When it comes to Android launchers, smartphone users are spoilt for choice. From Nova Launcher to the Apex Launcher, there are plenty of options to change the way users can navigate their way on a device. Launchers are essentially customizable user interfaces that let you organize, navigate and interact with your apps.
The Niagara Launcher is the latest one on the block and it is trending among users. Since its release earlier this month, it has racked up more than a million downloads. It is a modern, minimalist Android home screen optimized for one-handed access and staying focused. The app is created by 21-year-old German student Peter Huber who, surprisingly, started Niagara as a flashlight app.
Writing on Niagara’s website, Huber explains how he found inspiration in the floating flashlight button (like the notification bubbles from Android 11) from Nova Launcher. “I played around with the floating button and had the idea to utilize it for something else: launching apps,” Huber explains on the website. Niagara follows a list layout. Huber says this kind of layout is more accessible and more dynamic than the traditional home screen grid layout that we typically find on other Android launchers.
Once you install Niagara, just choose your top favourite apps and it’s all done. Your home screen appears as a list, with all other apps accessible from the right through an alphabetical list, which uses a wave animation. The launcher also features an ‘embedded notifications’ system using which you can read and respond to notifications right from the home screen.
Huber explains on the website that one of the four key design principles behind Niagara was to follow a clean interface and make the launcher ‘universal’, so that it works on every phone around the world. Customization options in the launcher include the ability to choose different fonts. You can also toggle between different app icon shapes and sizes. A key reason behind the simplistic design was to declutter the home screen and reduce distractions.
Interestingly, the launcher’s free version is also ad-free. You can try Niagara Pro for a week, and then purchase it for ₹100 per year. There’s also a much more affordable, one-time purchase option for ₹250. While the free version of the launcher is really good, upgrading to Niagara Pro will give you access to a calendar and weather widget and advanced customization options.
The Niagara Launcher is available for free, with in-app upgrades, on Google Play.