Launcher X

by PocketGoddess on March 4, 2004

Launcher X requires 460K of free space on your handheld device, but it kindly offers to remove the graphic resources that aren’t needed on that particular device. Five tabs, or categories ar created by default: Apps, Utils, Games, Office, Web. All of the applications on the device start out in the Apps tab, though it’s a very simple matter to recategorize them- simply tap and hold on the application icon and a list of tabs pops right up. If you want to have different tab names, you can either tap and hold the tab to rename one of the existing tabs, or you can use the menu feature to edit the category list. If you choose to rename, you’ll also be presented with several other options, including how many columns of icons you want on the tab, whether you would like icon, list, or small icon view, and the icon you would like to see instead of the tab name. Advanced options include the ability to set the color and font of the application names, as well as the background color for the icon.

Of course all of those features are about how the applications look in Launcher X, but there’s really a lot more to the program. Handy little buttons at the top show the free memory and battery status, and are quickly switchable between percentage and actual readings. The icons at the bottom of the screen include a variety of functions, or “gadgets” including delete, application info, beam, rename, card tools, preferences, power, and brightness– and they can be hidden with a single tap, providing a nicely uncluttered interface. You can also choose how you want applications to be displayed, on a per-tab basis. I have my “All” tab set to show five columns in small icon view, and as you can see I can get a lot on one screen. I use just three columns in my other categories, since I’m not trying to cram everything onto one screen.


There’s a lot of power under the hood though– one look at the preferences shows that there quite a few options. The orientation of the tabs is controlled by the Active Skin you choose. Basique doesn’t have any tabs at all, while the Classique skin can have the tabs on the top, left, or right. (Additional skins are available for purchase on PalmGear.) You can also choose whether you want the list of applications to be updated every single time Launcher X is opened, or whether you want to do it manually, when it’s necessary due to the installation of new applications. You can also specify your hack manager, DOC reader, the number of colors your screen supports, and the font for application titles. Tap Memory Card at the bottom right corner of the screen and you can add document search paths, which is very handy if you have a lot of ebooks on an expansion card and would like them to show up in Launcher X. The second tab in the Preferences screen allows you to choose which gadgets you want to show up at the bottom of the screen. These gadgets provide one tap access to commonly-used tools.

I like Launcher X for several reasons, though I haven’t yet decided if I want it to replace other options like either ZLauncher or the standard Tapwave launcher on my Zodiac. I like the clean and simple interface, though I have found myself longing for some of the more advanced features and raw power that ZLauncher provides. I think that Launcher X is a good choice for users who want a tabbed interface and other nice features beyond what the standard launcher provides on their handheld device, but who don’t need every “bell and whistle” imaginable crammed into one program. Fortunately there’s a free trial available, so you can test the application before you buy it; a full license is $24.95. For more information or to download a free trial, visit the Launcher X web site.

PocketGoddess Rating for Launcher X: 4 out of 5

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