Nokia shows off the Z Launcher for Android with a simple, smart design

nokia z launcher android home screen app

Microsoft may have bought Nokia’s devices and services division, but some parts of the company are still active and independent. One such group of Nokia employees has been hard at work creating apps for Android. The first app Nokia will debut is the Z Launcher, which offers Android users a very customizable and easy to use home screen layout.

Even though there are a lot of great launcher apps for Android that let you set up your home screen differently, very few of them are simple or elegant. Typically, launcher app creators try too hard to squeeze everything in and end up making your home screen more cluttered. The Z Launcher is all about simplicity.

On the top left of the Z Launcher home screen, you’ll find the time in decent-sized numbers that you can actually read set above the date, which is written in a smaller font. Notifications for calendar events are posted in the top right corner, so you don’t forget your anniversary dinner, staff meeting, or flight departure time. Below are relevant apps and reminders, as well as Web pages that you frequently visit.

The Z Launcher’s ability to predict which apps and Web pages you’re most likely to visit at different times of the day really sets it apart.

The longer you have the Z Launcher on your device, the better it can predict which apps and Web pages you will want to view at certain times of the day. For example, you might always check your email, the weather, news, and Facebook in the mornings before work, so the Z Launcher may show you Gmail, AccuWeather, Flipboard, and Facebook. Later in the day, the apps will change to the ones you use while at work, on your lunch break, or relaxing at home. The Z Launcher’s ability to predict which apps and Web pages you’re most likely to visit at different times of the day really sets it apart.

However, the coolest feature of Nokia’s launcher may be the way it lets you search for other apps and content on your phone. The feature is called Scribble. To search for anything on your phone, you simply draw a letter on the home screen and all the apps and content starting with that latter will show up in the search results. So if you need to call a cab, all you have to do is draw the letter U on the screen, and the Uber app will show up in your results. Since the launcher remembers which apps you look at most often, the one you’re looking for will probably be near the top of the results, that is, unless it’s an app you almost never use.

The Z Launcher is currently available for free as a pre-beta release, but the number of downloads is limited. It should work with most Android phones, running 4.1 or higher, but Nokia says it has only tested the launcher on the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S3, and Google Nexus 5. It’s unknown when it will be available for all to download.


Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…
Home Theater

Here's a handy guide to mirroring your favorite devices to your TV screen

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device (or PC) to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen.
Home Theater

Make the most out of your new Apple TV with these must-have apps

If you're looking to turn your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K into an all-in-one entertainment powerhouse, we can help you get started with this list of the best Apple TV apps you can download.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.

Verizon is launching real standards-based 5G in 30 cities in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.

Samsung’s wide range of Galaxy products means there’s something for everyone

Samsung launched a host of new products on February 20, with prices ranging from just $35, all the way up to nearly $2,000. This was not by chance, and the company believes it has something for everyone in 2019.

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.

Amazon drops a sweet deal on the Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch for women

Unlike many other smartwatches geared toward women, the Kate Spade Scallop offers a more chic and minimalistic look. With this Amazon sale going on right now, you can get it for $109 off its retail price.

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…