I just installed Lawnchair app version 2 alpha. This is an app for customizing the android launcher. In version 1 app is having features like hiding app, changing app labels, app shortcuts and a very good Preference settings screen in which we can set preferences for UI and functions. However, a new beta version of the app comes with a lot of improvements in both UX as well as functionality.
What is new in version 2 alpha
- Preference for displaying Google search bar on Dock and App Drawer.
- Managing grid size on the desktop.
- Hide app preference on app shortcuts.
- Preference for showing app suggestion in the top row of App Drawer.
- Displaying Google app on left on the main home screen.
- More control on touch gestures.
Main changes we can notice in UX of Lawnchair version 2 are in the way activity shortcuts (settings, widget, wallpapers) displaying on long press of desktop, which is a great user experience and less space consuming. And another noticeable change is in the position of Google search bar at the glance of the desktop to Dock.
More control on settings
Most of the features in settings of alpha version 2 are providing more control to the user for setting his own preferences to the launcher. And developers managed to bring more than one action to single unit. For example, in desktop settings, there is an option to set a number of rows and columns which are two different actions in the version 1. But in version 2 they managed to bring it under single action called grid size in which user can set both values.
Additional controls in the app drawer
While coming to app drawer there is a search bar for searching apps in version 1. But in version 2, the app is providing preference to either show the search bar or Google search. And there is another preference to show or hide app suggestions which will automatically show some apps on the top row based on the user interests
Additional controls in dock
Dock settings are also providing additional control to users with more preferences like to display Google search which was not available in version 1. And here developers also managed to bring multiple features for customizing dock into a single item called Dock style in which we can set the style of the dock.
Features added in version 2 alpha
Following are some of the new additional features I found in version 2 beta which is not in version 1:
Gesture controller in settings
One of the new functionality which I found in version 2 is gesture control, as in the user can select an action from a set of actions like open app drawer, open notification panel etc.. which should be executed on some gesture actions like double tap, swipe etc.
Preference item in app shortcuts
There is one more item added in app shortcuts of all application named as Preference, which will open a bottom dialog with a switch button to set the show/hide preference of the application. What I feel about this functionality is in later updates developers are planning to bring more app related preferences into this shortcut.
Google app on left swipe of the home screen
If we swipe left from the home screen it will take us to Google app which will be having google search bar on top as well as news as list cards and some other user personalized information.
Even though the app is performing well in most of the new features. But I found a small issue while changing the icon scale and enabling the full-width widget in Desktop settings.
When we long press on desktop an activity shortcut will appear in which we can select Home settings. The popup for shortcut has to be dismissed after selecting one. In all cases, it is dismissing other than if we do any change in icon scale in Desktop settings. So when you come back from settings screen the popup remains and when we long press on the screen again another app shortcut popup will appear and it can go on in the same loop.
This is also related to the same action. After changing the icons scale it is taking too much time to load the home screen again. This may be due to the rendering of icons. So what I think is if we have a large number of applications, this waiting time can increase exponentially. Sometimes it ended up in force closing the application.