Chris Lacy, Brisbane-based author of Tweet Lanes, has begun releasing information about his new Android application, Action Launcher.

A replacement launcher for your device, Action Launcher keeps things simple and fast.

While the UI generally doesn’t diverge far from the aesthetic put forth by Android 4.0+, the most distinctive UI feature is the action bar across the top of the screen, replacing Google’s ever-present search bar/button. It holds a rather more useful set of shortcuts: the App List, Search, the Play Store, and a menu button. Larger screen devices also see more options.

One of Action Launcher’s major features is the easily-accessible alphabetised list of apps that lives to the left of your main launcher screen. It feels a little like Windows Phone 7’s app list and behaves like Facebook’s menu, sliding out quickly when it’s needed and hiding away when it’s not.

Home screens extend away to the right, a familiar arrangement for users of iOS devices or Motorola’s new Razr HD. It works well when paired up with the App List on the left.

A long-press on the homescreen brings up the Customize dialog, offering you easy access to Apps, Widgets and Wallpapers. We’ll forgive him the spelling of Customize for now.

The Nexus 7 is also welcome to come along for the ride, benefiting as you might expect from the extra screen space:

Chris kindly took some time out of his night for a quick Q&A:

What were your goals in replacing the launcher?
I have a few goals with Action Launcher:

  • Create a product that your iPhone-loving Uncle can pick up, intuitively know how to operate, and enjoy using.
  • Make an app that looks and feels like an natural launching pad for the increasingly stylish apps on Android.
  • Write the launcher I personally want to use.

Were there any particular features that inspired you in other launchers or on other platforms?
I constantly reference the simplicity and ease-of-use of Apple’s products when designing my apps, and strive to achieve similar goals. As far as other launchers are concerned, It’s fair to say I’ll draw inspiration from their many and varied customization options.

What version of Android will Action Launcher support?
Action Launcher will support Android 4.0.3 and above initially. Porting the app in it’s current form to Gingerbread would likely be a challenge.

Would you care to hint at any features you’re planning for the future?
I’m not providing specifics at this point, but I do have one big feature planned that I think will be unique and popular alike. Either that, or it will fall flat on its face. It will be fun to see which way it goes 🙂

Is there any ETA for a public beta?
I’m hoping to release the app within a week.

Action Launcher has been getting some attention for a couple of days now – Android Central’s Phil Nickinson teased a screenshot on his Google+ page (causing rampant Android 4.2 speculation), and today posted a first look. You can also find discussion on Reddit, or see Chris showing off his unique homescreen on Gizmodo today.

It’s still early days for Action Launcher, but it’s generating a lot of good early buzz. In my time with the application I’ve found it accomplishes out what Chris was aiming to achieve – it’s simple, easy to use and responsive. More importantly, it’s still installed – a rare thing for launchers on my devices.

We love to see new applications from talented Australian developers, and will be following it closely.

Are you excited to take a look at Action Launcher? Let us know in the comments!

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    Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!
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    Hey Chris, when do you plan to release Action Launcher? I’m eager to try it out.

    Glyn Stuckey

    Wondering how this project is coming along, really keen to try it out

    brash Daniels

    Looks great. Well you be developing for tablets as well?

    Myk Dowling

    It’s an interesting idea. I really like Nova Launcher’s overlapping widgets, though.


    Looks good. Always looking to support Australian developers. Can’t wait to try. Do I need to root to use this ? Is Chris offering this as a paid app ? I would be happy to purchase in any case, provided it works for me.

    Nathan Reed

    Looks good. Definitely going to test it out. Big fan of Apex but this could see me change.


    oooo. It actually looks really slick. I would love to give this a go. RIGHT AFTER I flash my device. I think you should be pretty proud of what you created man.e

    Harry Smiles

    Looks good to me. Much better use of screen real estate than search bar.

    Chris Spencer

    Looks interesting… Will give it a crack for sure.