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Aviate beta is a fresh take on your Android launcher (Hands-On)

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Aviate beta is a fresh take on your Android launcher (Hands-On)
An exciting new entry into the alternate Android launcher arena has been released as a public beta. The launcher is called Aviate, and it looks to intelligently change your homescreens based on the time of day and your location. There have been others that have tried this idea, but Aviate's clean design and smooth performance help it to stand out, although it is not without its oddities as a beta product.

The idea behind the app is simple: your device should adapt to you. Depending on the time of day, your location, or even if you are in the process of traveling from one place to another, the app will give you a customized experience. The design is clean and minimalist, and best of all keeps things neatly organized. The main screen never changes, except for a ribbon at the top to let you know what context the app thinks you're in. The smart area is kept in a drawer that slides out from the top ribbon. 


When you first startup Aviate there is a short tutorial that brings you around the UI. The main screen has a featured image (we can't call it a background because it sits inline) and a few suggested favorite apps based on what's on your device (camera, phone, Google Search, Facebook, Messaging, etc.) Swipe in from the right, and you'll find the rest of your apps organized by context. This means you'll find things like Google+, Snapchat, and Hangouts under Social; and Calendar, Dropbox, and Google Drive will be under the Work category. Swiping once more in from the right gets you your full list of apps listen alphabetically. 

If you swipe in from the left of the homescreen you'll get to the various contexts that Aviate uses to change what you see. At start, it will have Home, Work, and Going Somewhere, but it will also add in various places that you visit during the day (as you can see in the screencaptures below, it added a nearby gym.) You can also manually choose where you are using the Nearby option, but that's where you'll hit one of the beta oddities. The Nearby tap shows a mini map and a selection of places close to your location, but it has no search option, it lists places that don't exist (like the strip club it claims is down the street from here,) and the list is very thin and missing many locations. 

You can manually switch between places if you want, or the main homepage will change based on where you are. The favorite apps at the bottom will stay the same, as will your favorite image. What changes is the area you'll find when you swipe down from the top (or press the home button). In that top drawer you will find a few suggested apps, quick action buttons, and widgets based on the context. For example, the Home tab starts out with quick actions for alarms, a weather widget and a few app links, while the Work tab has email and calendar event quick actions, a calendar widget, and links for Google Drive and other apps. The Going Somewhere tab has links for Waze, Yelp, and other travel apps, while a Place tab will have Foursquare tips and check-in quick actions. 

All of these tabs are customizable, so you can have whatever links and any widgets you may want in each drawer. We've set up ours with the Google Now widget on the Home tab, and music controls in our Going Somewhere tab. Everything is customized by long-pressing, but that isn't part of the tutorial, so you would have to figure that out on your own. 

One other oddity comes from the way Aviate is looking to monetize getting in the way of customization. If you don't know that customization is done all through long-presses, you might assume that the "+New" button that you see in various spots would help you customize your app links, but in fact they only point you towards sponsored apps. This can be a good way to discover new apps, but it also can be confusing when you're first setting up the app. Also, the location detection is often a bit off. The gym it listed for us is about one block away, but Aviate would sometimes switch as if we were there. Apparently, the app doesn't use your WiFi location to help make its decisions. 

Overall, Aviate is a very well made app that has a lot of potential. One of the best compliments we can give is that we installed the app a couple hours ago and it may stay as our default launcher for a while. Most other alternative launchers give way to Nova after about half an hour at most, but we can really see using Aviate for a while. We especially want to see how much Aviate's reliance on location services will dig into our battery life. Early indications are that the battery hit could be a point to watch as the app progresses through its beta phase. 

And, that is really the worst part of all this. Aviate is only in public beta right now. We reached out to developer ThumbsUp Labs to try getting some invite codes for you guys, but they are moving slowly on that in order to make sure everything is working well. We were told that we may get some invite codes to give out to you all in about a week. 

In the meantime, if you're lucky enough to have gotten an invite code, Aviate beta is available for Android phones (not tablets) running Android 2.3 and higher. 


