I'm a big fan of different launchers. For the longest time, one of my favorites has been GO Launcher EX. This launcher offers unique features packed into a sleek interface that performs well and impresses everyone. Finally, the developers of GO Launcher have a version of their launcher specifically for Android tablets called GO Launcher HD for Pad. This launcher features:
- Support dragging operation on dock bar
- Add / Delete screens
- Self-define folders to categorize apps
- Built-in app manager
- Brand new adding interface
- Gesture support for launching apps
- Quick removal of home screen icons
GO Launcher HD for Pad is available for Android tablets running Android 2.2 or greater.
One of the nicest features about GO Launcher HD for Pad is the app launch gestures. Built into the launcher is a tool that allows you to draw a gesture and launch an app. The gesture recognition is outstanding and the feature could really make GO Launcher HD for Pad one of the finest launchers on the market. It's still in its infancy, but the tool is already solid and ready to use (although it really needs its own widget, which I'll explain later).
Before you get into setting up gestures, you have to install GO Launcher HD for Pad. Here's how it's done:
- Open up the Google Play Store
- Search for "go launcher hd"
- Tap on the entry titled "GO Launcher HD for Pad"
- Tap Download
- Tap Accept & download
Don't select GO Launcher HD as your default launcher until you know it works the way you expect.Depending on which launcher you were using, the home screen may not look drastically different. You'll see a clean and simple layout (Figure B) with an included (extra) panel, launchers (if already set up), a top panel with Google Search, Voice input launcher, screen indicator, and quick launchers (for App Drawer, Add button, Gestures, and Settings). Figure B
Here you see a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab with the GO Launcher HD for Pad running.
Now, what about those gestures? They are actually simple to set up and use. Follow these steps to create a new gesture:
- Tap the hand icon in the upper right corner of the screen
- From the Gesture Operator window, tap the plus (+) symbol
- In the new window (Figure C), draw a gesture in the left pane
- Select an App or GOShortcut in the right pane that you want to associate with the gesture
- Click Save
- Tap Try gesture to test it out
If you try to create a gesture that already exists, you'll be prompted to redraw.
Notice there are two tabs in the Add gesture window: App and GOShortcut. The App tab allows you to associate any application installed on your tablet with a gesture. The GOShortcut tab allows you to associate any of the following:
- Show home screen
- Show app drawer
- Show running apps
- Tap an icon to launch an app
- Long-press an app, and then tap the minus (-) symbol to kill it
Tap the Broom icon to close all running apps at once.
As I mentioned, the only caveat to the GO Launcher HD for Pad gestures is that you have to open the Gesture tool to use them. This is where a widget or even built-in gesture recognition to the main window would work great. With a simple widget, you could simply draw the gesture on the widget to open up app or run the shortcut.
Being a fan of GO Launcher EX made the transition to the tablet version a breeze. If you're looking for a new interface that doesn't muddy the water with too many features but offers a few unique items for your tablet launcher, give GO Launcher HD for Pad a try. And remember, once you've settled on this launcher, make it your default so that you don't constantly have to select it when you tap the home button.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.