Wave Launcher Review

Wave Launcher Review

Mar 17, 2011

Developer: MobileMerit
Price: US$0.99
Version: 1.0.8
App Reviewed on: Motorola Droid X

One of the great benefits of Android is that, with the right apps, you can have a phone that works like any other. For example, if you’ve ever found yourself green with envy over a Palm Pre user’s “wave” launch bar, then you’re going to be happy to know that you can have it on your Android powered handset, no problem.

The Wave Launcher is a bar that pops out whenever you execute the proper gesture. For example, touch the bottom of the screen and slide upward. It pops up and follows your finger as you move it. The icons on the wave bulge slightly as you select them, similar to the way the Dock works on Macs running OS X. It’s a neat effect.

To launch an app, once the wave has popped up, you simply slide your finger back and forth until the app you want is selected, then lift your finger and the app launches. It’s easy as pie and works no matter what application is currently running. I’ve tried it with nearly a dozen different applications and games, and it works flawlessly. No matter what you’re doing, if you need to launch a new app, simply touch the edge of the screen and select it once it pops up.

Since purchasing the app, there have been a number of updates that have fixed nearly everything I didn’t like about it. At first, I didn’t like that you could only have 5 apps in the wave. Now, you can have up to 12. I didn’t like how you couldn’t type in landscape mode because the gesture area was right on top of the letters. Now, you can disable it in landscape mode. You can choose the side you want it on, choose how thick the gesture area is, even specify how much of the side you want it to take up. Every major complaint I had is gone, except one: I hardly ever use it.

My wave consists of Note Everything, DoggCatcher, Pandora and a few other useful apps I like to keep close at hand in any situation. And yet, 9 times out of 10, I was hitting the home button, switching to the screen with my main apps and launching them by touch. In other words, I was doing it the “old fashioned” way.

In my opinion, Wave Launcher makes perfect sense for the person migrating away from WebOS and wants a similar user experience that they are already familiar with. And while it does shave a fraction of a second off switching to an app I need immediately, it’s nothing compared to the time it takes me to remember I have Wave Launcher loaded in the first place. Now, I’m not saying that makes it a bad app, I’m just saying, I don’t have much of a use for it.

Wave Launcher is a great little application that brings a much-loved feature to Android devices. It works as advertised and is easily customizable to get it to behave exactly as you need it to.

Wave Launcher Review Rundown

Appearance - Looks really neat, and the bulging effect as you run your finger along the row of icons is fun to play with.
User Interface - Slick, responsive, easy to use.
Functionality - Comes when you call it, does what it's supposed to. The only exception is when it interferes with the soft keyboard or some other onscreen element. However, that's easily fixable by customizing it to stay out of your way when you are calling it.
Usefulness - I have no doubt that the application will immediately click with a certain number of users who will find it indispensable. However, personally speaking, I could take it or leave it. If it were to suddenly disappear from my phone, I don't think I'd miss it all that much.
Overall - It's a great app that does what it says with plenty of updates adding features that users have been requesting. How useful it will be depends on how you want to use it, but I find that I really like having it just to show it off.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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