Embark Launcher for Palm OS

by PocketGoddess on March 11, 2003

Embark is unique for one main reason: it gives me everything I need in a launcher for my Palm OS device without being overly complicated, difficult to use, or filled with functions that I’ll need only once every three years. In a nutshell, Embark is a tabbed launcher with a few useful tools at the bottom of the page. But the best part is how easy Embark is to setup and use. The first time you launch the program, which requires 86K of space on your handheld, it will automatically set up tabs based on how you had things categorized in the default Palm OS launcher. Changing the name of a tab or any of its preferences is as simple as tapping on the menu icon in the Graffiti area and choosing either “edit tabs” or “tab preferences.” One of my favorite things about Embark is that I can choose to view applications by icon on one tab and by list on another, and that I can set the number of columns and the icon size. Don’t choose “small icon” unless you have really good eyesight though! The list is great for my Games tab, since I have so many, while icon view is good for my utilities and main tabs. I can also set a different background color for each tab, and enable wallpaper if I want to completely personalize my launcher. There’s a free wallpaper creation kit available at the developer’s website.

At the bottom of the screen you’ll notice a few little tools. I’ve chosen the battery voltage icon, the free memory space, and the time. You can choose other options simply by clicking on one of the three spots for a pop up list of your alternatives. At the far right-hand side of the screen you can go to the clock, the calculator, or control the brightness of your backlight. This is especially handy for Tungsten T users, as this provides a couple of functions you would ordinarily have to open your Graffiti slider for. Applications located on expansion cards are noted with a special small card icon in addition to the application icon, and they can be placed in any tab. This is of course a great improvement over the built in launcher, which can only display applications on the card in a special “Card” category. One last thing worthy of mention is the shortcut menu that pops up when you tap and hold on a particular application. You can beam it to another device, copy it to an expansion card, delete it, move it to the expansion card, or move it to a different launcher tab. And if you hold your stylus down on a tab long enough to pop up the menu, you can select “Sys” and have access to an even larger range of functions: the Preferences, HotSync, and Security utilities. You can also set the date and time of the device and even perform a soft reset without taking apart your stylus.

In other words, Embark is everything you really need, without a lot of bells and whistles and unnecessary overhead. There are quite a few other launchers available that are more fully-featured, but I really like the basic capability and speed of Embark. You can get a free trial of Embark at the Bits ‘n Bolts web site, and you can also purchase it for $12.00. It’s well worth the money.

PocketGoddess rating for Embark: 5 out of 5

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