Gallery: This is Nokia's new Android launcher

Although Nokia just unveiled the Z Launcher home screen app, we have already gotten our hands on it and loaded it on our test units at Neowin. As we anxiously begin exploring one of the first creations from Nokia, post Microsoft deal, we find that the app is a simple, intuitive, and a new way to navigate an Android device. The home screen app is unlike traditional launchers and focuses on bringing some of the most frequently used items to the forefront, while keeping everything else in the background. 

Perhaps what is the most interesting about this approach is that the apps will dynamically change depending on which ones you use the most. The home screen isn't only limited to apps, but can also introduce contacts and webpages that are frequented as well. Since the experience is meant to be simple, Nokia has included Scribble, a feature that will locate applications by simply having the user draw the first couple of letters of the applications name on the home screen. Scribble will even perform Google searches after four letters.

While this app is still an alpha build, it looks promising. Obviously, we won't know how well this app works until we start seeing the dynamic behavior in full effect, but the unexpected release from Nokia is a step in the right direction. As Nokia transitions its efforts into becoming a proper software company, unique ideas like Z Launcher will easily bring brand recognition to the rebuilding company.

Z Launcher is an alpha build and available for download now. 

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There's nothing to stop Nokia from doing exactly what Amazon is doing with the Fire Phone or whatever the hell they're calling it: take Android, rebuild it, make it their own as they want it to be, and then release devices using there now customized version of it.

Nothing stopping them from just doing a better OS, either. Windows Phone is dead in the water but it just keeps going, it's the "Zombie phone OS" more than anything else. The world runs on Android (predominantly) and iOS now and for the foreseeable future too.

And there's already a patched version of the ZLauncher for rooted devices anyway. Most people don't seem to realize the ZLauncher is designed to work on just a few devices from the start anyway - I happen to own a Moto X which is one of those devices, but I find the launcher a bit useless, it's just one of those things that you either love or hate instantly, and I find no need to keep it around any more than the 10 minutes I put into it.

The people most likely to install, run, and test an alpha launcher are those with rooted phones. So, logically, Nokia makes their launcher NOT WORK on rooted devices. #epicfail Who are these idiots?

Unless this remaining non-Microsoft side of Nokia has intentions of cranking out Android devices - something they should have done a long long time ago - then I don't see the point with this.

Cant install on rooted devices apparently. Don't understand why and it sounds like horse ###### but whatever.

Wont play with it on my N5 for now

Most users dont install different launchers. So really not that big a deal. I may fool around with it to check it out but doubt it has the amount of features and customizations than what has been available.

techbeck said,
Most users dont install different launchers. So really not that big a deal. I may fool around with it to check it out but doubt it has the amount of features and customizations than what has been available.

They're not a niche, though, either. Go Launcher has hundreds of millions of installs. Nova, tens of millions. Apex, millions on top of that. They come close to the top of the popular apps list in their respective Play Store departments.

What a load of cack, they're trying to make people hate Android and go to Windows phones obviously?

Can they even spell intuitive?

Looks pretty basic or these screenshots don't do it much justice. From what I see though I don't see why anyone would want to use this...

You'll be surprise what the launcher packs in. When you're looking for an app, you can just draw the first letter of the app on the homescreen and it will bring up a list of apps starting with that letter. Also, the homescreen changes through the day base on your habits, so you will have the apps you want at the right time.

I feel it is a threat to my privacy.. Same thing which I felt about Windows Phone Software since everything I do all the time, is right there in front screen and anyone can view it by just asking, wow nice phone, can I take a look at it ??

But in standard android, one has to navigate to those apps, which, anyone poking a look at the device wont be able to do so :p

Choto Cheeta said,
I feel it is a threat to my privacy.. Same thing which I felt about Windows Phone Software since everything I do all the time, is right there in front screen and anyone can view it by just asking, wow nice phone, can I take a look at it ??

But in standard android, one has to navigate to those apps, which, anyone poking a look at the device wont be able to do so :p

Lock screen much?

Once you let someone past your lock screen, it's no different than letting someone have a look at your wallet.