Update (06/15): The Xperia Home launcher is dead, long live the new Xperia Home launcher? That’s going to be the case according to Erika Prymus from the Xperia Home team who has now confirmed that a new Home app is n the works (via Xperia Blog).
As we noted below, it’s a strange move to retire one launcher only to develop another with potentially the same branding, but that’s exactly what Sony appears to be doing. That also means you can probably wave goodbye to any hope of an Android One Xperia phone.
We don’t have anything to go on regarding the new Home launcher but, as speculated in the cited report, it may be that Sony is going back to the drawing board and designing a new launcher with deeper support for the gesture controls that will be coming our way with Android P.
Here’s hoping the new launcher differs enough from the existing Home app, especially after Sony’s long-awaited shift away from the tired “omnibalance” design produced the Xperia XZ2 — a phone that looks exactly like all of Sony’s recent flagships but with a few minor tweaks.
Original story (06/15): If you’re a big fan of Sony’s Android launcher Xperia Home, I’m afraid we have some bad news: Sony is putting the launcher into “maintenance mode,” and will no longer be testing new features or issuing new updates.
The Google Plus forum that acts as a beta-testing hub for Xperia Home will be dismantled in “a couple of weeks,” according to the Google Plus post on the matter.
Sony’s explanation of the launcher’s transition to maintenance mode is given as a “business decision.” Sony didn’t announce a timeline for how long Xperia Home will be in maintenance mode, but committed that support will “continue for as long as deemed necessary.”
In other words, its time for anyone using Xperia Home to start looking into a new launcher.
Sony also didn’t give any indication as to which launcher future Sony devices will ship with. It seems unlikely that the company would wind down support for one launcher to then introduce a brand new one. It’s far more likely that Sony will use an existing launcher – like the Pixel Launcher, for example – as a starting point for future device launchers.
This is not the first Sony product to wind down recently – the Sony weather app Xperia Weather was also killed only a few days ago.
Perhaps Sony is planning on a large product revamp for its mobile division? It certainly seems like a good idea, considering the lukewarm response the company received for its most recent release, the Xperia XZ2 line.
Either way, Sony device owners need a new launcher; might we suggest one from this list?