Action Launcher Pro is a replacement launcher for Android that can vastly improve your speed at selecting and launching applications through an ever-present quick launch button and customizable “covers,” which are action-oriented folders.

The app selection button is in the top left of any screen you’re on and brings you to an alphabetical list of all applications you have installed. You can tap around any letter and be taken to apps that start with that letter, and perhaps some that come after, depending on your screen size.

Selecting a random application such as Titanium Backup with this launcher is as simple as tapping the Apps button, pressing somewhere around the T, and then locating Titanium Backup. On most of the other launchers that I commonly use, the process would involve me scrolling however many pages over to the T section and then selecting it – not a horrible task, but one that can be done in about a second with Action Launcher Pro.

The next neat thing about Action Launcher is covers. Covers can be thought of in simplest terms as a folder that contains multiple items, but if it’s tapped once it launches a specific item. Twice it opens the folder.

An example of using covers could be if you use a variety of internet browsers, but generally use Chrome. You could create an Internet cover that launches Chrome by default but can also bring up a choice of other Internet browsing applications.

Another example would be if you usually use Gmail, but would like to occasionally access your work’s email. You can make a Gmail cover, and calli it mail.

Screen with a working widget (Google,) a non-working floating preview of a widget (temperature,) and a cover

One of the advantages of covers is that it uses the icon of the default action. If you dragged Chrome to the home screen, and then you drag something else onto Chrome, Chrome functions now like a folder, with the Chrome icon being a selectable option when you tap it. Opening it up, you can now select to turn this folder into a cover or back to a folder. Once it’s a cover, Chrome’s the default launch action.

Playing with an evaluation copy the author sent me, I’ve run across some issues with widgets not placing correctly, and occasionally artifacts of widgets showing up immediately after failing to place and sticking in the same place on the screen until you restart the launcher. So, in other words, this is not a bug-free experience quite yet – either that, or the ROM I’m using has some issues with it, but I’m not sure on that one.

Action Launcher Pro is almost amazing. The time it saves you in selecting apps and its general snappiness are worthy of note. However, the small widget bugs, ICS or greater requirement, and the price tag prevent me from gushing over it … yet.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if this worked completely, it would beat 95% of all launchers hands-down for usability. I’m using 0.9.6, as provided by the developer, and 1.0.0 is the current; however, no bugs are listed as stomped, so I’m sort of thinking it’s the same thing.

Error message after being told to drag widget where you want it

I do wish that the developer had a trial version of the launcher and some better documentation up. Figuring out the covers and how they are created took a while, and there are no real instructions on how to use the thing or what is different from most other launchers on the Play Store page, nor the developer website link, which just takes you to his Twitter page.

Considering the time limitations you have in which to return an application if it’s malfunctioning or just doesn’t work with your ROM, I’d say a few instructions are a must for this.

However, this thing is really pretty cool. If you’re looking for a launcher and TSF is too much for you or your phone, and your average AOSP offerings are too little, this thing rocks as the just-right selection.

Action Launcher is available from Google Play for $3.99. It requires Android Ice Cream Sandwich or greater, and it’s a very nice start to what will probably be a very popular launcher.


Download: Google Play