I've used so many home screen launchers for Android that they tend to blend together. Sure, there's Nova Launcher, which has been my go-to home screen launcher for a very long time, but, for the most part, every home screen offers an interesting or unique feature that helps the app stand out in the crowd.
And then there's Evie, one of the best launchers you've never heard of. It takes a more simplistic approach to the task and, in doing so, makes your Android device perform better and more efficient than ever.
Evie gives you instant access to the things you use most: your apps and information. It doesn't do this with tricks and gimmicks; instead, you'll find two features that get you to your apps and data fast: a best-in-class universal search and an alphabetized app sidebar. Universal search is what really makes Evie a standout.
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Installing Evie Launcher
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for Evie.
- Locate and tap the entry by Evie Labs, Inc.
- Tap Install.
- If prompted (depending upon your Android release), tap Accept.
- Allow the installation to complete.
Once installed, tap the Home button on your device and you'll be prompted to select your home screen launcher. Select Evie and then tap Always (Figure A).
After you set Evie as your default, you'll be asked to give the app permission to access your location and contacts (Figure B). Tap Grant Access and then tap ALLOW for each feature.
The final step is importing your app and folder layout from your previous launcher. I always like to start out with a clean slate with this regard (primarily because the importing almost always fills up your home screen with app launchers), so I tend to dismiss this step. The choice is yours, of course.
Once you've gone beyond importing folder layout, you're ready to start using Evie.
There are two main features that you'll focus on with Evie; one does a great job of getting you access to apps, widgets, and settings, while the other gives you access to apps and data.
Evie's most important feature is universal search, which you can use to search a term, and it will bring up matches found on the device as well as results found on Google. To initiate the universal search, swipe down on the home screen or tap the device's Home button, type what you're looking for, and Evie will immediately display matching results (Figure C). This is the universal search you've been looking for.
The only caveat I have found with the universal search is that it won't mine secondary and/or custom fields from within contacts. Say you have a number of contacts in which you have added ComPanyA as their Organization, and you wish to search that organization name for contacts; unfortunately, the universal search will not include that field in the search. I hope the developers add this functionality.
Alphabetized app sidebar
Along with the universal search, you'll find an app sidebar by swiping right from a blank spot on the home screen (Figure D).
You can scroll through your apps and tap to launch or swipe right within the sidebar to view the available widgets and to gain access to the Evie settings. If you want to add an app launcher to the home screen, tap and drag the app to where you want it to live. Drag the launcher onto another launcher to create a folder.
You won't find many options in the Settings sidebar (Figure E). You can enable Google Now via hotword, change the wallpaper/icon pack, hide apps from the universal search, and clear recent results from the search.
Evie is a minimalist home screen launcher that offers maximum efficiency. If you're looking for a way to bring a new level of expediency to your Android experience, Evie is what you want.
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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.