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Get launchers to customise and spruce up your Android device

These apps offer customisation, help improve the interface, increase speed and make it generally easier to use the device.

Updated: Oct 13, 2014, 10.19 AM IST
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These apps offer customisation, help improve the interface, increase speed and make it generally easier to use the device.
These apps offer customisation, help improve the interface, increase speed and make it generally easier to use the device.
The large screen of a tablet offers enough room to customise icons and widgets. The first thing you may want to do is increase the number of rows/columns of icons in the app drawer, but a tablet’s default launcher does not usually allow such customisation. Check out the free KK Launcher, which offers a plethora of customisation options, including support for themes, gestures, folders, unread counts and a handy sidebar.

It is lightweight and works smoothly even on budget tablets. You can also try the free Go Launcher HD, which offers added customisation and works well on a tablet with high screen resolution. If you are willing to spend money, go for the Apex Launcher Pro (Rs 250), Nova launcher Prime (Rs 200) or Chameleon Launcher (Rs 220). All three work well on budget Android tablets.

Change the themes

Most launchers offer a default theme layout, while a few let you switch colours in the same theme. If, however, you want to stand out in the crowd, try the free Buzz Launcher or Themer. Both work on the same concept: any user can create a theme with the help of the app, which can then be made available to the entire user community. As a result, one can try thousands of themes, ranging from minimalistic designs to those loaded with widgets and fancy icons. Apart from themes, Buzz Launcher and Themer also offer smart management of installed apps. However, keep in mind that each theme needs to be downloaded separately. Themer requires you to sign up with either a Google or Facebook account to download themes submitted by other users.

Categorise

your apps If you have a large number of apps on your device and find it difficult to sort them, try the free Smart Launcher by GinLemon. It automatically sorts apps under six primary categories—games, communication, media, utility, settings and Internet—making it easy to find them. At first, the launcher seeks your app preferences for music, gallery, camera and browser, and then places the respective icons on your home screen for quick access. You can choose from hundreds of themes and lock screens according to your taste.

Speed up the device

While there is a wide variety of Android devices available in the market, many of them have ageing hardware and slow, poor interfaces. In several cases, even a full factory reset does not speed up the device because the stock launcher is too heavy for the old hardware. In such a situation, try the free Launcher-Pro, which is specifically designed for older devices and usually works well with those that have a single core processor and limited RAM. One of the downsides of opting for an ultra lightweight launcher is that you don’t get many features or customisation options. Alternatively, you can also check the EverythingMe launcher and Apus launcher.

 
Have fewer screens

If you don’t want multiple home screens—separate app drawers—but something simpler, consider Terrain or Yahoo Aviate. Both launchers get rid of multiple home screens and give you just three. One is for all your widgets; the second, for your installed apps, and the last with news feeds and shortcuts. This not only makes it easier to use the phone, but also saves time. Aviate goes a step ahead and categorises apps as per your usage preference.

The top picks in launchers

If you’re looking for one of the fastest and slickest launchers, and don’t care much for too many themes or fancy gimmicks, consider Nova. The free version works well with both phones and tablets, does not have any ads or pop-ups and is fully functional. It also has a premium ‘Prime’ version (Rs 200), which adds gesture control, folders in the app drawer as well as unread counts, and allows you to hide the apps that you don’t use frequently. It’s probably the fastest way to speed up your device and remove unnecessary animations.

If you don’t find this launcher fast enough, you can also consider the Lightning launcher, by PierroX. Lightning is low on memory usage and its most unique feature is that it has a desktop that scrolls up and down, in addition to the usual left-right shift, allowing you to place the most used apps and widgets in a better manner.
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