Microsoft closed the deal with Nokia for $8 billion a month ago, but it looks like the subsidiary still wants to work on Android. A small part of the Nokia team has worked on Z Launcher, a new Android home-screen launcher.
The Z Launcher is definitely a step up from Nokia’s efforts on the Nokia X range, moving away from the Windows Phone/Android mesh in design, to a simplistic and modern look.
Z Launcher looks like it has been built with Google’s stock interests in mind, the design correlates with Android Jelly Bean/KitKat. The launcher has been optimised to work with the Galaxy S5, S4, S3 and Nexus 5.
Information displayed on the launcher will come from most used applications and Nokia says Z Launcher will tailor the experience to what the user enjoys most on their device, alongside contextual information for the right time.
This works similar to Google Now on Android, but instead of the user having to load up an app, it is available on the home screen. We are interested to see how well the contextual information works and if it can match Google Now.
Another neat feature available on Z Launcher is the ability to draw on the launcher. Writing a letter will show all of the downloaded apps starting in that letter, and writing a word can show the one app, instead of typing it.
We have seen this functionality on other apps and launchers, but it is nice Nokia has included it on the home-screen. Contacts and relevant information with that letter will also appear in search, similar to Spotlight.
Right now, only users who sign up through Nokia’s Google+ page will be able to get in on the beta, but it looks like the capacity has been capped out already. Fans can sign up to email newsletters on their website or keep up to date through Twitter.