F-Droid”.

Once you've filtered enough out you press the title and it launches. If your search has only a single result launch will run it automatically.

It doesn't show any icons, so apps with the same name are impossible to tell apart (Like “Gallery”, and “Calculator”).

Pie Launcher

F-Droid page
Version tried

The pie launcher is a great idea. If set up correctly it's very easy to use and it's fun to do. Its features are a bit minimal. There is basically the pie menu, and the big menu with the rest. No widgets can be put up, no icons can be put on the desktop (although I'm sure that's a feature, not a bug). Still, it keeps me from really using it.

There is also the recommendation that the menu will work best if you use ~6 items in your menu. I tried to see what the effect would be if I added more than that. It's fun, but it's not very useful. It becomes harder to select the item that you want to use and moving between the icons starts going very fast.



F-Droid page
Version tried

PaperLaunch is a side-launcher. It creates an overlay over any app running and lets you configure which applications are shown in which categories. It handles large folders by adding a "More…" option at the end of the bar and showing more options there like any other folder.

It's a little hard to use it sometimes, because most applications assume they have the entire screen to work, and PaperLaunch does take up some space on the edge of the screen for you to summon it. You can change the width of this area, and whether it shows on the left or right side. I have noticed that it occasionally interferes with the operation of other applications for me because the applications require me to do something too close to the edge and I end up opening PaperLaunch instead.

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Date: 2023-05-23 Tue 23:51

Emacs 28.2 (Org mode 9.6.7)