After selling the hardware portion of its business to Microsoft, Nokia is diving into the world of Android apps. Its new app, Z Launcher, is an Android launcher that replaces the default home screen with a more streamlined design.
Z Launcher gets rid of Android's cluttered app menu and multiple home pages, and replaces them with a single page that changes to fit the user's needs. The app tracks what and when apps users run most often. When the phone is unlocked, the home screen displays a list of apps, contacts and websites users are most likely to want at that time of day, based on their history.
"As soon as you install and start using Z Launcher, it starts learning what you use throughout the day and automatically surfaces whatever you're most likely to need at the right moment," says Nokia in a statement.
Z Launcher also contains a feature called Scribble. If the desired program isn't on the home page, the user can draw a letter anywhere on the screen to be taken to a list of installed apps starting with that letter. The list is sorted based in frequency of use, and can be further narrowed down by drawing more letters.
"We're used to tapping away at our phones to find things - rooting through folders, swiping and scrolling. Scribble makes this easier," Nokia says in its statement.
At the top of the home screen Z Launcher shows the current time and the next upcoming calendar event. Tapping the time opens the clock app, and tapping the event opens the calendar. The screen also has five static app icons at the bottom, including the most commonly used features like phone, internet and Google Maps.
Z Launcher is currently in a pre-beta release and is not available on the Google Play store. The app can be downloaded from the Z Launcher website, but the number of total downloads is limited. The app is compatible with any smartphone running Android 4.1 or later, but has only been tested on a small number of phones, including the Nexus 5, Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4.