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App Review:Nokia Z Launcher

The Software Department which has been kept by Nokia even after its Microsoft acquisition is developed quite an innovative launcher application for Android, the Z Launcher.The official site recommends, “trying Z Launcher on newer model top selling phones like Samsung’s Galaxy 3, 4 or 5 phones (sic!) and Nexus 5 running Android OS 4.1 or higher” and points out that the launcher is not optimised for tablet usage.No, we are not going to get into the whether there exist phones called Galaxy 3, 4 or 5 (we think the author forgot to prefix an ‘S’ to those numerals) or indeed if some of these can be called ‘newer model top selling phones.’ Suffice to say that the launcher which is available for download from the official site and is in beta status worked fine on my Moto G(2nd Gen).

There is a single home screen. On the upper part, you may notice the time and date, next to which is a forthcoming appointment from your Google Calendar. Beneath this is a list of six applications, arranged in a manner right out high school – name first – with the app’s icon in front of it. Bang on the bottom is a row of five icons – four apps (I had HangOut, Camera, Gmail, and Chrome) with an icon to access other apps in the middle. Tap on the icon to access other apps and you get the apps arranged pretty much as you do on a Windows Phone device: alphabetically, one below the other, once again in that name-with-icon-in-front layout.

The home screen displays apps and actions based on your usage habit. for example, which apps or services you’re using at a certain time each day. The more you use it, the more things become personalized and the “smarter” the launcher becomes. If you’re looking for your list of apps, it’s under the menu button in the middle.

And that, guys, is it. In a world where launcher apps pride themselves on changing the entire look and feel of your phone, Z Launcher plays just two cards – app prediction and a scribble search. It is a simple formula, and delivers a speedy and uncluttered experience. No, it is not as shockingly innovative as some would have us believe, but it does put together some very handy features in one package that works smoothly

It does have some innovative elements and is speedy and simple enough, and those who worship at the altar of minimalism will doubtless sing its praises. As of now, however, I think it needs to do much more. And it just might – forget not that this is a beta.

Bhavish Shah
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