Android

Find out what all the buzz is with Buzz Launcher

Looking for one of the most customizable home screen launchers for the Android platform? Jack Wallen introduces you to Buzz Launcher and Homepacks.

Buzz Launcher

Buzz Launcher is relatively new to the Android home screen launcher category. Being new, however, doesn't mean it's behind the curve. In fact, this particular home screen launcher offers some really cool features that can lift your Android device into new levels of efficiency and ease of use.

Even with all the features, widgets, and customizations, Homepacks are the one feature that really sets Buzz Launcher apart from the rest. Homepacks are a quick way to retheme your launcher without having to go through the process of adding elements piece by piece. You'll find tons of Homepacks to choose from, each with a completely different aesthetic and feature set. Some Homepacks were clearly created purely for look and feel, while others were created for ease of use and efficiency. Homepacks can also be further customized once they're installed.

Let's get Buzz Launcher installed on your device and walk through the process of adding new Homepacks.

Installation

First, you must install Buzz Launcher. It's free and found in the Google Play Store. Here are the steps for installation:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
  2. Search for Buzz Launcher
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Homepack Buzz Team
  4. Tap Install
  5. Read the permissions listing
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept

Once the installation is completed, tap the home button on your device, select Buzz Launcher (Figure A), and tap either Just Once (to try it out) or Always (to make it your default).

Figure A

Figure A

Selecting Buzz Launcher on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.

The first time you run Buzz Launcher, you'll have to swipe through to select your default Homepack (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Selecting your default Homepack.

Next, you'll select your favorites apps (that will be associated with a Favorites folder). The app will ask you, once again, to select Buzz Launcher as your default home screen (when prompted, tap Okay to launch the home screen selection tool).

At this point, you'll see a few simple animations to help you use Buzz Launcher. The first is a two-finger swipe down to launch the Buzz Menu. Once you've dismissed this, you'll notice little downward-pointing arrows on certain items (Figure C). These arrows indicate widgets that aren't currently installed. Tap the arrow to open the prompt and install the widget (from either the Google Play Store or Amazon).

Figure C

Figure C

Buzz items that need to be installed are indicated by arrows.

Installing Homepacks

If the default Homepack isn't what you need, you can select a different one in the Homepack buzz shop. To install new Homepacks, do the following:

  1. With two fingers, swipe down on your screen
  2. From the buzz menu (Figure D), tap the Homepack Buzz launcher
    Figure D
    Figure D
  3. Scroll through the listing until you find a Homepack you like
  4. Tap the desired Homepack
  5. Tap Download
  6. Tap either Replace my Entire Homepack or Add on to existing Homepack (Figure E)
    Figure E
    Figure E
  7. If applicable (some Homepacks offer more options than others), choose your setting preferences and tap Confirm

The difference between Replacing or Adding on to an existing Homepack is that replacing removes the current Homepack, whereas Adding on will add the new Homepack onto a new page of your home screen. By adding on, you can enjoy multiple Homepacks, all of which might offer completely different looks, feels, or options.

If you're looking for one of the most unique home screen launchers for the Android platform, Buzz Launcher should be your first stop. With countless Homepacks available (and more added each day), the amount of configurations seems endless.

What is your Android launcher of choice? Have you found one to be more optimized for your business needs? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About Jack Wallen

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.

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