Back in January, Yahoo acquired Aviate, an Android launcher still in beta testing. Now, more than six months later Aviate is ready for the masses, offering a unique and simple way to organize your Android device.
If you’ve played around with Android before, you already know that the ability to install third-party launchers is one of the operating system’s biggest advantages over the competition. There are launchers such as Nova and Apex, which let you clear away the bloatware and customize everything. There are even launchers designed to imitate iOS or Windows Phone. Aviate takes a different tactic, promising to simplify your homescreen and push information and apps to you right when you need them.
Yahoo’s new launcher starts with a classic homescreen and a row of frequently used apps at the bottom. Swipe up from the bottom, however, and you’ll find a favorite contacts menu for quickly reaching out to friends, family and co-workers. Another Aviate trick for simplifying your phone is to group all your apps into small sections named “Work,” “Social,” “Going Somewhere,” “Entertainment” and “Music,” which you can browse from a single screen. If you need to see your entire list of apps, just swipe to the right from there.
Aviate also promises to push out notifications based on context, similar to Google Now. In the morning, you’ll get an automatic weather report for the day, and while you’re in transit it will tell you how long the commute should take based on traffic and other data. Yahoo’s Android launcher can even track your sleep habits.
If you download Aviate you’ll put your phone in Yahoo’s control. You can still customize a lot of what you see, but at the end of the day Yahoo is calling the shots. If you’re okay with that go ahead and download the launcher, but if you’d rather have full control over your phone there are plenty of other options out there.