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filling the void

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Android Launcher Replacements

I just tested a bunch android replacement launchers (Android 2.3 Launcher (Home), GO Launcher EX, ADW.Launcher, Home++ beta and LauncherPro). I was giving them a spin to see if any of them could make a good replacement for the sense launcher that I'm currently using on my HTC Desire Z. The thing is that I like the whole Sense integration with email, contacts, facebook, twitter, everything. My problem is with the launcher itself. It has one huge phone button, an apps button, and a horribly useless "personalize" button (a function with is otherwise only 2 clicks away). I had been browsing the forums and reading stuff online about which launchers might be best. It came down to the ones listed at the top. I installed each one of them, and gave them a try.

You know the saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well, the first impression I got from all these launchers was horrible. They were all slower than molasses. Clicking icons to start apps would take 2-3 seconds before the app actually started. I'm not talking about the startup time of the app itself here, I'm talking about the time it took for the launcher to understand that I had pushed the button and to start launching the application.

While these launchers deliver some extra things in the launcher part itself, it cannot possible make up for the incredible slowness of the applications themselves. Such a simple thing as populating the app drawer, something sense does immediately (certainly fast enough for me to not notice any delay) would take several seconds with these launchers.

They may be pretty, and they may offer increased functionality, but when it comes down to it, speed is king. When the launchers get down to millisecond start times, I might take another look. Unfortunately, though, I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.

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