back to article Launcher Pro

The facility to re-skin the basic Android UI is both a blessing and a curse. It's a godsend because, unlike iOS or Windows Phone 7, you're not stuck with a monolithic one-size-fits-all interface design. But you only have to look at an Orange San Francisco to see what an unholy pig’s ear can result from letting the amateurs loose …

COMMENTS

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WTF?

Permissions?

Why does this launcher (and others) need to 'directly call phone numbers'? What are they up to?

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Contacts

It's to enable the contact widgets to function. Without that access, they would be links to the address book instead of direct-dialing shortcuts.

Talking of which, a lot of the widgets are only available in the paid version, as well as resizing widgets. I went back to HTC Sense for that reason, despite loving the customisable app drawer. I suppose I should just buy it, but Sense is good enough for me.

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Bronze badge

Launcher - launches other phone actions

If it can't access your dialer etc. then it can't launch them. Having access to directly call numbers is not the same as actually dialling numbers but, and I could be wrong, it might need access to do it so you can launch the action.

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San Francisco...

What's wrong with the Orange San Francisco? I bought one for my sister and after deleting all of the crap it looked pretty much the same as any other Android phone...

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Problem in the name

The problem with the Orange San Francisco is - as you said - Orange. They filled it with crapware. Otherwise a great phone and also cheap!

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Dead Vulture

Is the location really right?

Ah, Salford, the home of all things bright and beautiful...

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Silver badge

Brilliant replacement

I have been using this on my Motorola Dext for quite a while now, and it is great. Very responsive and stable, I wouldn't have a 'droid without it!

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Many *many* alternatives

Launcher Pro is just one of the many Launcher apps that are available in the android market.

If you ever read the xda forums you'll see that many people have strong opinions as to what it the best.

For me, it's Zeam - it has all of the functionality of Launcher Pro, and it also weighs in at 0.5Mb compared to the 2.34Mb of Launcher Pro. Also it's snappier, but that's a pretty subjective thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice

What's not to like here? 95% is well deserved.

Now...where's the iphone version...oh wait.

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Great option

Rooted HTC Hero with Villainrom and paid the few pence for the extra widgets. Runs like a dream and certainly extended the life of this phone quite considerably. Some manufacturers could do with building this in or buying the developer....

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Launcher Pro Rocks!

Updates to Launcher Pro have been a bit quiet as late as apparently the author is doing a complete ground up re-write.

For those on lower powered devices (mine is a T-Mobile Pulse running a custom 2.1 ROM) I'd also recommend Autokiller Memory Optimizer (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.rs.autokiller) it's turned my device from unusable to 'nearly as fast as devices costing five times as much'.

What's the clock widget?

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FAIL

Beware failware

I used LP happily for several months, then ended up rebooting my phone for some reason and hey-presto, LP tells me it has 'expired' and closes. OK, big deal, but when it's your launcher, you suddenly can't launch stuff like... a phone call, or a text or email. Basically my phone was bricked until I could get it home and ended up reflashing it.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=774866

I find it wreckless of the dev in question to simply expire the app at some undetermined point in the future with no warning. AVOID!

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Bronze badge

I'd forgotten about that!

I had the exact same thing happen on my backup handset, a Motorola Milestone, and as you say it stops you doing anything since your launcher is the way you do everything. At most it should tell you that it's expired, let you do things still and maybe a nag screen to update. This is one of a few reasons I went with ADW EX instead.

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Expired Version

I had that problem too, it let you launch the web browser to download the updates - but at the time mine failed the site was down for what seemed like a week. The only way round (since it would launch a web browser) was to find a direct link to the updated package somewhere and enter the address into the browser - download and install and all working again. (Then switch to a different launcher once menus work again)

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happy user

I have been using LP for ages now. Much better than the normal UI and as said, snappier. It was worth every penny!

I do have to disagree with this one though: "the text in the social network widgets is too small". Maybe because I'm using a WVGA (800x480) and I don't hold the phone at an arms length, but I never found them too small.

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Yups

Have to say, I'm not a big bells-and-whistles fan, but I put this on my X10MiniPro a while back following a recommendation somewhere (probably another Reg article, or it's comments) and have been blown away. Much better than the stock launcher, which was limited to 4 icons & 1 widget on the home screen. I've still not explored all it's features, but its made the phone a much more pleasant device.

