From what we’ve seen of Android Wear so far, it seems that Google envisions a world in which people habitually talk to their wrists. Although voice commands are undoubtedly useful and even ideal for issuing commands to our wearables, there are some situations where it’s just not socially acceptable to talk at your wrist. No matter what, wearable users will have to use their fingers to navigate through their apps.
Right now, Android Wear has no real app drawer or method of adding shortcuts for your favorite apps. Instead, you kind of just have to scroll through them all on the watch face. Naturally, this can get rather annoying and lead to frustration among early adopters. Luckily for Android Wear users, the first wearable launcher app is finally here.
The Wear Mini Launcher attempts to fill this basic gap in Android Wear’s software. The app is free to download on the Google Play Store and offers an alternative home screen with links to your favorite apps and smartwatch settings. To see your favorite apps, all you have to do is swipe over from the left side of your Android Wear smartwatch. You can access the app menu from any screen on the device, making it faster and easier to find the app you’re looking for on the small screen.
Those who have tried the app seem to love it, if the Google Play reviews are any indication. Reviewers especially like having easy access to their smartwtaches’ settings, so that they can adjust the brightness whenever they need to. As with any early app release for a new platform and form factor, the Wear Mini Launcher has a few bugs.
User reviews frequently asked for a few tweaks to the interface and mentioned some problems with launching the app. The developer assures Samsung Gear Live users that the issue has already been fixed. Nonetheless, the app has a 4.8 star rating among those who’ve tried it out on their Android Wear smartwatches.