Aviate is a beautiful new android launcher that aims to give you the information and apps you need right when you need them. I have 300 Aviate Beta invite codes for SheGeeks readers! Download Aviate using the widget below and use the code “SHEGEEKS” to register (without the quotes).
Without further ado, here’s a look at Aviate Beta, the new android launcher on the block that’s making quite the noise!
In the morning, Aviate greets you with a morning “space” (see below). Tapping the top bar opens a drop-down menu with a variety of settings, an app collection and widgets specific to the space you’re in. In this space, you can set alarms, turn silent mode on or off, and see the days weather forecast along with your agenda.
When you’re on the go, Aviate switches to the “Going Somewhere” space. Access to a travel collection of apps, traffic information and directions to your home or office become just a tap away.
If your destination is work, a work space will appear when you arrive. It gives you quick actions for sending emails and adding things to your calendar along with a collection of work-related apps.
You can set your office and home locations from the Going Somewhere space to ensure Aviate switches to work when it’s supposed to, but if you work from home you’ll have to switch to this space manually.
You can see all available spaces in Aviate by swiping to the right of the home screen. Each space features quick actions, a collections of apps specific to the time of day or where you are, an area that shows up to four widgets and a dock. Unfortunately you can’t create your own space just yet.
If you’re not going to work, there’s a nearby feature in the spaces menu that lets you create a space based on where you are if it’s listed on Foursquare. Venue photos taken by Foursquare users are prominently displayed at the top along with quick access to three popular actions when out and about: take a picture, share an update and check-in.
There’s a section for Foursquare tips, Yelp ratings, business social media handles and the option to tweet the venue. Using the tweet action caused Aviate to crash, which could be a problem with using the beta Twitter app versus the official Twitter app. Of course, you’ll also see a collection of restaurant-related apps in these spaces.
Swiping to the left of a space brings up collections, which group similar apps together like folders. Some collections are integrated into spaces. For example, the work collection appears in the drop-down menu for the work space.
There are over a dozen pre-made collections to choose from – except a photography collection. You can customize which apps appear in collections, but you can’t create your own. You can also drag-and-drop apps from collections to a space, which removes the app from the collection as well.
Each collection has a recommendation button to help you discover related apps, but I found myself wishing I could use this button to add apps I already installed without going into the app drawer. Aviate does a decent job of grouping similar apps from the start, making it easier to quickly get started.
Swiping once more to the left brings up all your apps. You can drag-and-drop app icons from this screen into collections and spaces. Oddly, Aviate doesn’t let you scroll up or down when dragging-and-dropping apps. You’ll have to make sure the place you want your app to go in is already showing on the previous screen.
My biggest gripe with Aviate is with the way it handles new apps. It doesn’t always add new apps to an existing collection, forcing you to go and hunt them down in the app drawer to manually add them to a collection or space. Options and settings are sparse for most of Aviate’s built-in widgets – some of which can’t be removed – and launcher settings are nonexistent. I also wish Aviate would allow different sets of widgets for each space.
None of these things are deal breakers for using Aviate and can easily be fixed in future updates.
Aviate is a good start for a launcher that adapts to context clues in a way that’s almost as seamless as Google Now. It puts the information you need right at your fingertips and I think the spaces concept is more valuable than having a bunch of home screens. On the downside, the user has to do most of the heavy-lifting in setup and maintenance and the information Aviate surfaces is mainly static unless there’s a widget involved.
I get a good feeling that Aviate could do much more and I look forward to seeing how this nifty Android launcher evolves in the coming year.
How’s your experience with Aviate?