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Best Android launchers and widgets of all time

by Phil Hornshaw

Customizing your device exactly the way you want it is one of the best things about being an Android owner. Get the most out of your device with these 10 phenomenal launchers and widgets.

Action Launcher Pro ($3.99)

Action Launcher ProBuild your perfect, finely manicured home screen with Action Launcher. The app lets you customize your device’s look without compromising your ability to get to apps, with are all available in an “app dock” area that slides out with a swipe of your finger. You can also use swipe controls to quickly access launcher functions no matter what app you’re using on the device, making it even easier to flip from one app to another.

1Weather:Widget Forecast Radar (Free)

1Weather:Widget Forecast RadarWeather app 1Weather packs a number of handy widgets, and all of them make it easy to get the weather information you need to plan your day. The app features three different clock widgets, as well as other weather widgets that are all reconfigurable, allowing you to get exactly the look and functionality you want out of them.

Buzz Launcher (Free)

Buzz LauncherBuzz Launcher is all about great-looking themes, which you can easily apply to your Android device to give it a distinct, exciting look. The app packs more than 300,000 home screens to choose from, and it includes a number of widgets you can utilize as well, such as those for viewing your device’s battery life, date, clock and more. Plus, you can use Buzz Launcher to create your own personal widgets.

Nova Launcher Prime ($4.00)

Nova Launcher PrimeUse Nova Launcher if you’re looking for lots of customization options. It allows you to organize your apps into tabs and folders, with an unlimited number of tabs at your disposal to allow you to get exactly the organization you want. You can also set swipes to access app docks while you’re using other apps, and activate other apps or actions using gesture commands.

Apex Launcher Pro ($3.99)

Apex Launcher ProOrganize your apps, create unlimited app dock tabs, control your device with gestures and access advanced widget options for greater customization with Apex Launcher. It lets you set up widgets as you like, including overlapping them, to get your device looking exactly the way you like. You also can create folders, merge them together, and make use of other organizational options.

Cal (Free)

CalThe calendar widget created by Any.DO for its Cal app is a handy addition to your Android device. It brings each day’s schedule to your home screen so you can quickly review what appointments and other commitments you might have in a given day. The idea is to maximize your ability to keep organized while requiring only a glance.

Facebook Home (Free)

HomeFacebook’s Home app is basically the social network on your home and lock screens, making it easy to see your news feed, post updates and photos, and access other Facebook functions. When you need to get to other apps, Home provides a handy launcher for firing up your favorite apps.

Data Counter Pro ($2.25)

Data Counter ProData Counter keeps things simple: It provides you with a simple widget that lets you see how much cellular data your phone has used in a given month. The idea is to help you manage your data usage so you always know how close you are to going over on your plan -- which can kick in some serious charges with your cellular company. Data Counter helps you avoid those charges by keeping your data usage numbers easy to find.

Flipboard (Free)

FlipboardThe widget version of Flipboard pipes the latest stories from your various news feeds straight to your home screen so you never miss an incoming news story. The widget takes on Flipboard’s signature magazine-like design, focusing on big images and headlines to help you get the gist of a story and decide whether you want to quickly tap in and read more.

LauncherPro (Free)

LauncherProA smooth, easy to use launcher, the handy part about LauncherPro is the organization it affords Android users. You can create and customize up to six home screens with the app, or launch apps from the launcher’s app drawer, which features either 2-D or 3-D visual effects to go with it. There’s also a scrollable shortcut dock for your favorite apps and other device features.