So I've got an HTC phone, and one of the first things I did when I got it was switch off HTC Sense (HTC's proprietary app launcher/homescreen system).
In an attempt to escape the clutches of Sense, I've tried nearly every app launcher I could get my hands on, and yet I always ended up crawling back to Sense.
This time may be different.
Thanks to Arikui Launcher, I've got a fresh and speedy new app launcher with tons of customization, and even the unique ability to use my own pictures as app icons on my homescreen.
The basic look of Arikui Launcher is reminiscent of Windows Phone with its tile-based layout. It sets itself apart from other high-spec app launchers by putting a focus on style and keeping setup simple.
For those of you out there who have tested out a bunch of other app launchers with no luck finding one that felt right, I urge you to give Arikui Launcher a shot.
For a quick look at how the app works, check out the video I made below:
Stylize your homescreen with mini pics
The feature that sets Arikui Launcher apart from other app launchers is its ability to paste your own pics to areas of the homescreen and use them to launch apps.
If you're the industrious type, you can go ahead and change out all of your app icons with your own personal pictures.
Tapping the tiny "+" button on the bottom right brings up the menu above with icons for shortcuts, widgets, and pictures.
"Shortcuts" is for making quick links to frequently dialed phone numbers, etc. You can change the icon for your shortcuts as well, letting you use a picture of your friend's face on a speed dial shortcut.
Let's try adding a picture.
First choose how big you want the tile to be, pick out the picture you want to use, then crop the photo to the size you want. You can expand or shrink the crop area as you so desire.
To link a program to the tile, long-press the picture to bring up the edit pencil and tap it to change the settings. Bind an app to the image and you're set.
Even if you're not particularly interested in using your own photos on your homescreen, Arikui Launcher offers a simple but practical iPhone-like launch system. Widgets are of course supported, so you get the ease-of-use of iOS's homescreen plus the convenience of Android widgets. If you choose the setting so that the tile backgrounds use the color most common in the app icon itself, you get a pretty nice looking homescreen that is very easy to set up.
You can also set everything to monochrome, which looks really nice accented with black and white photos. If you want to go all the way, you can go ahead and make your own B&W versions of app icons and replace the original icons for true black and white homescreen goodness.
The more you play, the more you want to tweak your setup into something more personal and cool-looking.
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Time used: about 1 day
Device used: HTC J ISW13HT
Last updated: 6/4/2013
Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 or higher
Translation by Jason Morgan