Jan, 23 2013

Probably the best part about Android is its sheer variety of homescreen replacements (or launchers) available in the Google Play Store. Of course, sifting through all of them provides a challenge in itself and most of the time, most are simply rehashes of the stock AOSP browser with a few added features. Every now and then, a developer attempts to change things up by coming up with a launcher that’s truly unique, changing the behavior and look of the traditional launchers we’ve grown accustomed to.

One such launcher is SF Launcher by Alamo Apps and it offers a fun new take on a traditional launcher setup. Still very much in its infant stages, the homescreen replacement looks to mimic the UI and stylings of the Google Now app found on Jelly Bean devices.

The first thing you’ll notice upon downloading is a big, colorful header with the time and date similar to the one found on Google Now, only minus the search bar (we really need an option for a search bar). Currently, the header can be customized to show a cartoonish landscape of either San Francisco (that’s where the SF in SF Launcher comes from), London, or a generic mountainous region.

Below the header are 2 sections: a spot for widgets (that can be scrolled horizontally), and the other to place your favorite app icons. Swipe to the right, and you’ll find all your applications neatly tucked away in alphabetic order. Give ’em a long press and you can send them over to your favorites section.

Swipe to the left and you’ll find a few settings for tweaking your homescreen to your liking. This can be done a variety of ways. There are settings to change the theme between light and dark, and even have it change automatically according to the time of day. Pretty snazzy if white backgrounds give your battery anxiety. Other settings include the ability to change the size of the icons, columns, as well as display their names and adjust font size.

That’s pretty much all there is to SF Launcher. Clean. Simple. Minimal. Oh, and don’t forget — still very alpha. Sure, this wont be for everyone (what app ever is?), but with regular updates coming almost daily, this might be one launcher you want to keep an eye on. You can download SF Launcher Alpha for free in the Play Store.

[SF Launcher on Google Play]

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