Nokia’s Z Launcher is the latest launcher app to arrive on Android

z-launcher-nokia

After selling off its unprofitable smartphone business to Microsoft, the last thing we would have expected from Nokia was a homescreen launcher app for Android. But with Z Launcher, a launcher app is exactly what the Finnish company has launched (no pun intended), as a “more intelligent and personal mobile experience that’s better suited for real life.”

Sound familiar? Like Aviate, or the more recent Terrain Home launcher from a Samsung-backed startup, Z Launcher aims to quickly let you access what you’re looking for, though Nokia is focusing mainly on apps and contacts. The default homescreen in Z Launcher is simply a list of app names and their icons, with a clock and calendar widget on top and a standard shortcuts dock at the bottom.

By learning your usage patterns, the launcher will try to detect what apps or contacts you might want to access at a particular moment, and present them on the screen. While that feature is enough to warrant the existence of Z Launcher (hey, just because Aviate is already there doesn’t mean we will say no to an alternative), Nokia has gone a step further by adding support for gestures.

By simply drawing out the first letter of an app you are looking for on the screen, Z Launcher will bring up a list of apps starting with that letter. This should be rather useful, as you won’t have to scroll through your installed apps list as you would do on standard launchers, theoretically saving you some time in your day-to-day smartphone usage.

Z Launcher doesn’t support widgets at the moment, but that probably isn’t surprising considering the app is in pre-beta right now. To download it, you will need to open the Z Launcher website on your phone and then tap the Download button to grab the APK.

Access to the pre-beta is limited, so if you can’t get in, you can download the APK from this link. It’s optimized for the Nexus 5, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Moto X, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z1, and needs Android 4.1 and above, though rooted devices aren’t welcome at the moment.

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  • Death89

    That’s cool, I was hoping it wouldn’t be the last we see of Nokia. Gestures would be pretty welcome, I hope they bring here drive to the OS. A decent fully capable offline sat-nav is a must for me and while Co-pilot is ok, its nowhere near Nokia’s offering.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Yeah, Here Maps a couple of us here at Android Beat are waiting for as well. Google Maps is good, but no proper offline maps is an issue.

      • Death89

        Google Maps’ pathetic offline option and the over-promised/under-delivered camera were the two main reasons I sold my Xperia T and went back to the N8.

        Can’t believe that Google couldn’t do a proper offline mode with all their resources, so there must be some other reason for it – not wanting to come under fire for monopolising maps maybe? As they bundle it with every phone maybe they can’t put in something that would put others out of business?

        Still with Nokia releasing this launcher I can hold a little hope!

        • http://bit.ly/khouryrt khouryrt

          Given that this launcher is coming from the Nokia part that wasn’t sold to Microsoft, and that HERE wasn’t sold to Microsoft either, it’s a matter of time before we see HERE on Android, me thinks.