One of the things that makes Android a great user experience is the ability to change almost everything about it, from taking the tentative first steps of perhaps applying an icon pack to freshen up the aesthetics to the more complete step of installing a different launcher which will change the way you interact with your device. One such method is Nokia's Z Launcher which was first released in a Pre-Beta Trial back in June. Today sees the Z Launcher receive an update, along with those who previously registered that missed out on the initial Pre-Beta getting the chance to take part in the trial.
What is the Z Launcher? Well, it's produced by Nokia, the part that Microsoft didn't purchase, and the launcher attempts to predict which app you are most likely to use by learning how you use your phone, elevating the most-used apps to your home-screen for easy access. If you go through a phase of using a particular app, then that app will be promoted ahead of a lesser-used app, depending on the time of day and your location.
Having installed it on the LG G2, I've found that the ability to search for an app by drawing the first letter of said app is quite useful, and I don't generally enjoy the gesture-based functions, which may or may not say something. So if you draw the letter P on your display, all the apps beginning with P will appear. The more letters you draw, the more accurate the result will be. Z Launcher is a fairly uncluttered affair, there aren't thousands of settings, or much setting up to perform.
As previously mentioned, Z launcher received an update today, which includes the ability to configure Favourites on the home-screen by using drag-n-drop, something that was apparently the second most requested feature on the Z Launcher forum. The third most wanted feature has also been included, giving users the ability to hide or even uninstall apps by pressing and holding the apps icon.
In keeping with the Z Launchers claim to customise the experience according to location, the ability to recognise and elevate appropriate applications to the home-screen according to the WiFi SSID has been incorporated into the apps algorithm. This means that the Launcher will be able to tell if you are at work or at home and tailor the apps accordingly. This is helped with the Data Insight feature that monitors how and when you use access your contacts and apps, which Nokia are willing to further develop if its well received.
Nokia have said that they will continue to add support for more devices, with the HTC One and Moto X becoming compatible with this latest release. Finally, as with any pre-beta trial, there are numerous bugfixes included helping make Z Launcher more reliable in everyday usage.
If you were one of the previous registrants who missed out, click the source link to see if you've become eligible to take part in this extended Pre-Beta trial. In case you haven't heard of the Z Launcher before, remember to check out the gallery and the embedded video below to see just what the Z Launcher is about. Let us know what you think of the Z Launcher in the comments below or at our Google Plus page.