Yahoo Aviate Launcher

ThumbsUp Labs took the Technology world by storm earlier this year when they launched the awesome Aviate Launcher and then once again when Yahoo spent a reported $80 million on it. Just recently it has exited the beta phase and I have been using it for the last couple of days, so let's go through the key details.

Aviate was one of the launchers to start the trend of contextual homescreens that change as the day goes. You have different 'screens' for different situations. The screens or "spaces" provided are: Today (gives you a daily view of what is coming up and things like weather), Moving (if you are out and about), Listening (allows you to control all of your various music sources), Work (with quick functions such as sending an email or adding a calendar appointment really quickly) as well as Nearby (allows you to explore various stores/shops that are near you).

All of the spaces have one key idea with the main homescreen containing a picture as well as a dock at the bottom for your apps. If you swipe from right to left you can see the individual categories that are specific to the spaces and if you swipe again from right to left you can switch (manually) between the various spaces. If you swipe from left to right you can access your Collections (these are app groups where you can put various apps in for quick access). If you swipe again then you can see all of your apps in the app drawer. From the main homescreen you can swipe from the bottom to the top to view the people that you have recently contacted as well as options to call or message your "favourite" contacts

Since this is the first major update that has come to Aviate since Yahoo has acquired it, you would naturally expect Yahoo integration and that is the case. On the "Today" homescreen, you can see the latest news articles that plug right into the "Yahoo News Digest" app. However, for some strange reason the weather integration is with Google Now and not the awesome Yahoo weather app.

So here are the 4 points that I liked and I didn't like:

What I liked:

1. Contextually aware (changes according to my situation)
2. Remembers my layout since I last installed Aviate
3. Clean UI as well as the option to change from a light colour scheme to a dark colour scheme
4. Support for icon packs (personally I have been using the Stark Icon Pack)

What I didn't like:

1. Some features don't work properly (e.g. the swipe from bottom to top for recent contacts)
2. Icon Pack glitch (for all the icon packs I tried, everytime I pressed the home button from the Google + app it would go back to the default icon pack)
3. No option to get to the app drawer quicker (some apps that I don't use that often I keep in the app drawer, but in this launcher you have to do two swipes. This may seem less but it does add up).
4. Too limited in terms of customization (Some users may not want to have the "Collections" category, but when I tried to get rid of all of the collections it just showed me a blank screen for example)

Overall Verdict

I think that all Android users should try Aviate. Some might like the simple style of this launcher, however other users like me prefer launchers with greater customizability options such as Nova Launcher or Action Launcher.

 You can try out Aviate on Android for free by clicking here.