Nokia Releases Z Launcher In Open Beta


One of my first smartphones was a Palm Treo 680, back in the days when these were still called “convergent devices” and the concept of having a PDA that could make calls was still unique. My Treo was a more elegant solution than my VisorPhone in some respects and I certainly enjoyed it. After a few months using it, I switched my launcher to Initiate, a highly configurable but fast application. A killer feature was the ability to launch an application by tapping the first letter of its name and so to bring this right up to date, in the summer, Nokia released the Z Launcher.

Nokia's Z Launcher has two great features: the first is that the launcher learns what you use during the day and reconfigures the screen to suit. When you start the launcher, it makes a guess, which is quickly refined over the first few days of using the device.

The second feature is the killer one for me: if you want to launch an application that's not showing on the screen, simple type the first letter of the application onto the homescreen. This starts a filter on the device; Z Launcher will filter out information on your device. Yes; that's right, not just applications but contacts, activities and recently visited browser pages.

At first, I found Z Launcher a little bit disorientating because of how much information it filters out in my device. Because I use the Google Chrome browser on almost all of my devices and it's connected via the same Gmail account, so a website I may have visited on my tablet will show on my smartphone, but ultimately this is what Z Launcher and synchronizing Chrome is all about.

Although I've included some screenshots as the title image, it's difficult to describe how Z Launcher works so I'll let PocketNow demonstrate:

Z Launcher has been in a closed beta for some time now but following a number of improvements (mostly performance) the application is now ready for a wider audience! It's showing as compatible with all smartphones running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or later, but doesn't install on tablets and my Nexus 7 tablet is left out in the cold. If you're interested, you can find the application on the Play Store here; please bear in mind that this is beta software and so may be buggy or crashy on your device. If you try it, why not let us know how you get on?

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