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January 31, 2019

How to decrease Android launcher RAM usage and improve performance

After some time using a launcher you could see its RAM usage to increase. People often ask us why this is happening and the answer is often related to the widgets added to the launcher and how they work.
An Android widget is a small piece of UI created by an app installed on your device that you can add to an Android launcher. What is not obvious is that even a simple widget can use an unexpected amount of RAM and that amount is considered, by the system monitor, as memory used by the launcher.

Take this example. Let’s consider an analog clock widget that you can easily find on Play Store. Most developers create the final picture using 3 different bitmaps with the same size. One for the clock face, one for the hour hand, one for the minute hand. The 3 bitmaps are usually created bigger than needed, this because the widget provider doesn’t know exactly the dimension of the widget, so it proposes something “big enough”. 

Let’s do some math. I have a 2×2 clock widget in an area of 400×400 pixels on a QHD device. The widget allocates 3 bitmaps with size 612×612. This means that tiny widget will use at least:
612x612x4x3=4494528 bytes = ~4.50MB
This is a real and very common case and is true for any analog clock widgets, or for widgets that include custom fonts. 

Of course, for a modern device 4.5MB is not a very important amount of memory, but it depends on how many widgets you use. If you consider that a single widget can use up to 22MB on a QHD device, you can understand that few memory intensive widgets can sensibly influence the amount of memory used by your launcher.

To help the users with this problem in Smart Launcher, we decide to include 2 built-in clock widgets that by being fully integrated into the launcher can be much more efficient than other widgets.

Also, widgets can negatively impact your launcher performance. In order to have optimal performances, Android engineers suggest keeping the number of views on screen as low as possible. A view is something like a text, an image or a piece of layout that has a specific behavior. A typical, complex Android app counts less 60 views per screen.

Guess what? the most popular calendar widget on Android is composed of over 2200 views! This means any part of code that performs a search in the view hierarchy will analyze 2200 more items than expected and will require much more time to perform the same task. If your launcher lags when you add many widgets, this could be the reason. 

However, this issue can be mitigated with an alternative Android launcher. In our Smart Launcher, we introduced some optimizations that allow the performance to not be affected by this kind of bad behavior. 

Should you stop using widgets? Probably not, but our suggestion is to not add to your home screen widgets you don’t really need and to try removing some widgets if you are not happy with your device performance.

 

June 20, 2018

How to get Android Oreo features on device that won’t receive the update

Android Oreo is available since last February but many devices didn’t receive the update yet or never will (Huawei P9, Galaxy S5 and S5 Note, Sony Z5 series, ZenFone 2, HTC 9, Nexus 5 & 6). Don’t worry, thanks to Smart Launcher 5 you can get several of the major Android Oreo features on your device even without the system update! 

Notification Dots

Icons in the home screen notify new events with a colored dot.

1 – install Smart Launcher 5 from Google Play Store
2 – Run it and set it as default launcher for your device
3 – Long press on the home screen, then select “home page” → “Notifications” and enable the first option
4 – Enjoy Adaptive icons and Notification dots on your smartphone!

May 7, 2018

Smart Launcher is on Instagram!!

The Instagram page is a new place to share with you the awesome setups you made with Smart Launcher, to get notified about new available themes and customizations, and to get updated about design and development news. 

Follow us on www.instagram.com/smartlauncher 

You can send us your home screen on Instagram to get featured!

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April 5, 2018

How to get Adaptive Icons on any Android device

Adaptive icons are icons that can adapt their appearance to any shape.  This new format has been introduced only recently with Android 8.0 Oreo. 

A variety of masks applied to an adaptive icon

Adaptive icons animation

In order to see Adaptive Icons on your device, you must fulfill 3 requirements. 
 – Your device must run Android 8.0 or higher
 – Your launcher must support Adaptive icons
 – The app developer must have included an adaptive icon in its app.

The new Smart Launcher 5 supports the new format but it also does something more. It opens Adaptive Icons to any Android device running Android 4.0 or higher. Some other launchers claim to do something similar requiring the download of a special icon pack. 
Smart Launcher 5 instead empowers your device with truly native support for Adaptive Icons (and for free). This means you will be able to see an app Adaptive Icons as it was intended by its developer.

You can download Smart Launcher 5 using this link

April 1, 2018

How to make Smart Launcher 5 looks like Smart Launcher 3

Smart Launcher 5 is available only by few days. Specialized blogs praised the work done by the team during this years and the new astonish UI. However, some old date Smart Launcher 3 users could prefer the old look.  That is not a problem because since build 041, the team included an easy way to get back the classic Smart Launcher 3 layout.

To restore Smart Launcher 3 category position, search bar position and home page app layout, just follow this instructions:

  • Check you’re using Smart Launcher 5 version 041 or higher.
  • Open Preferences → Themes
  • Select SL3
  • Wait until the end of the procedure

Let us know if this article helped you.

June 21, 2017

Android O styled notification badges in Smart Launcher 3

Smart Launcher 3.25.35 has been released just few days ago. It ships two hidden features that can be easily enabled following few steps.

– Open Smart Launcher Preferences;
– Scroll to the bottom, then perform a long press on Version Info. A new menu Developer Options will appear;
 – Enter in Developer Options, then enable Adaptive notification color to make your notifications look like picture 2 or No text notification to get something similar to picture 3. Of course you can enable both the result in picture 4, a perfect Android O styled badge! 
 

October 13, 2016

Smart Launcher 3.22 changelog

The Smart Launcher Team is proud to announce Smart Launcher 3.22. A lot of job has been done during the last weeks, the team focused its attention on solving some recurring issues and finalizing some features that were in work since months ago.

Read More

September 7, 2016

Smart Launcher 3.21 released

CHANGELOG

NEW: you can set the wallpaper for the lockscreen (only Android 7.0 Nougat)
IMPROVEMENT: Now you can use the STOP button also on Nougat
IMPROVEMENT: Chrome is not forced anymore to open search results
IMPROVEMENT: new animation for popup widget
IMPROVEMENT: reduced APK size
BUGFIX: fixed a bug that caused SL to crash while the lock screen is active
BUGFIX: fixed a bug that caused SL to crash while trying to uninstall hidden system apps
BUGFIX: fixed a bug that prevented to use picture picked from gallery for the categories icon
EXPERIMENTAL: you can now select the max number of results for the searchbar (available in the Developer options)

August 5, 2016

Smart Launcher 3.20 released!

Smart Launcher 3.20 is going to be available for everyone in the next few hours.
Now you can select position and alignment for the clock, choose between more search engines and pick one of the proposed HQ picture to use as wallpaper. Continue reading to see the complete changelog.

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June 23, 2016

About lock screens and fingerprint feature

Fingerprint unlock is actually a quite amazing feature and it would be cool to be able to use them in our Smart Launcher lock screens. Unfortunately, this won’t be possible and the reason is quite easy to understand.
In order to enable you to use fingerprint in apps, Android forces you to enable a pattern or pin secured lock screen. Since the Smart Launcher lock screens, like any other lock screen on the Play Store, work on a unofficial implementation, there is no way for them to overlap the stock lockscreen. So, we’re sorry, it’s not a bug but a limitation that can be removed only by a Google in future releases of Android.

We will keep you updated.