Download: Aviate
source: Aviate

78 Comments
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posted on 15 Oct 2013, 13:41 1

1. GeekMovement (Posts: 1521; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Neat, more customization. Looks nice so far.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 15:37

5. da.pharoh (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 May 2013)


Hey buddy can you send me an invite so i can try the app... It looks promising

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 12:49

20. Goldenone95 (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


can you send me an invite code?

danielkoetschau@hotmail.de

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 10:08

38. anand.rgh (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)


Hi Could you please send an invite on anand.rgh@gmail.com ?

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 11:31

19. surajbalajr. (Posts: 5; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


me too :)

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 13:41

2. ocilfa (Posts: 334; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)


Cool, but I still prefer Smart Launcher. It's just so clean and organized.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 14:06

3. DaHarder (Posts: 174; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)


I've tried Smart Launcher, and it's nice but...

Having recently received my Aviate 'invite' I much prefer what they're doing with this HSR - Very Intuitive/Innovative and makes any Android smartphone far easier to navigate/use than any other mobile OS existent.

posted on 17 Oct 2013, 05:11

22. mayurmotwani (Posts: 2; Member since: 17 Oct 2013)


Hey buddy can you send me an invite so i can try the app... My mail id is mayur.k.motwani@gmail.com

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 15:21

4. Izoe (Posts: 114; Member since: 02 Sep 2010)


Hi guys, anyone using it yet? Any chance I can get an invite? would like to try it out

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 17:42

11. dickwyn (Posts: 601; Member since: 07 May 2012)


i got it, from The Verge

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 17:43

12. dickwyn (Posts: 601; Member since: 07 May 2012)


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=567924043256138&set=a.464190840296126.125249.459599404088603&type=1&theater

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 12:51

21. Goldenone95 (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


it is possible to get an invite from you?

danielkoetschau@hotmail.de

thanks!

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 15:42

6. PhoneCritic (Posts: 375; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


can someone send me an invite as well like to give it go.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 15:56

7. Tones (Posts: 52; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


Its a really nice and quite different launcher. Havent fully checked out the day / night and home / work customisations but its great so far.

posted on 17 Oct 2013, 05:12

23. mayurmotwani (Posts: 2; Member since: 17 Oct 2013)


Hey buddy can you send me an invite so i can try the app... My mail id is mayur.k.motwani@gmail.com

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 16:07

8. Cyberchum (Posts: 281; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Glad to see a clean dark theme because if it hasn't got any, there's no chance of I downloading let alone using it. My screen uses more than 60% percent of my battery already despite using mostly dark wallpapers ; a major downside of SamOLED.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 16:08

9. Cyberchum (Posts: 281; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Will Google for an apk of this.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 16:53

10. iParkos (Posts: 12; Member since: 15 Jan 2013)


If someone has an extra code could you help me out? Please!

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 19:31

13. redrooster13 (Posts: 107; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)


Anybody have a spare beta invite code avaliable? Would appreciate it if you could give me one!

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 20:25

14. tike033 (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 Oct 2013)


Yea If anyone has a invite code would be cool.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 20:31

15. gregorykbrownjr (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 Oct 2013)


I've been dying to find some way to get an invite...anyone wanna help?

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 21:11

16. tike033 (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 Oct 2013)


Tell me about it .this wait sucks.

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 02:24

17. Siddhant04 (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


Anybody have a spare beta invite code avaliable? Would appreciate it if you could give me one!

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 04:48

18. Xianead (Posts: 11; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


Could anyone send me an invite? Please? Think of it as your birthday gift to me, my b-day's on Friday.

posted on 17 Oct 2013, 14:24

24. surajbalajr. (Posts: 5; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


Plz send me an invite at surajbalajr.32@gmail.com.
Please guys!! :)

posted on 20 Oct 2013, 18:47

25. TheMan (Posts: 424; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


DIdn't care for it. It's been a couple of months since I uninstalled it, though.

posted on 20 Oct 2013, 22:05

26. Izoe (Posts: 114; Member since: 02 Sep 2010)


Have three invites, first three people to post their emails after my post get them. Please come back here and share with others who want to give it a try.

posted on 21 Oct 2013, 08:03

31. Davst (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


I'd love a invite to david.stenbeck@gmail.com

posted on 29 Oct 2013, 14:31

46. gauravbhakuni90 (Posts: 7; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)


Hi, Please send me invitation code.
my mail id is gaurav.bhakuni.90@gmail.com
thanks.

