Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 11th Feb 2012 10:53 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Ever since my Android review, I've been looking for a different launcher for my Galaxy SII. I wanted something closer to the stock Android launcher to replace TouchWiz, without actually having to install CyanogenMod (I'm waiting for the ICS-based version 9 before taking that plunge). I finally found one I'm happy with: the extremely basic and light FTL (Faster Than Light) Launcher.
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cm9
by stabbyjones on Sat 11th Feb 2012 11:36 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=20671183

Been running it for a month our two now. if you're desperate, it's 85% there.

Edit: before jumping to CM9 I was using zeam, it's really small so you should check that out.

Edited 2012-02-11 11:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: cm9
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 11th Feb 2012 12:58 UTC in reply to "cm9"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Been running it for a month our two now. if you're desperate, it's 85% there.


So, what's not working? How do you make sure you backup your current setup so you can switch back? Every guide I've seen assumes the one performing the upgrade already knows his shit, and, well, I don't. So many terms fly by it's all a bit off-putting.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: cm9
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 11th Feb 2012 18:02 UTC in reply to "RE: cm9"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I 75% agree with that. Most android tutorials are missing critical steps that the author assumes you already know how to do. So, you have to google for the missing step and figure out how to do it before proceeding.

I also hate that 90% of the prepackaged tools for messing with android ( a linux based phone operating system) are written for Windows. Pfft!

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: cm9
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 11th Feb 2012 18:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: cm9"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I 75% agree with that. Most android tutorials are missing critical steps that the author assumes you already know how to do. So, you have to google for the missing step and figure out how to do it before proceeding.


Exactly - leading to a mess of often conflicting information. Since I don't want to mess up my €650 device, I'd rather not.

There's a huge market to make this process as easy and transparent as possible. A complete package where you can select the ROM you want, and which takes care of all backups and the like.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: cm9
by _txf_ on Sun 12th Feb 2012 16:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: cm9"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

There's a huge market to make this process as easy and transparent as possible. A complete package where you can select the ROM you want, and which takes care of all backups and the like.


Erm...you mean like Rom Manager and clockworkmod?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: cm9
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 12th Feb 2012 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: cm9"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

They don't do backup, as far as I know.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: cm9
by Drantin on Sun 12th Feb 2012 19:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: cm9"
Drantin Member since:
2006-07-10

They allow you to image your entire OS and store it on the SD card, all from the boot manager.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: cm9
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 12th Feb 2012 19:41 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: cm9"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Pretty cool, I have the full version installed. So I guess I could just download the test CM9 image for the SII and get cracking?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: cm9
by zima on Sat 18th Feb 2012 23:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: cm9"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I also hate that 90% of the prepackaged tools for messing with android ( a linux based phone operating system) are written for Windows. Pfft!

While not a particularly fortunate thing in itself, you can still see it (if you care about Android this way) as a very good sign ...ultimately just another symptom of wide Android acceptance, uptake, & how it takes over (in different sphere of course) Windows demographic, seemingly becoming the mobile OS.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: cm9
by stabbyjones on Sun 12th Feb 2012 00:53 UTC in reply to "RE: cm9"
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

if you don't know much about it i'd say waiting is the best bet.

the two things i've noticed not working are video playback and video recording. everything else is pretty stable.

i'll send you a list of programs i use to back everything up.but in general i just back up sms and a list of what i've installed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: cm9
by Rooki on Mon 13th Feb 2012 01:07 UTC in reply to "RE: cm9"
Rooki Member since:
2011-05-12

I've been using it for the last couple of moths as well, the main stand out missing functionality is video capture, still photo's are fine but the application crashes as soon as you try to capture video. Don't think I've noticed anything else.

Reply Score: 1

Zeam launcher
by sb56637 on Sat 11th Feb 2012 12:10 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

I use Zeam launcher, for the same reasons. It is extremely fast and lightweight, and it lets me disable all the bling. I only have one homescreen with no widgets or moving wallpaper effects for optimal battery life. It lets me configure swipe up, down, and double tap actions. Zeam works great on everything from the original HTC G1 running Gingerbread, to my Motorola Droid 2 Global.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Zeam launcher
by arpan on Sat 11th Feb 2012 15:16 UTC in reply to "Zeam launcher"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

I use Zeam launcher too. It's simple and fast, and does what just what I need.

Reply Score: 2

CM9 & Zeam
by etrek on Sat 11th Feb 2012 13:22 UTC
etrek
Member since:
2006-03-29

I have a Samsung EPIC (US) and am running cm9 alpha2 - it's a decent enough daily driver although with some minor glitches and lack of configurability. The included trebuchet launcher is cool.

