Android launchers are a passion of mine. I’ve bought about 6 different launchers on the Play Store, and although I have my overall favourite launcher, all of these aftermarket launchers bring something different and have a positive. When it comes to launchers from manufacturers, including Google, there is a distinct lack of innovation in their launchers that are more often than not bereft of options. HTC is one manufacturer that has tried to buck this trend, and has tried to do something useful with their launcher.
In the past few days, a beta version of the HTC Sense 8 Launcher has been unofficially released over on XDA. The app can be installed on any Android device running KitKat and above. To install it all you need to do is download and install it like any other apk file – note, it should only be installed on NON-HTC devices. I have tested it out on a Pixel XL and an LG V20 and it works as designed on both.
The HTC Sense 8 Launcher is nothing all that remarkable, but Blinkfeed (think of the precursor to Google Now on Google’s Launcher) works just as it does on the HTC 10. Once again, the launcher is lacking any options that can be adjusted within the app, but it does have Blinkfeed and brings a nice addition as well. Once installed it also installs the HTC theme engine onto your device.. and within the theme engine you can download and use many free and paid themes, wallpapers, icon packs and sounds. Each can be downloaded and then customised how you want them, or you can make your own. The catch is you will need a HTC Account to design, download or apply themes.
HTC Sense 8 Launcher can be installed on any device running KitKat and above. The catch is that it is from an unofficial source and while XDA is normally a reputable place to download apk files from, nothing can be guaranteed regarding its safety.
I have run the app through McAfee Mobile Security and it came up clean but in the end if you are at all skittish about apps not from the Play Store then maybe steer clear of this until HTC decide to release it to the world. If you do want to give it a shot head on over to XDA and download the app and check it out.