I’m a big fan of custom launchers (I’m a Nova Launcher Prime user myself), and a nice looking one named SF Launcher has recently popped up on the Play Store.
SF Launcher takes heavy inspiration from Jelly Bean’s new Google Now feature, with a crisp, clean white interface and funky image headers. The launcher is certainly nice looking, and it has some interesting customization options as well.
You can change the header picture to one of three cityscapes, the generic Google Now city, London, or San Francisco. There are also customizable actions for pressing on the clock or image, and you can choose the times at which the image will change to reflect the time of day.
The launcher will display all your installed apps in a master list just like a standard launcher, but unlike more traditional launchers, it doesn’t come with an app dock. Instead, you can add your most commonly used apps to a favorites list which will be displayed below your widgets on the main screen. You can also customize the number of columns, icon size and text size of the master app list and your selected favorites.
There are a few limitations to the launcher which could be improved to make it a little more practical. For a start, I could only add a single widget to the launchers main screen at any one time, which isn’t enough if you’re a widget dependent user like me. You can add multiple widgets, but you have to scroll between them individually by swiping your finger across the widget, which defeats the point of using widgets for quick access in my opinion. This feature can be a bit cumbersome at times, considering you also have to swipe to move across to the main app list, but I suppose it just takes some getting used to.
Irritatingly, notifications don’t show up on your message, email or missed called icons, so if you want to turn off the notification bar you might miss your messages. Whilst none of the issues I’ve mentioned are hugely problematic, they can be a bit inconvenient at times.
Considering SF Launcher is currently only in alpha, I didn’t notice any major performance issues whilst I was playing about with it. It’s certainly not as feature filled as the popular Go Launcher EX or Nova Prime yet, but this looks like a promising start to a great looking launcher.
If you want to give it a try you can grab the download from the Google Play Store.