Android smartphone manufacturers keep customizing the Android OS to their liking, which can often backfire. Most customization also takes a toll on the hardware, which is when users often feel the need to go back to a lightweight launcher. There are a gazillion launchers on the Play Store, but none as popular as Nova, Go, and Apex. While Go Launcher has its own share of departures from the AOSP design language, Nova and Apex more or less stick to basic AOSP design, which is what makes them favorites among lovers of vanilla Android.
OEMs can sometimes be slow in delivering Android updates, which is another place where such launchers can come in handy. Although an update of Android 5.0 Lollipop from 4.4 KitKat has more changes than you can remember, these 3rd party launchers can give you a taste of the visual aspect without getting the entire update per se. And that's what has happened with Apex Launcher here. The app is now updated to version 3.0, which means that it'll now serve Lollipop as eye candy… or in other words, the app has no adopted material design after an update from version 2.7 which was launched in October.
The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store, either for free, or for $3.99 for the Pro version, which will get you some additional features. Although you don't get nearly all features with a launcher update like this one, it is often an easy and safe method to get a taste of another Android version without having to go through the tedious process of rooting/flashing ROMs. The new update includes goodies such as ground-up redesigned icons, Lollipop search bar and scroll indicators. You also get a feel of Lollipop with the Lollipop inspired animations throughout the app, as much as the Android OS permits.
Although my personal favorite launcher is Nova, I'm tempted to try this one out simply for this update. What launcher do you have running on your Android device? Do you prefer a separate launcher for your tablet? Let us know.