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Silver badge

neat!

make your android look like a htc winmo6.5! Neat!

cant really say there is much wrong with default skin tbh.

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Installed

I have just installed this on my X10 Mini Pro as well and am impressed over the stock launcher, although the favourites tab has gone from the top of the phone book, anyone know how to re-enable or show it again?

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Mostly happy

So far mostly happy with LauncherProPlus, on a large screen device like the DesireHD the ability to get more icons and widget space on the screen (I'm using a 6x6 grid) is a massive benefit over Sense.

Wish I could move the home-screens around like Sense can though - maybe that'll come soon.

Overall, well worth a couple of quid!

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Alert

Clock widget

@ Jim48 - it's Fancy Widget Pro

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.anddoes.fancywidget.pro&feature=search_result

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Anonymous Coward

ADW for me

I went with ADW Launcher, for the same reason as other have had, Launcher Pro expiring and making the phone unusable!

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Good review, looks promising

Brilliant review, might download this later.

Take a look iphone owners, you will never have functionality like this without jailbreaking your phones.

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RE: Myself

Downloaded it!

Takes a while to get the hang of it, but i'ts very useful and will have fun playing with it later.

Thanks Reg! =]

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Nice review

I like these 300 word app reviews, they actually give you some real detail about what they do and how well they work, better than than the usual 50 wd "round-ups" which do little more than tell you something actually exists.

Hope the author will get around to picking a best "notes" app in the near future, there are dozens to choose from.

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g e
Silver badge

I saw 'Landscape home page'

And immediately installed it.

If the fecking thing expires and jiggers the phone I *will* give the dev a day from hell, though.

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Happy

Another happy ADW Launcher User

The latest version is blindingly fast on the Orange SF.

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Cube effect

The "cube" transition effect for the multiple homescreens is reason enough by itself to use Launcher Pro.

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IR

Good

I use it, the scrollable dock is worth it alone and being able to make it transparent is even better. I've been able to reduce six home screens down to three very clean ones, and equivalent Sense-style widgets are easily available from the marketplace. Being able to completely hide the uninstallable apps from the apps list is very handy too. The only thing I want now is the ability to put widgets in the dock, that would top it off nicely.

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What widgets are in the screenshot?

I like the date/time and weather with a transparent background.

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WTF?

To all those moaning about expiry

It was a problem for a small number of users which the dev fixed and apologised for. It's not like it was supposed to cause you all that hassle and please stop being dramatic and saying it bricked your phone. Bricking implied that it was unfixable when in fact it was easy to fix.

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Home++

Downloaded Home++ a while back. 7 home screens instead of five, loops to the first screen after the last, customizable dock, it cleans up the notification bar at the etop, and does landscape change as well.

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Alert

@ Simon 49

The weather / time widget is Fancy Widget Pro. The "folders" are from Folder Organizer.

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Worthy product

If you have a Motorola Droid phone, you know the lousy interface that is Motoblur, a blemish on an otherwise decent product.

I'm not sure users with the (better) HTC "Sense" interface need this, but it's a great asset to my Droid 2. It speeds up operations, and lets me hide the extra garbage that Verizon won't let me uninstall. My phone looks a lot cleaner, and I was glad to give the developer a few bucks for the Pro Plus version.

As for widgets, I find that CurveFish has great GPS-Wifi-Bluetooth-Brightness toggle widgets for free from the marketplace, and I've found a great date/time widget in "Digital Clock", also free.

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More responsive?

Yes, it's more responsive, BUT still way behind iOS amd WP7.

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FAIL

Tried it, hated it

The HTC Desire 'default' interface is light years ahead of this, especially with a custom ROM (in my case, leedroid)

The 'default' Launcher pro interface is so klunky by comparision, I had little to no desire to customise it, so after 5 minutes, removed it.

I've probably missed the point, in that this is an app for Android devices that *don't* have a decent interface.

If you've got an HTC, stick with Sense - it's just better - unless you'd rather spend more time buggering about with your phone's interface than actually using your phone.

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