Pimp my phone: the 10 best new Android launchers and interface tools (December)

Pimp my phone: the 10 best new Android launchers and interface tools (December)
We took a glimpse at what's new and cool at the Play Store in the interface draping department this month, and noticed quite a few launchers and interface tools that you might find useful, or at least funky to try out. First in line are the amazing new UR and Lollipop launchers, as the newest editions of Google's mobile operating system is the hot topic in the software departments at the moment.

There are also a few novel takes on improving on your stock device interface, like the Home Manager app that collects and manages your launchers from a centralized space. The trend of small, lightweight launchers with tiny footprint that won't be as much of a drain on your phone's resources as the big boys continues, and there is even a Linux terminal launcher for the GUI-averse, so check them out if you got one of those.

1. UR Launcher

Download (free)

UR Launcher is an amazing new piece, just released a few days ago, and already amassing accolades. It features the oh-so-trendy minimalistic and lightweight take on the Android launcher paradigm. It's a no-frills launcher that helps you get to your apps faster, fitting everything you need in a handy pop-out bar. Just touch the tab and get access to your recent apps, phone settings, and customization options. No more endless searching in your app drawer. Apps are sorted by profiles, called UR moods, that group together your apps by activity. Apps you need most are shown right when you need them. Moods are changed according to activity, location and preference. 

In addition, UR Launcher sport a Recommended Apps section, where you can preview curated apps for each mood, discovering up-and-coming apps before everybody else. Lightning-fast search filters results from the web, your apps and your contacts. Get results fast, sorted by what you use most. Last but not least, there are tons of HD wallpapers and beautiful icon packs to make your phone one-of-a-kind. You can even assign a different wallpaper to each mood, how about that.

2. 8 Launcher Christmas

Download (free)

This Christmas-themed launcher is optimized for seasonal themes and wallpapers, giving a great new look to your Android phone. Sync with the festivities by Christmas Style icons (music player, Google Play, video, messages, dialer, etc.) and HD snow wallpapers, for instance. Moreover, the 8 Launcher Christmas is very fast and lightweight, with no extra frills, just the holiday spirit draped on your homescreen.

3. Flow Home (Beta)

Download (free)

Don't let your hopes up, Flow is still in beta, but that pesky invitation process is no more, as you can take the latest iteration for a spin from the link above, and have fun with the widget system that was just added, for instance. Flow's simple premise is organized around social media as an endless feed on your homescreen, as you can see in the video below. It currently lets you interact there with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Feedly, with Reddit on the way.

4. Lollipop Launcher

Download (free)

Lollipop Launcher is built around the stable Google Now, and offers hundreds of customization options, in addition to a slide screen interface, evoked by swiping from the left edge of the phone. You can add your favourite apps on the slide screen, hide them, customise folder background colors, set the app drawer transparency, and many more. There's a missed call/sms/email count and gesture control - basically all that is expected from a nice launcher app.

5. Baj Launcher

Download (free)

Baj Launcher "overthrow traditional launcher thoughts and concentrates on serving life," as per the developer. It will update your Google Calendar timely to manage your schedule, for instance, show the current weather condition and future weather trend in real time, and introduces the scenes concept, separating activities into music, considerate sleeping time, game scene and so on. The Hide&Show visualization effect enables the disappearance of those scene functions when you don’t need them, and you can monitor your data usage, battery and storage stats all from one screen, with a minimalistic interface to boot.

6. Game Launcher

Download (free)

An interesting take on the launcher system, this one is tailored entirely to the gamers out there. It scans for and lists only your installed games applications, lets you install new ones from alternative play stores online, and add/remove games and game stores. You can also look for and play online games, or set silent and don-not-call modes directly from Game Launcher.

7. 3D Smart Launcher

Download (free)

3D Smart Launcher for your Android phone delivers what you need, when you need it. It is smooth, light weight application that focuses on one-handed operation. You can add frequently used apps, and start them with one tap on the semi-circle formed right underneath your thumb.

8. Launchpet2

Download (free)

Unique launcher based on Google's Material Design, focused on delivering news on your homescreen. This is for those who like to be updated with the current news and launch apps, that's it - no widget overload. It features changeable themes, quick access to favorite app via floating action button on the homescreen, or access to all application with just a simple slide to left. Besides the news section, you also have the ability to add custom rss feeds as well.

9. ZERO Launcher

Download (free)

ZERO got released back in October, but it recently received such a major 2.0 update, that it feels like brand new piece. ZERO prides itself on being just 1MB in size, and yet offering some fancy 3D effects, animations and transparencies. It is amazingly fast, too, with 0.2 seconds to launch, and offers free premium themes, as well as HD wallpapers and icons, with easy switching between them. As for fucntionality, besides the usual frills, you can speed up games and apps by cleaning up memory (RAM) and boosting performance with a single tap, or perform fast app search and quickly lock of the phone in a single touch.

10. Linux Terminal Launcher

Download (free)

Nerd bonus! If you are programmer or Linux user then why  use GUI to handle the cell phone. Now you can access commands and installed applications using the Linux Terminal Launcher like a true geek.

Home Manager

Download (free)

Confused already by the launcher assault this month? Home Manager collects all the launchers you have installed on your device and displays them in a simple, user-friendly interface. You can set a default launcher, and uninstall launchers right from the app. Launchers are a great way to personalize your Android OS, and with this app it will be much easier.



1. Gothbeard

Posts: 54; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

Nothing particularly original or interesting. These launchers that 'predict' your mood are useless. How are they faster than 1 tap to open app draw, 1 tap to open app?

2. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Lollipop launcher is nothing but a Nova wannabe, with few features missing. Feels unpolished

3. hellbread

Posts: 309; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

Ur Launcher - 100 downloads! Nice, i'll pass. :-)

4. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Dodol launcher is a great new one as well.

5. Valoni

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 11, 2013

I use Nova Prime, it's perfect for me.

6. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Does anyone know any launchers with a red and black theme?

7. Mfa901

Posts: 291; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

I have to try all of them one by one... thanks PA

8. lumia920

Posts: 112; Member since: Nov 27, 2012

Solo launcher is the best ever free launcher. It offers all the gestures even double tap to switch of the screen as well. It also offer counts for your msging , mailetc for free. All the themes of nova and some other launchers are compatible. Every thing is free here. In fact it is the father of all launchers. Download and enjoy.

9. Paximos

Posts: 282; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Take some risk, spend some money!!

15. lumia920

Posts: 112; Member since: Nov 27, 2012

Hahaha. .. I have used nova prime, Apex launcher pro and maximum of the free launchers. But solo is better (coz its free). Though apex and nova are also intuitive and little faster than solo.

10. mertcan1k2

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Sony's default UI is the best for me.

11. jpraveensn

Posts: 9; Member since: Nov 01, 2012

Sony's UI is the best of all proprietary launchers. However, Aviate could be a good choice for a launcher. The intelligence is there to see. Check it out. Use it for sometime. Also, having a professional developer team (Yahoo!) working on it all the time around makes it a better option than others.

12. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 206; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

I wanted to try a new launcher on my Note 3 and now I have a bunch of stuff that doesn't work like my live internet security camera, my Magic Jack Go cell phone application to make outgoing calls (no sound), etc.

13. Ds.venkatesh

Posts: 7; Member since: Jan 21, 2014

I love launchers and themes.But when I install these my phone heats up a lot,it is Note 3 neo .

14. joehwf

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 31, 2014

If you have used "Launcher Lab", it will definitely be on your list.

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