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Nokia Z Launcher adds widget support

Nokia has updated its Z Launcher application to bring a much requested feature; a much-needed new page that lets you add standard Android widgets.

Published onJune 5, 2015

When Nokia finally sold out to Microsoft, many people thought the company’s efforts in mobile were finished. The Finnish former manufacturer has large network and locations businesses but rather than just focus on these, it decided to become an Android app developer. It’s first app is arguably one of the best launchers on Android and the latest update brings a feature that’s long overdue.

An update to Z Launcher – which was released to the Play Store today – answers user feedback and adds support for standard Android widgets. Currently the launcher has just one screen but its key unique feature is that you can launch applications or contacts by drawing the name; for example, if I wanted to launch our app, I’d type A-N-D and then the Android Authority app would appear in the pop-up.

Adding widgets to this unique interface was always going to be a challenge but Nokia’s solution is innovative; the update brings a new page for widgets which can be accessed by swiping left from the home screen. Unlike other Android launchers, there’s only one page for widgets but as Nokia put it in their blog post;

From the data we have seen so far, we think one page will satisfy most people in terms of widgets used regularly. Having too many widgets for every conceivable need would require the user to flip through multiple pages and lose the quick convenience of widgets in the first place.
In other words, we believe the old adage of “less is more” can apply to widgets as well. So, try picking just the widgets that matter the most to you.

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When using the widget screen, the bottom row of pinned apps aren’t shown to offer more space for widgets and the page itself is limited to only having widgets, which means you won’t be able to add any apps on that page. The concept is simple; “widgets on one page, apps on another“.

Nokia has also redesigned the way you drag, remove or resize widgets and the new design is as simple as Z Launcher itself: you add a widget by long-pressing the home screen; you drag a widget by pressing and holding whilst dragging; you remove a widget by pressing and holding it and then selecting the remove option and you can resize it by pressing and holding and then selecting resize.

Z Launcher comes preloaded on Nokia’s N1 tablet – the first premium Android device the company has released – and the addition of widget support will be great for N1 users. Nokia has already cemented Z Launcher among the growing list of impressive launchers but the addition of widget support fills a gaping hole and lets it stand out from the competition.

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