Nokia introduced its very own launcher for Android devices, Nokia Z Launcher a few months ago. The launcher was only available through Nokia’s website to a limited amount of users in its “pre-beta” stages. But after a seemingly solid initial public response, the launcher has now entered open beta, and can be downloaded for multiple devices on Google Play.
Z Launcher will come pre-loaded on Nokia’s brand new Lollipop-powered N1 tablet, which will become available from February next year.
The Nokia Z Launcher was initially given out to 10,000 testers for the first beta, with downloads reaching over 100,000 the first day of it being available. Because of this, Nokia was forced to stop accepting new users (until now).
For those that aren’t familiar with the the Z Launcher, a big part of it is what’s known as the “Scribble” feature, which basically allows you to draw letters anywhere on the screen while displaying apps (and other corresponding content) that start with the letter you drew (drawing a “G” will pull up apps starting with G, and then adding “oo” will leave only Google apps or apps starting with “Goo” on the screen).
Features that will arrive with the new release include:
- Faster Speed: Z Launcher has had small speed advancements in many areas, from the obvious, like optimizing on specific handsets, to the more obscure, like “finger tracking latency.”
- Improved Prediction: The Z Launcher team incorporated more context into the app’s algorithm – including Wi-Fi networks – while intelligently pruning the data to focus on the key elements that give users the best results.
- Refined Scribble: Z launcher now has improved the recognition and response time and an added Pinyin Chinese language support.
- Rooted Device Capability: In response to the feedback we received from users on our Z Launcher forum, we now allow installation on rooted devices.
You can download directly the launcher from Google Play. While on Nokia’s website only the Nexus 5 and Galaxy S3/S4/S5 are listed as compatible, it seems that this version is compatible with any smartphone running Android 4.1 to Android 4.4 (tablets are not compatible).
Here are a few screenshots I grabbed from my phone:
If you want to give the a Nokia Z Launcher a shot and have a compatible device, you can download it directly from Google Play via the source link below. Be sure to share your impressions of the launcher in the comments!