posted by Thom Holwerda on Sat 11th Feb 2012 10:53 UTC
IconEver 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.

ADW, GO, and so on never floated my boat - too many features and bells and whistles, and they had this odd tendency to be slower and laggier than TouchWiz itself, which kind of defeated the whole point of switching launchers. FTL Launcher takes a different approach - if a feature has the potential to bring the speed down, it won't be added.

The launcher is based on the source code of the stock Gingerbread launcher, but altered and optimised for speed. It has relatively few configuration options - beyond setting the transition speed, homescreen rotation support, opting for a bounce-snap effect or endless looping, there's nothing much else here (well, backgrounds, of course). For the rest, it does all the things you expect - hold icons, folders, and widgets. You can opt for 3, 5, 7 or 9 homescreens.

The launcher isn't for everyone, though, if only because it currently only supports HDPI devices, so a resolution of 800×480. Lower and higher resolutions are currently not supported, but because this is only a first release, the developer will gauge interest in this launcher to see if it warrants adding support for different resolutions. Note that the Android Market should filter out non-compatible devices.

The only thing I personally need to figure out now is if it's okay and safe to freeze TouchWiz in Titanium Backup.

In any case, there's both a free lite version as well as the full-featured version which costs €1.99 - a small price to pay for such a fast launcher. Like I said, this surely won't float everyone's boat by virtue of being so sparse, but it's right up my personal alley, and I figured there'd me more among you who value speed and simplicity.

Yes, I know this sounds an awful lot like a glorified ad (it really isn't), so to give it some air of legitimacy: what launcher do you use, and why?

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