Xiaomi's custom launcher application debuted last year with the release of the POCOPHONE F1, which I actually do own. POCO Launcher has gotten a new beta update available on the Play Store for us to test. Version 2.6.6.3 comes with the following four notable changes below, so take a look at them and then continue with our insight section.

What's new

  1. App suggestions got more accurate.
  2. Animations got a major upgrade.
  3. You can change the password for hidden app icons now.
  4. We fixed some bugs as well.

Faster, smoother...

Upon installing this new update I have noticed that animations do feel noticeably faster and scrolling is a tad smoother when compared to the previous version 2.6.5.8 stable build. The release notes also mention improvements to app suggestions, though I cannot give you any intel on that topic right now.

App lock password reset

Aside from speed enhancements, you can now reset your app lock pattern if you wish to do so. But first, you have to enter the app drawer, double swipe from left-to-right and fill in your credentials like fingerprint or pattern if required. Then, at the top left you will notice a lock icon with a pen crossing it and tapping on it will take you straight away to the password reset page.

Do note that the Play Store beta is currently full. If you want to try out this beta release, then your best bet is APK Mirror where you can grab the latest APK file and manually install it on your Android device.

POCO Launcher on Google Play

Source: APK Mirror


POCO Launcher was released alongside Xiaomi's POCOPHONE F1 that I actually recently bought and later on it was made available for other devices as well. It packs a decent amount of customizability options, but its most outstanding feature is the automatic grouping of apps in the app drawer. Meanwhile, its latest version 2.6.3.3 is up on the Google Play Store for beta testing and comes with some changes as an early present for New Year.


POCO is a new sub-brand of Xiaomi and their first flagship phone is quite impressive. Yeah, the Pocophone F1 is the one we are talking about. It amazes with the high-end specs it packs inside and the unbelievably low price. If you want to get a glimpse of the software running on this thing, you can go and grab the POCO Launcher. Although it is available on the Play Store in the form of a beta, the program is currently full. But don't worry, we still got you covered. You can sideload the APK from APK Mirror and try it out for yourself. In this article, we are going to do our firsthand review and a feature overview of the latest version by this date which is 2.6.0.3. Seems like the app is in active development and we shall see more features coming in the near future.

Features

So, featurewise POCO Launcher is sort of basic but has still some extra options. Like every other launcher, it has a home screen and an app drawer separation. The home screen consists of pages and a dock. There are no app icon or grid size modifications, but fortunately, it supports icon packs. Other than that, there are some nice homepage transition animations and a 'Lock Home screen layout' toggle, which makes the home screen non-editable.

The app drawer, on the other hand, can group your apps by their category or depending on the apps icon colors, and of course - alphabetically. On my phone, the scrolling of the app drawer is indeed very choppy. Please, tell us how it performs on your devices so we can make a comparison.

A bonus feature is the hidden apps space in the drawer, which you can access by swiping right twice. It is also protected with a pattern and can be switched on from the pop-up menu when you hold on an empty space in the home screen.

To wrap things up, POCO Launcher is simple but not as featureless as the Pixel Launcher or so. It is still in beta and this shows us that it is still in a very early development stage. It is a result of Xiaomi's attempt to push the POCO name with its software experience as an online-only selling and reputable, I guess, brand, so it doesn't hurt their Xiaomi branded phones market.

Here is a deeper insight explained in a video named "Why do Chinese phone companies launch new brands?".

Source - POCO Launcher by Xiaomi Inc. on Google Play