I still prefer the Zeam launcher though. Nice and basic - no cruft.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by broken_symlink
by broken_symlink on Sat 11th Feb 2012 16:43 UTC
broken_symlink
Member since:
2005-07-06

I use go launcher on my tmobile springboard (tablet), and the stock touchwiz on my gs2. I tried go on my gs2 and my phone kept randomly shutting off. Once I uninstalled go the problem went away.

The thing I found that helps most with speed especially on my tablet which ships with vanilla android and uses the stock launcher, is not using too many widgets. Also, reducing the number of homescreens you use and using more folders seems to help. Although my tablet also has a 1.2ghz dual core cpu like my phone, my tablet is damn slow in comparison, so whatever helps.

The one thing I really like about touchwiz that go doesn't have is how easy it is to add application icons to the homescreen. In touchwiz you just go to applications and long click on the icon and it will take you back to the homescreens. Then you just drop it where you want. In go, you have to use a menu with a list of all applications and the applications you want on a homescreen have to have a check next to them. Its very cumbersome.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by broken_symlink
by cfraz89 on Sun 12th Feb 2012 13:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by broken_symlink"
cfraz89 Member since:
2009-02-03

Massive fan of go launcher too, use it on my htc legend packing cyanogen 7.2. Also install go launcher on people's phones whenever I get the chance. Odd about your problem on the gs2, I've seen a few running go fine. Might have been a one-off to the version installed at the time? Might be worth trying again.

About the homescreen icons, I'm not sure if you realised this, but in go, if you long press an icon in the app drawer, and they go all shaky, you can then drag an icon over the 'Move to Screen' area at the bottom of the screen. This'll then bring up an overview of all your homescreens, where you can drop the shortcut onto any one of them. Pretty much just an extra step over the standard way of adding shortcuts.

I've tried many launchers on this phone, but speed never really felt different enough between launchers to affect preferences. Eg lightweight launchers like zeam still took as long to redraw widgets after coming home as launchers like go.

Animation smoothness, however, is perceivable. And in this sense, base ADW is the worst, although ADW EX is much smoother. But go has so many features, and silky smooth animations, so it's easily my favourite launcher.

Reply Score: 1

Using stock one
by ddc_ on Sat 11th Feb 2012 17:23 UTC
ddc_
Member since:
2006-12-05

I'm using the launcher coming with the firmware (ezGingerbread, currently, as I'm not aware of other combinations of 2.3+ and HTC Magic). I actually use only the most basic functionality. Given the disconnected feel of the platform, I prefer keeping my tasks delegated to the apps as much as possible, so that I don't have to rely on launcher's integration with other apps and similar issues.

BTW, I'm pretty sure that when I'll buy a new phone I'll replace the stock firmware with Cyanogen ASAP.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Using stock one
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 11th Feb 2012 23:19 UTC in reply to "Using stock one"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I'm upgrade eligible myself currently at a pretty bad time. I have Cyanogenmod 7.2 on my Captivate now, and its pretty awesome. Of the current crop of phones att provides, right now. only the galaxy ii is supported by cyanogenmod.

New phones ( other than the Nexus) have to be developed for, and its not easy to predict which ones will get blessed by cyanogenmod and which will not ever get support. Sometimes small variations in regional version is enough to prevent the easy porting of cyanogenmod. Take a look at the Samsung vibrant ( t-mobilie usa's galaxy S), Its a galaxy s phone like my supported captivate. Yet, there is enough of a difference with the baseband chip that it screws up the emergency dialing ( no 911 service).

So, you have to get an older ( in phone terms) phone or guess which will eventually work.

My current approach is to instead figure out how to port cyanogenmod to a new phone ( in my mythical spare time), then maybe I'll be able to make a more informed choice.

Reply Score: 2

Nova
by hollovoid on Sat 11th Feb 2012 19:48 UTC
hollovoid
Member since:
2005-09-21

Ive been using Nova, and its pretty slick on the GNex. Nice transitions but runs nice and snappy.

Reply Score: 2

CM9
by Beachchairs on Sun 12th Feb 2012 00:31 UTC
Beachchairs
Member since:
2009-04-10

I use the CM9 version of the default launcher. It adds the two features I really want in the stock one: it can rotate, and I can get rid of additional homescreens.

Reply Score: 1

Launcher Pro
by joshv on Sun 12th Feb 2012 02:34 UTC
joshv
Member since:
2006-03-18

Been using Launcher Pro for a long time. Simple, fast, attractive, configurable.

