The Android home screen launcher is where you can interface with your data. The launcher presents your Android apps and information in clever ways, and the top players in this category make the interaction equal parts elegant and easy.
ASAP Launcher distills the home screen launcher into four panels (which can be revealed, one at a time, with a simple swiping gesture):
- App Drawer
- Quick Settings
- Music/Info/Search Drawer
- Dock Drawer
Note: You still have access to the Notification Shade as you would with any home screen launcher.
ASAP Launcher also replaces the home screen page(s) with Cards, which give you quick access to information like:
- To Do list
This particular take on the home screen launcher makes using your Android incredibly efficient—everything is just a swipe away. Let's install ASAP Launcher, and take it for a ride.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
Installing ASAP Launcher
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for asap launcher.
- Locate and tap the entry by Tim Clark.
- Tap Install.
- Read the permissions listing (if applicable).
- Tap Accept.
- Allow the installation to complete.
Once installed, tap the device's Home button, and you should be prompted to select ASAP Launcher. Tap ALWAYS (you can unset this later, if you choose) and a welcome screen will greet you. Swipe to the left (reading each welcome card as you go), and the ASAP Launcher home screen will finally appear.
At first glance, ASAP Launcher doesn't seem like much (Figure A), but that's not the case.
The first thing you will want to do is handle permissions. If you swipe once to the left (from the center of the screen), you will see the Calendar Card asking for permissions to view your calendar (Figure B).
Tap GRANT PERMISSION and then tap ALLOW. You should see your Google Calendar entries listed in the card. If you tap the + button (Figure C), you can enter a new Calendar appointment.
Tap the device's Home button, and you'll be taken back to the main ASAP window; or, you can swipe to the right again to see the Todo Card. Tap the CREATE TODO LIST to create a new list.
Back to the main ASAP window, swipe to the right, and you'll be asked to grant permissions to your Contacts. Tap the GRANT PERMISSION button and then tap ALLOW. Your entire contact list is now available to view from within ASAP.
One more swipe to the right, and you'll be asked to grant permission for the Weather Card. Tap GRANT PERMISSION and ALLOW to reveal one of the nicest weather widgets you'll see anywhere (Figure D).
Besides the four Cards you can swipe to view, there are four home screen swipes you need to know; each swipe reveals a specific element of ASAP Launcher. The swipes are:
- Swipe up from the bottom edge: Reveal the Dock Drawer
- Swipe down from the center: Reveal the Info Card
- Swipe left from the right edge: Reveal the Quick Settings
- Swipe right from the left edge: Reveal the App Drawer
Each of these elements are self explanatory. The one thing you should know is that the Dock Drawer does, over time, learn which apps you use the most, and it will populate itself accordingly (Figure E).
The Quick Info card is a special card that gives you instant access to controlling whatever music you may be listening to; it is also where you access the settings for ASAP Launcher. Swipe down from the center of the screen, and then tap the three vertical dots to the right of the mic. Tap ASAP Settings to reveal the various options you can control.
One caveat: With the free version of ASAP, you can't change much. In order to really gain control of the ASAP Launcher's look and feel, you have to purchase the PRIME version. Upgrading is done in-app and will cost you $1.42 USD (or there's a $2.85 USD Upgrade+Donation option). The upgrade will get you more themes, unread counts, icon packs, and more.
ASAP Launcher could easily give Nova Launcher a run for its money...once it has a few more options. But for simplicity and efficiency, ASAP Launcher is hard to beat. Anyone who likes their information at the ready will very much appreciate this home screen launcher replacement.
Give this Android launcher a go ASAP!
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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.