Z Launcher is Nokia's intelligent launcher (à la Aviate) with Scribble feature [Update]

Z Launcher is Nokia's intelligent launcher (à la Aviate) with Scribble feature [Update]

Nokia is no longer the same Nokia we are used to. After the mobile department was sold to Microsoft, the remaining parts needed to reinvent themselves. What came of this was a highly intelligent launcher in a pre-beta version, the Z Launcher. It has arrived with an interesting new concept in tow. Update: the Z Launcher can now be be used on some rooted devices.

zlauncher teaser
© Nokia

There are many launchers to choose from, but only a select few are as minimalistic as the Z Launcher. And not only that, Nokia promises intelligent minimalism.

What makes the Z Launcher so special?

The launcher reduces your home screen to a minimum amount of content that is unlike any other. The top portion of the screen holds basic information such as time and your next appointment from your Calendar app. The display is mainly covered by six shortcuts, which aren’t just to apps but also to special actions (like calls to a certain contact or links to a website). Of course, the apps here are the ones use the most. But how does Z Launcher know what it should show? It learns from user behavior.

androidpit zlauncher
Depending on the time of day, Z Launcher shows different apps on your home screen. / ©  Nokia/ AndroidPIT

Here is where the decisive dynamics come into play: just like the Aviate launcher, Z Launcher caters different content to different times of the day, which also corresponds to what you are doing on your device most at a specific time. The main overview is never lost, but at the same time you will still have your normal app dock at the bottom part of the display.

Gestures - on-screen writing

But what happens when you want to use an app or complete an action which isn’t presently on the home screen? The launcher has incorporated a fancy new feature called Scribble, which allows you to draw the first letter of the app/action you are looking for. The launcher then offers the results in a list of what you were possibly looking for. The search is prioritized by the apps for which you search for the most, so for example if Facebook is scribbled most often, then the app will pull this up whenever you draw an F on the screen.

Scribble the first letter to find an app or action. / © Nokia, AndroidPIT

At the moment, the Z Launcher is still in a limited pre-beta version, but it already appears to be quite stable. The app still hasn’t be uploaded on to the Google Play Store, but it can be downloaded from a dedicated Nokia ZLauncher website. There you’ll need to sign up with your Google+ account, download it and you are ready to get Z launcher on your Android smartphone. For the time being, only high end smartphones are supported, and just unrooted devices too, but I’m certain that more will be added in the near future.

Link to the video

What is your first impression of Z Launcher?

If this one doesn't toot your whistle, we've previously compiled a list of the top 5 Android launchers.

[Update 23.06.2014 6 PM Berlin]

Thanks to the folk over at XDA Developers forum, the Z Launcher just released by Nokia (not the mobile department) a few days ago can be used on rooted phones. Get the Nokia Z Launcher version 0.1.0 on your rooted smartphone today. Some users have reported that this can't really do more than what Nova or any Google Play Edition launchers can do, and that it doesn't support widgets, while many others don't really consider it as being intelligent at all. However it is still in its pre-beta phase, so I'm hoping it will be able to do more as they continue to develop it.

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  • faizinside Jun 22, 2014 Link to comment

    z launcher not in google play :(

  • jay shah Jun 21, 2014 Link to comment

    just like the vHome app in Symbian OS

  • Yusuf Fishir Jun 21, 2014 Link to comment

    Why is it that this is about a Nokia launcher called "Z Launcher" and shows a Samsung in the first picture of the article, and then label that photo "© Nokia."

    • Loie Favre Jun 21, 2014 Link to comment

      Thanks for asking. This was taken from the Nokia YouTube video where they actually chose to show the S5. since Microsoft bought the mobile department I think they can do whatever they want, plus this highlights the fact that all brands can use the launcher.

  • Bojan M. Jun 20, 2014 Link to comment

    I must repeat myself: nothing is intelligent about these launchers. Everybody and everything can count and that's all there is to them, they are all simple counters.

  • Sean Stockemer Jun 20, 2014 Link to comment

    trial quota is met but the apk can be found via Google.
    edit: doesn't support rooted devices. fail. 😒
    edit 2: absolutely no customization possibilities. interesting concept. is like to have a similar widget. but as a pure launcher, not my thing

    • Saem Sarguroh Jun 21, 2014 Link to comment

      You can use xposed module to hide root (to be able to use such apps) and still have root.

    • Loie Favre Jun 21, 2014 Link to comment

      Good to know. Thanks for your feedback Sean.

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