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!
Aviate greets you with a new homescreen or “space” depending on the time of day and where you are. Each space is filled with quick access to relevant settings, apps and widgets of your choosing by tapping the top menu bar.
In the morning, Aviate greets you with a morning “space” as your homescreen. Here, you can quickly access alarm and ringer options, weather forecasts, your agenda for the day and a collection of apps that you use the most in the morning.
When you leave home, Aviate automatically switches to the “Going Somewhere” space that gives you immediate access to a collection of travel apps, traffic information and directions to your home or office. If your destination is your office, a “Work” space will appear with a collection of work relatd apps and quick actions for sending emails and updating your calendar.
If you work from home you’ll have to make this switch manually.
The switch between spaces is seamless and quick, keeping an ever rotating array of tools on your screen for whenever you might need them most.
A quick swipe to the right will reveal all of the available spaces in Aviate, but you can’t create your own space.
What if you’re going out to eat or for drinks? Aviate’s nearby feature creates a space specific to where you are if it’s listed on Foursquare.
Venue photos taken by Foursquare users are prominently displayed along with quick access to obligatory outing actions: take a picture, share an update and check-in.
Just below all of that you’ll find Foursquare tips, Yelp ratings, business social media handles and the option to tweet the venue. You’ll also see a collection of restaurant-related apps.
This comprehensive overview of a place and interactions makes the Nearby space one of my favorites!
App Drawer & Collections
Swiping twice 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.
Swiping to the left of a space once 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.
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 good at adapts to context clues in a way that’s almost as seamless as Google Now. It puts the apps and information you need front and center and 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 mostly static, requiring widgets to access real-time information.
I have a good feeling that Aviate could do much more and I look forward to seeing how this nifty Android launcher evolves.