Now that Nokia has been freed from Microsoft, the company is now able to work on other platforms besides Windows Phone. The new technologies group has just revealed a new Android launcher that’s still in pre-beta stage (so.. alpha?). It’ called Z Launcher, and it was created to help you find your apps and contacts effortlessly.
At first glance, it’s very simplistic, consisting of a calendar and clock up top, and the bulk of the screen occupied by a list of most used apps and contacts with their respective icons, with the usual row of apps remaining at the bottom. The idea is that the phone changes the app list using contextual information about the user, such as location, time of day, and call history. It ensures that your most important tasks and apps will be there when you need them, in the first place that you look, and over time the phone can continue learning more about you to cater to your needs. And in case your app doesn’t show up when you need it, you can simply do a manual search by pressing the app list icon at the bottom taking you to an alphabetized list of your apps, similar to Windows Phone.
But Nokia has made simple app selection even cooler with handwriting recognition. Powered by MyScript, the user can simply begin trace a letter on the homescreen, and will be taken to a list of apps and contacts that begin with that letter. Apparently it works with up to four letters, with anything more simply bringing up a Google search. And keep in mind the launcher is still in “pre-beta” form, so there’s bound to be glitches here and there.
Brook Eaton, the lead product manager for the team that built the launcher also expressed interest in bringing it to iOS, though that would prove difficult with the OS’ general lack of customization. Nontheless, we’re definitely glad to see Nokia spreading its wings.
“At the end of the day, we’re now able to explore new ways to get to market, which we didn’t have to first deliver in house. We’re unhandcuffed.”
To sign up for the pre-beta release of Z Launcher, migrate to zlauncher.com where you can download it for free. Hurry though, there are a limited number of slots! And unfortunately, only a select few Android devices are supported; the Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3-5 with more hopefully on the way.
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