posted on 29 Oct 2013, 23:22

47. servantheart12458 (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Oct 2013)


Would love to try it. servantheart@gmail.com
Thanks

posted on 21 Oct 2013, 01:39

27. pennyp (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


Would love to try it, does anyone have a spare invite. tracyw91@gmail.com. thanks

posted on 21 Oct 2013, 06:52

28. Izoe (Posts: 114; Member since: 02 Sep 2010)


sent invite

posted on 21 Oct 2013, 07:32

29. Siddhant04 (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


Plz send a invite

posted on 21 Oct 2013, 07:33

30. Siddhant04 (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


Kabra.siddhant@gmail.com

posted on 21 Oct 2013, 13:22

32. Izoe (Posts: 114; Member since: 02 Sep 2010)


sent invite

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 20:46

37. srinivaschanti (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Oct 2013)


@siddhant Can u send me an invite to chanti.calls@gmail.com

Thanks..!!

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 06:18

33. pennyp (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


Hi
Have received invite (thanks lzoe)
Have three invites, first three people to post their emails after my post get them. Please come back here and share with others who want to give it a try.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 06:45

35. wonko (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Oct 2013)


I would like an invite for Aviate: vad.man.behover@gmail.com

Thanks!

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 09:02

41. harshita05 (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Oct 2013)


can any one send me invite plz
hrshtkbr@gmail.com
thankyou.....:-)

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 11:38

42. karansharma (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Jul 2012)


Hi, plz send an invite, would really appreciate it
kashisharma94@gmail.com

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 06:44

34. wonko (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Oct 2013)


I would like an invite for Aviate: vad.man.behover@gmail.com

Thanks!

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 20:43

36. srinivaschanti (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Oct 2013)


Can anyone send me an invite for Aviate to chanti.calls@gmail.com

Thanks..!!

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 10:54

39. Jasongal (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)


Does any have an invite available?

Thanks, jason@olysys.com

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 08:48

40. harshita05 (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Oct 2013)


can any one send me invite plz
hrshtkbr@gmail.com
thankyou.....:-)

posted on 26 Oct 2013, 06:09

43. pennyp (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


Invite sent, all invites given out now

posted on 27 Oct 2013, 09:02

44. wrd6315 (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Oct 2013)


Does any one have an invite you can send?
ys420866@gmail.com
Thanks

posted on 27 Oct 2013, 20:16

45. servantheart12458 (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Oct 2013)


Would love to try this aviate if any invites out there. Thanks. servantheart@gmail.com :-)

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 05:11

48. lumpy26 (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


Anyone got any invites left? Would greatly appreciate one, Thanks!

cslumsden26@gmail.com

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 05:59

49. lumpy26 (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


Got 5 invites available, hit me up for one

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 06:10

50. samjaba (Posts: 3; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


friend can you invite me??? Pls

n.samjk@gmail.com

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 06:54

51. servantheart12458 (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Oct 2013)


Friend lumpy 26 I would certainly appreciate one and pay it forward.

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 08:01

52. servantheart12458 (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Oct 2013)


TY to lumpy26; invites, hit me up.
servantheart@gmail.com

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 09:14

53. gauravbhakuni90 (Posts: 7; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)


pls send me invitation code my mail id is gaurav.bhakuni.90@gmail.com.
thanks.

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 12:44

54. gauravbhakuni90 (Posts: 7; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)


Ty to servant heart@gmail.com for the invitation code.

Have 3 invites anyone interested ?

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 15:14

55. rodrigomaia17 (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


Yes I'm interested. please send to rodrigo.maia.pereira@gmail.com

posted on 31 Oct 2013, 06:26

56. samjaba (Posts: 3; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


i am interested.
Kindly send me an invite

n.samjk@gmail.com

posted on 31 Oct 2013, 06:27

57. samjaba (Posts: 3; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


send as fast as you can...
Please

posted on 31 Oct 2013, 06:58

58. Xianead (Posts: 11; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


Me too please.. xianead18@gmail.com

posted on 31 Oct 2013, 07:59

59. lumpy26 (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


Still got 4 invites left

posted on 01 Nov 2013, 04:26

60. riekki (Posts: 5; Member since: 01 Nov 2013)


Please send me one! mikko.santikko@hotmail.com
Thanks!

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