While feature-wise Niagara Launcher by Peter Huber is too limited (for now,) it does amaze with its sleek looks and outstanding, yet simple UX. It gets quite far from traditional Android launchers by ditching the homescreen+drawer combo altogether in place of a simple list of apps, but with a twist - you always have an alphabetical scrollbar on the right-hand side and access to a search bar with a tap on the home button if its enabled (because it is off by default.)
Support for widgets has been the number one request by many users since last year, and in the latest set of alpha releases, the developer has finally made this wish come true. Perhaps, why don't we go through the changelogs for all of these updates and then give you all of the nitty-gritty details about the current state of this feature?
• 🔣 Widget support - you can add one widget above your favorites (Niagara’s settings > Features > Add widget).
• It’s vertically resizable (hold on the widget > Resize). Horizontal resizing and centering will come in the second alpha.
• Fixed a bug in the most used algorithm and made it more precise
• Replaced a couple of icons (e.g., in Niagara’s settings)
• Large parts of Niagara’s source code have been rewritten to improve code stability in the long term and to make adding features easier.
• Fixed a crash that occurred after replacing a widget
• Widgets can be moved (almost) to the top part of the screen.
• Updated translations (You can submit your own at http://crwd.in/niagara-launcher)
• Enhanced app suggestions
• Changing the widget’s width and alignment is still not possible, but you’ll be able to choose between three different modes in the future (more at the end of https://github.com/8bitPit/Niagara-Issues/issues/117).
• Provides a fix for a bug introduced in alpha2
The implementation is not final, so expect in the next alpha builds to see more refinements and other options. Otherwise, settings for customizing the widget height as well as placement are there. One important thing to note is that there is a limitation to a single widget, and to add it you will have to go the Features section in the settings panel, select 'Add a widget,' and the rest is pretty straightforward. My advice for you will be, if you are planning to add, for example, Google's 'At a glance' widget or similar, to disable the included time and date options from the very same Features page to avoid double info.
The developer has rewritten a large portion of Niagara's source code from scratch, thus adding stability improvements and overall performance gains, plus he has listed that he is making ground for other feature additions down the line. Moreover, he has made enhancements to the algorithm for the application prediction system, where he also has caught a bug causing impreciseness and apparently has fixed it.
Niagara 0.8.0 is going to be a great release, especially with the added support for widgets. Expect more test builds in the coming days and stay tuned to TestingCatalog for more alpha and beta app-related news.
Niagara Launcher 7.2 comes with much better performance; widget support in the works but until then here's a workaround
Niagara Launcher features an utterly simple user interface, which it makes far more distinguishable than Android's standard home screen experience. It does not support widgets, nor allows placing app icons or shortcuts wherever users want. Meanwhile, there are plans for widget support, though no proper launch date has been set.
Its most recent v7.2 release arrives with better-tuned scrolling performance and the following release notes:
- Scrolling works faster / is more battery friendly
- Other performance improvements (fewer checks when returning to Niagara / faster loading app list)
- Tweaked Media player / App options layout-
- You get notified when notification dots in system settings are disabled
- Adjusted the app swipe menu design
- You can now send multiline quick replies (in-app swipe menu)
- Prevent some crashes introduced in the latest version
The widget situation
As widgets are very important for a lot of Android users, not having them in Niagara is a big turn off. This is why the developer is considering adding support for them in a future update. Furthermore, he has started a poll on Telegram asking the type of widgets most people prefer putting on their home screens.
Pointed out by a couple of people on Niagara's Github issue tracker, there are a number of ways to temporarily overcome this hurdle. There are some apps that you can install from Google Play and one of them is called "Overlays". It basically allows placing widgets atop of apps, with an option to select custom triggers. To set it up:
- Open Overlays.
- Tap the '+' FAB button.
- Select Widget and after that choose one.
- Set a position and a size for it.
- Hit SET TRIGGER - Foreground Application - Niagara.
- That is it!
Now, whenever you get to your home screen, the widget you chose earlier will be displayed. As a side effect, it will be shown everywhere in Niagara, even in the settings.