Reply Score: 2

No launcher. Yet.
by WereCatf on Sun 12th Feb 2012 13:42 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

I am not using any launchers yet as I don't own an Android phone, but I am getting a Galaxy Note next week, so I too probably will have to take a look at them. I'll likely try all of the ones recommended here in the comments, except for the one in by Holwerda; Note has 1280x800 screen, so it won't work.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No launcher. Yet.
by zima on Sat 18th Feb 2012 23:52 UTC in reply to "No launcher. Yet."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

How can you do this to Nokia?! ;) http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-FI-monthly-200812-201202

(and curious thing - the rate of Symbian decline very clearly slowed, for half a year, after the Elop announcement, hm...)

Reply Score: 2

Was Go Launcher Ex, now Zeam
by phoenix on Sun 12th Feb 2012 14:13 UTC
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

Tried a bunch of different launchers when I first got my Xperia Pro, eventually settling on Go Launcher Ex, mainly due to the nice array of dark themes. Was especially impressed that they came with theme-specific icons for the standard Android apps. Along with the rest og the Go suite of apps, it provided for a much nicer, integrated feel.

However, it wasn't all that 'smooth', especially when returning to the home screen from an app. Icons would be drawn in one or two at a time, and looked/felt chunky.

Tried FTL today, but that '3D waterfall' effect in the app drawer is the stupidest and least useful effect I've ever seen. And it was worse than GLEx on this phone.

Tried Zeam today as well. So far, really liking it. It's fast, like a launcher should be. No screen redraw lag when exiting an app: the whole home screen appears at once. Flipping between screens is smooth.

My only gripe with Zeam is that it's not themable, and you can't (natively) change the icons for apps on the home screens/dock. However, a handy app called 'Desktop Visualizer' allows you to create 'app shortcuts' that can have any image (app icons, theme icons from other launchers, any pics in your gallery, basically any image file you can access) and launch any app, and then inject that into Zeam.

So now I can use the icons from the GLEx themes, with Zeam. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Was Go Launcher Ex, now Zeam
by pandronic on Sun 12th Feb 2012 16:15 UTC in reply to "Was Go Launcher Ex, now Zeam"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Tried FTL today, but that '3D waterfall' effect in the app drawer is the stupidest and least useful effect I've ever seen. And it was worse than GLEx on this phone.


On my Galaxy S it's pretty snappy ... in fact it's the fastest of all launchers and I've tried them all ;)

I believe that the waterfall effect is the default effect from the stock launcher. And yes, it looks pretty bad - I'd rather have no effect at all.

Of all the other launchers ... GO Launcher Ex is the best IMO as features and performance. Zeam is pretty good as performance goes, but not as good as FTL.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

As with all things Android, it all depends ... on the phone hardware (CPU, GPU, RAM), the phone software (Android version, running services, etc), the screen resolution, the screen size, etc, etc, etc.

On this phone (Xperia Pro), with only a single-core 1 GHz CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, 512 MB of RAM (although only 384 MB is available to CPU, rest if reserved for GPU), and Android 2.3.4, FTL is slow. Even GLEx is faster/smoother. Although Zeam is better than both.

Reply Score: 2

ADW for me
by Drunkula on Mon 13th Feb 2012 14:22 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

I haven't tried any others (other than stock) except ADW. At first I didn't care for it but now that I know it, I love it. Oh BTW I'm using it on CM7 on a Droid X2. Still waiting for CM9 to be released for this model. And, yes, I have been following dragonzkiller's tweets on his progress.

Reply Score: 1

Launcher Pro
by amadensor on Mon 13th Feb 2012 17:36 UTC
amadensor
Member since:
2006-04-10

I have a Motorola Defy. Not the speediest device, but one of the few that are water resistant. Motoblur was a nightmare. It was so slow. I tried GO launcher, but it was even slower. I finally tried Launcher Pro, and it is pretty good, but After reading other comments I am going to try out Zeam too.

So far: Launcher Pro is pretty quick and light weight with cool options like resizing widgets to non-standard configurations (my calendar 2X3 and my weather is 1X3.)

Reply Score: 1

Stock ICS
by jonoden on Mon 13th Feb 2012 19:43 UTC
jonoden
Member since:
2012-02-13

Stock ICS launcher all the way.

I tried a bunch of different launchers on my previous nexus devices, always ended up going back to stock.

FTL sounds interesting, if I was still on GB and not using Galaxy Nexus i'd probably try it.

Reply Score: 1

How do you start it?
by adinas on Wed 15th Feb 2012 14:40 UTC
adinas
Member since:
2005-08-17

OK

Edited 2012-02-15 14:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

ZEAM!!!
by amadensor on Wed 15th Feb 2012 15:31 UTC
amadensor
Member since:
2006-04-10

OK, based on the comments, I tried Zeam. After a couple of days, I removed Launcher Pro Plus (yes, the paid one). Zeam is not quite a slick, but really close, and never lags like Launcher Pro did (which was still way better than the Motoblur one that cam e stock.)

Reply Score: 1