Yahoo Aviate Launcher (free) is an Android app designed to simplify your phone and organize your apps. It’s well designed to be dead simple at first glance, and the more you explore it, the more features you’ll find. It’s a great launcher app for anyone looking to simplify their Android experience.
Aviating AndroidWith Yahoo Aviate is installed and activated, you’re greeted with a new and simple home screen with ten app icons at the bottom.
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You can change the set of home screen icons, but be careful when you do because Aviate won’t prevent you from loading duplicates. You don’t have to fill all ten slots, which is nice if you really want to keep your home screen simple.
Swiping once right to left brings up App Collections, or themed sets of apps, which Activate creates for you. These include apps for productivity, entertainment, music, social networking, and so forth. At the bottom of this screen is an option to create your own App Collection. You can change the order of Collections by pressing and holding one, and then dragging and dropping it.
One more right-left swipe brings you to a page of all your apps, alphabetized. I don’t know why it brings me great joy to see this page (maybe it’s just in my organized nature), but it does. A vertical list of letters on the right lets you jump quickly to that entry in the list of apps. Hit I, for example, to quickly get to your Instagram app.
Swiping in the other direction (left to right) from the home page brings you to a Space. Spaces are context-sensitive screens of apps and widgets. For example, you can have a screen for Work, which might have a shortcut button to draft an email, a list of your productivity apps such as Mailbox, and perhaps a widget for the task-management app Any.do. Different Spaces surface based on where you are or what time of day it is.
For example, for the Work Space, you start by setting your office location. Aviate automatically pulls up a traffic report when you’re on your way to work. A shortcut to your Work space remains on the home screen while you and your phone and physically at the office. That works well for people who work in an office during regular hours, but it’s less ideal for people who don’t always work from the same location or work off hours.
Another Space that’s handy is simply called Today, and it’s preloaded with a widget listing upcoming calendar events, a weather summary, and news headlines.
One shortcut that some Android fans take issue with is swiping up to reach Favorite People, or shortcuts to people whom you contact frequently. There are two problems with it. First, vertical swiping gestures are not customary on Android, and second, you must list at least four contacts. You can’t pick two or three or even one. It has to be four or more.
Also in the notes for Aviate, Android warns that Android +4.0 is recommended for the best Listening Space, one of the Spaces that supports your music, and that Samsung Galaxy users should upgrade to 4.3. Be forewarned. You might experience crashes and other instabilities if you don’t.
Smooth LandingAll in all, I love Yahoo Aviate Launcher. It’s a wonderful launcher app that simplifies the Android experience. It’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to spend huge amounts of time customizing their phone manually.