Sep 19, 2012
Android defined mobile customization. Third-party launchers exemplify that customization, and competition breeds a great selection, and it takes an awful lot to stand out from the crowd. At first glance, it seems that Nova Launcher Prime from Android third-party heavyweight TeslaCoil Software just might be able to do it.
Nova packs a productive punch. I am picky about my homescreens, and Nova became the horribly indulgent uncle. I was resizing widgets in no time, and working on animations, theming and more.
I was a huge fan of the LauncherPro. The combination of tweaks (like sliding docks and icon hiding) appealed to me. Nova seemed to incorporate a lot of these features, and more. I found Nova’s UI smooth, with it natively giving me access to its menu and the device’s menu, as well as wallpaper. The initial five homescreens were snappy, and the pop-out animation of the application drawer worked without a hitch. I thought that it incorporated some of the better aspects of Sense, and actually improved upon it.
Widget re-sizing is nothing new; it is an almost expected feature in any third-party launcher replacements. Nova makes it easy by using an adjustable grid to facilitate sizing. Thus, I was able to make widgets that were truly my own.
As if that is not enough, as noted earlier, I was able to change the icons using themes. Customization is where Nova truly shines, and I appreciated the ability to use themes made for ADW and Go (other popular launchers for Android OS); I was able to find dozens icon sets in the Google Play Store and XDA Forums. I could also hide icons I didn’t want to appear in he app drawer, and also able to adjust the number of icons in the dock.
Two features I truly liked were the gesture-based button functionality and the sliding docks. The former created the ability to make one dock button do an additional action based on type of interaction — interactions like either press, swiping up or down, zooming in or out and double tapping, among others. As an example, I was able to create a direct dial action as an alternative action for the phone icon in my dock. The latter gave me easy access to icons in any screen by swiping.
I liked Nova way more than I thought I would. I mourned the fact that there was not a social widget, and wished for a hub-type functionality that allowed the downloading of icons from within Nova itself. Still, I am sure that most people will love Nova, and will be pleased enough to make it the default portal to their devices.