In parallel with the included fixes and improvements, there have been quite a few changes made to the app’s architecture, so you may experience unexpected crashes or misbehaviour. Version 7.2 will be available on the Google Play Store soon, but you can install it early by downloading the APK from the link below.
Niagara launcher is a fresh minimalistic launcher with a fast-growing user base. It features a simple home screen with 5 favourite apps and an a-z apps list with fancy scrolling animation.
This launcher has a Telegram channel where you can find the latest changelogs and APK updates.
Here is the recent changelog for the v0.6.2 Alpha build.
- Redesigned settings (Thanks for helping @Maxr1998)
- Enhanced first start screen
- Prevent some crashes (e.g. one occurred when changing the current wallpaper)
- Prepared strings for translation (I’ll try to finish setting up Crowdin this weekend, will tell you when I’m ready)
The first thing which you will notice is an enhanced first start screen. It has a welcome view after which you will be asked to select your 5 favourites apps. These apps will be always shown on your home screen and you will be able to change them later if needed. The good thing about this addition is that it has a nice design and animation. This is a very important part because it affects the first impression and set's level of expectations for the user.
The second important change is a revamped settings screen. The main difference is a look and feels because now it also has a new transition animation as well. The settings page has a launcher logo on top, features, look, hidden apps and misc options. The navigation flow through settings view feels seamless and smooth. It is also easy to find the necessary settings and features.
Both of this additions changed animations and now it feels more complete because you will experience the same design and transitions across the app.
One of the cool features that I didn't notice before is that this launcher will start highlighting most used apps on the home screen after some period of time. This is not a new feature but you will find it only if you will use Niagara launcher for a longer time.
Did you give it a try already?
Source: Niagara News
Niagara Launcher is, pretty much, a brand new launcher app which was released recently. We also did our first review/report for it, a little bit more than a week ago, so, you can check it out from here too.
- ✋ new app list design (no toolbar), optimized for one hand usage
- added more animations to the scroll bar
- Niagara’s wallpapers can be downloaded in settings
--- previous highlights ---
- media player now should work with almost every app.
- weather information on homescreen (can be enabled in settings, requires location access)
- Google search integration (can be enabled in settings)
To begin with, the before mentioned 0.3 build update brings two noteworthy changes. The first one is the removal of the toolbar in the all apps page. Now, it looks much cleaner and simpler, without all of the distracting and unnecessary buttons and shortcuts at the top. The updated scrollbar animations now look much sleeker too. My only complaint here is that the alphabetical scrollbar isn't static. By static, I mean, it hovers from the far right edge to the left one and fully overlays on top of the app icons and names. I would like it to stick to the right edge and not move as much. For a reference, please, watch the attached video. If you would like to see some wallpapers, specially made for Niagara, there is a shortcut added. Some minor fixes have been made regarding music player controls too.
This was just an update with cosmetic changes, but it is for sure worth installing.
Share with us your home screen set-ups and tell us how you use the app. B-bye for now!
Niagara Launcher is a new launcher app for Android, made by the developer Peter Huber. It aims to bring an extreme simplicity by ditching the traditional app drawer and the widgets. The idea here is very straight-forward - you get a list of your custom selected favorite apps and a clock widget with date support too. The home screen part also gives you access to your notifications. To see all of your installed apps, you have to use the alphabetical scroll bar on the right side, or you can tap on your home button to enter the app search mode. Btw, the latest update released on October 8 adds a handy shortcut for Google search, which you can enable from the Niagara Settings.
The bottom line
This looks like a great alternative to all of the traditional launchers, without the flashy colors, gimmicky features, and animations. It provides the bare minimum of functionality that is needed. It would be great to see a couple of gestures like double tap to sleep and such, but overall - it's great!
Changelog for v0.2 build 6
- Google search integration (can be enabled in settings)
- easier swipe down gesture (for opening notifications)
- option to send notifications details per mail (for bug reports)
- swipe down for notifications
- dark Mode & dark text support
If you notice a bug, you can report issues on GitHub.