Holo Launcher modernizes your outdated Android home screen

by Michael Ian

Android owners who are grounded on Froyo and Gingerbread (2.2 and 2.3 respectively) can finally get the taste of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich (4.x) in the form of Holo Launcher. Unlike other ICS-based home replacement, Holo Launcher is tailored for delivering the Holo experience on much older devices without skimping on features. With dozens of launchers on the market, will you set Holo Launcher as your default?

After flying under the beta banner, Holo Launcher is now ready for primetime. Visually, Holo Launcher is strikingly similar to the stock ICS launcher thanks in part to the icons, animations, and the app drawer. Of course, running on older devices mean there will be limitations on just how much Holo Launcher can emulate Android 4.x. This means widgets in the app drawer won’t be available (though the tab has been conveniently replaced with “recent” and “favorite” categories) and 4.x-based stacked widgets render them incompatible.

Other ICS -based actions are also present including resizeable widgets, scrollable widgets, and the new drag-and-drop folder creation. By dragging an icon on top of another, a folder is automatically created.

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Holo Launcher goes above and beyond just delivering ICS to the masses thanks in part to a slew of features not available on stock ICS. Though these little extras are welcome, they are a staple on most launchers: scrollable docks, custom-sized grids, homescreen gestures, icon packs and transitions. The most unique would be pinch gestures and the two finger swipes and taps which you can customize for different actions.

Performance wise, Holo Launcher performs snappily and scrolling through the homescreens is pretty fluid. Of course, performance depends on the type of device and RAM available. The device I used to test the app was a dual-core Tegra 2 processor G2x which is considered a mid-range device. There were relatively no hiccups or stuttering, save for some minor sluggish transitions when the animations are turned on.

Overall, Holo Launcher is a great hybrid between popular launchers of the past (ADW.Launcher GO Launcher EX, Launcher Pro, etc.) and the ICS-only launchers of today (NovaApex and the recently released Holo Launcher HD). Those looking to modernize their aging device will find Holo Launcher more than just a makeover but a tool make your phone uniquely yours.