Surprise: Nokia makes an Android launcher, and here’s what it’s like

Nearly every manufacturer has tried Android in some way, every manufacturer except Apple, that is, and while Nokia’s X series may not be ready for prime time in Australia, it does have a launcher that you can try on your phone.

Another home screen replacement tool for Android — also called a “launcher” — Nokia’s addition is “Z Launcher” and aims to simplify your mobile experience with less of the regular clutter from home screens and just the apps and information you need at the time you need it.

The launcher really only has two screens, with no widget options available, and just the home and the apps menu.

That’s it, though it will always be looking for letters you can write on the screen, taking in the lowercase text and looking for apps, contacts, and even webpages with those letters.

Once you go beyond four letters, Google kicks in and starts searching, in an attempt to provide you with answers when you need them.

There’s also some timing thrown in for good measure, looking through your most used apps over the course of a day and throwing them up on screen when they would be used most, such as Instagram when you’re out and about and running your Sonos app when you’re at home.

The idea is an interesting one, though if an app isn’t shown that you need, it does really need you to either write the first few characters of its name to find it, or scroll through your long list of apps.

Over time, this could prove a useful addition, monitoring your activity and providing you with some top choices that really know you.

Your app menu beyond the homescreen.

Personally, this tech journalist prefers to have the shortcuts available on a home screen that he knows he’ll use as opposed to relying on a launcher to guess his needs, but if used in conjunction with a lockscreen replacement that does something similar — say “Cover” — we can see why people would like it.

At the moment, Nokia’s Z Launcher is available in beta for people to try, optimised to work on the LG Google Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, HTC One, Motorola’s X, and Sony’s Xperia Z1, though we have tested it on the Xperia Z2 and it works there, too.