Out of the box, Android is already one of the most flexible mobile platforms on the planet. With the addition of certain apps, Android takes that flexibility to levels no other platform can touch. For instance, look at the Android home screen. Without much setup (or additional software), it already offers so many features. But when you add an app like Launchy Widget into the mix, you can have that incredible flexibility and keep the home screen clean and simple.
Think of Launchy Widget as a home screen within a home screen, where you can add application launchers, shortcuts, direct dials, and bookmarks. You can also skin, rename, and more. With Launchy Widget, you can even add a scrollable widget filled with application launchers, one filled with bookmarks, and one filled with direct dial launchers — or whatever combination you need. This makes it easy to get quick access to the apps and contacts you frequently use during your busy work day.
Let's install Launchy Widget and see how it's used. I'll demonstrate on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
Launchy Widget is free and easy to install with these simple steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Launchy Widget
- Locate and tap the entry by RS
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once it's installed, you won't see any signs of the app. You first must add the widget to the home screen.
Adding the widget
Adding a Launchy Widget to the home screen is the same as adding any widget. Naturally, the steps will vary, depending on your device. I'll demonstrate on the HTC M8. Here's how:
- Long-press a blank spot on the home screen
- Tap Add apps and widgets
- Select Widgets from the drop-down menu
- Locate the Launchy Widget
- On the top portion of the window (Figure A), locate a home screen page with enough space to add the widget
- Tap the Launchy Widget to add
Adding the Launchy Widget to a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
At this point, the process varies from standard widget addition. What you must do (after you tap OK on the Adding a Launchy welcome window) is select from the listing of Launchys. This can be a bit confusing. Effectively, as you add items and configure Launchys, then retain their configuration (whether they remain on your home screen or not). This way, you can create a Launchy and add/remove it as needed (the only caveat to this is that skin options are not retained).
So from the Launchy listing (Figure B), tap the box associated with Launchy 1 and tap Add. You should see the widget added to the home screen page. On the HTC M8, you have to tap the page (in the upper portion of the window) in order to leave the Add Widget window.
Select which Launchy to add.
You should now see an empty Launchy on your home screen (Figure C).
An empty Launchy that's ready to be filled.
In the upper right-hand corner of this Launchy, you should see a small white dot. Tap that dot to get to the configuration window (Figure D).
The Launchy configuration window.
The first thing you want to do is tap the Items tab and then tap ADD ITEM. From the popup window, you can select from the following:
- Application: Any application installed on your device
- Shortcut: Direct dial, direct message, music playlist, settings, etc
- Direct Dial: Direct dial launcher for a single contact
- Bookmark: Any bookmark associated with your Google account
Select the type of item you want to add, and then — from the presented list of items (Figure E) — select which items to add (listed items will vary, depending on what type of item you are adding). Finally, tap Add.
Adding items to a Launchy.
After you've added the items, you can then theme the Launchy by tapping the Layout tab and configure a number of options for the widget:
- Item visibility/alignment/spacing/etc
- Icon theme/size/saturation/transparency
- Label position/font/size
- Preview size
You don't have to save the configuration changes, because they're applied on the fly.
After you've configured this widget, it's ready to use. Tap on the home button, swipe to the page holding the Launchy, and enjoy.
You can add as many Launchys as you like — as long as you have space on your home screen for them.
Launchy Widget is a great way to keep your Android home screen clean and easy to navigate. Set up a Launchy for your business contacts, crucial work apps, and business bookmarks, and keep them all on one page of the home screen. That way, you can better manage your mobile business life on your Android device.
How do you manage to keep work and home separate on your Android device? Or do you let them mingle together as one big happy family? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
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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 jackwallen.com.