Samsung’s Terrain blatantly copies Aviate, Action, Google and HTC’s launchers

terrain

It might not be officially released by Samsung but by its startup accelerator, and yet, Terrain is perpetuating the company’s bad reputation of copying ideas instead of innovating. With one dose of Action Launcher, another of Aviate, some Blinkfeed, and a pinch of Google Now launcher, Terrain tries to rethink the launcher, the widgets, and the app drawer, all while not really succeeding at anything.

I’m not going to hide my discontent at this new launcher. It’s still in beta, I understand that part, and it’s expected to act choppy, stutter, and be filled with bugs like I have experienced since I installed it. What I do have issue with, however, is that every single feature boasted by Terrain is taken from another launcher, as most Android enthusiasts will be able to tell, yet Terrain will probably get more mainstream users, press — I’m guilty of that here! — and backing than any of the more deserving launchers.

Aviate and Terrain launcher's app drawers
A game of spot the differences between Aviate’s and Terrain’s app drawers on my phone.

Let’s go over the featurelist:

  • A Bird’s Eye View with Smart Sidebar: Action Launcher’s Quickpage is fairly similar, except it’s on the right not the left — sorry. Google Now puts the content on the left, but it’s in another page, not a sidebar that swipes on top of the screen — my bad. And HTC’s Blinkfeed curates data from your favorite sites and social networks, but it doesn’t have toggles — ouch, I almost nailed it with that one.
  • Find Things Fast with Local Phone Search: Google’s search — minus the Google?
  • Stay Organized with Apps Drawer: a carbon copy of Aviate’s app drawer — whatcha gonna say now?
  • Navigate Quickly with Swipe Gestures: Action Launcher has had this exact same layout for years, with one regular homescreen and swipeable pages from different sides — it’s getting ridiculous now.
  • No Battery Impact: we’re getting somewhere here, but then it’s buggy enough that you won’t be able to use it more than a few seconds — I told you there was no battery impact!
  • Change Homescreen Icon Size: every alternate launcher since LauncherPro (remember that?) and maybe before has had this — should I go on?

Not only that, but Terrain has tried to reinvent widgets in its sidebar by using Cards. So, you will be able to add regular ol’ Android widgets in the homescreen, but there will also be Cards in the sidebar that providers can create and upload to some sort of Card store. I don’t even…

[Download — seriously don’t — Play Store, APK]

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  • Sounds like it takes a lot of neat, formerly mutually-exclusive things and puts them in one place under a unified interface. That’s not so bad.

  • Charles Humphries

    As a person with tons of launcher experience, not sure you are accurate. Seeing the differences between Aviate and this is a no brainer. Samsung was already adding My Magazine interface, which is beefed up in terrain. It doesnt have enough power to make me abandon my custom Buzz Launcher experience yet, but there are features I think that would make this a nice feature set for launchers, or features this has that other launcher should take note of. Why the hate when people innovate?

    • There is no innovation there, just copying, and it works 10x worse and slower than the other launchers it copies. That’s my point.