Anyone can just download a launcher, but when you want an experience that transforms how you interact with your Android phone—especially one that's context-aware and surfaces information you need when you need it, you have a few solid options to choose from. Here are five of the best. P
Earlier in the week, we asked you to tell us which home screen replacements you thought were the absolute best. Note, we're not just talking about alternative Android launchers—we already have a list of the best launchers around (and we're planning on updating it very soon!) Today, we're talking about suites that customize your phone in a way that's truly personal, and useful to you, when you need it. Here's what you said, in no particular order:
Aviate is a smart home screen tool that adapts and adjusts to your needs and your position. On its face, it simplifies your phone's layout significantly by categorizing your apps and putting them into groups where they're easily reached. Past that however, it uses your phone's GPS and known locations to show you what you need when you need it. For example, if you're at the gym, it'll change the home screen to show you your music player, your workout and fitness apps. When you're at the office, it'll load up your calendar, email, or other productivity apps. Even when you move between locations, Aviate will notice you're on the go and pull up relevant directions, based on the way you prefer to travel.
Themer is probably the king of personalization tools for Android. Users have been busy making skins and home screen replacements for months now that incorporate beautiful art, functional widgets, and other useful tools to transform your phone into something personal that no one else has. Themer makes it easy to find—or create—complete skins for your home screen that categorize your apps into groups, keep favorite apps where they're easy to reach, show useful information right on the home screen (like unread messages, missed calls, weather, time/date), and more. The wealth of themes and ways to personalize your phone—whether you want something whimsical or strictly business—is incredible.
Everything.Me started life as a customizable Android launcher that you could talk to in order to open apps and change the layout of your phone, or look up relevant information. More recently, it's transformed into a fully contextual home screen replacement tool that is still dynamic, but now adapts to your location and time of day with information that you need.
The Google Now Launcher brings all of the features of Google Now and touchless controls to your current Android phone. It's not available for all devices, and to be sure, it's not a home screen replacement—it is very much just a launcher—but it's great at what it does, and it earned high praise in the call for contenders thread.