It's time again to dive into the Google Play Store and see what apps we can find. Every week we find the best new and newly updated apps for the Roundup, and this week is no exception. Just click on the app name to head to the Play Store.
You don't have to look long to find numerous home screen replacements in the Play Store. Third-party launchers have been one of the most prominent customization options on Android since its inception, and now there some very diverse options. Most home screens are based on the AOSP Android launcher on some level, and they feel like it. HomeUX (previously a closed beta) has a different vibe, though. This home screen has a clean and efficient UI that focuses on organization and search.
The basic layout of HomeUX is very different than what you're probably used to. At the top of the screen is a section called the action panel. This is where you'll find a clock, but also the settings (swipe left) and custom groups (swipe right). You also have the option of adding shortcuts to this area that will be available at all times, sort of like the favorites tray on other launchers.
The bottom three-quarters of the screen is where all the action happens. By default, you have a list of all your apps here in scrollable pages. There's an action button-style search button straddling the border between the two areas, and it does what you'd expect. Tap it, and you can search your phone for apps. Again, this is only the default behavior, though. You can change the long-press action and icon of this button to do all sorts of things. For example, have it launch the Google apps.
Things get interesting when you start adding custom folders to HomeUX. Let's say I want all my work apps together. I make a folder, give it an icon, and select some apps. You switch between folders by swiping up and down in the app list. So a swipe down, and I'm in the work folder. It's essentially a way to filter your app list. You can also add widgets to these folders, which is a cool way to keep that information easily accessible without cluttering up the UI.
The free version of HomeUX has some solid customization options including custom grid size, hiding apps, icon packs, and configurable wallpapers/themes. A pro upgrade for $1.49 adds things like icon scaling, notification badges, and clock UI adjustment.
This is still a beta app, and as such, there are a few rough edges to be worked out. I've seen some graphical glitches and the way certain features are accessed could be clearer. Still, you should give this launcher a shot because it's a refreshing change of pace.