In early 2014, Marissa Mayer declared that she would usher a “mobile first” mindset into Yahoo.
That influence has made itself present through Yahoo’s recent acquisitions and the apps it’s released over the past few months — including Aviate.
Yahoo’s Aviate launcher for Android, which the company acquired in January for an undisclosed price, just officially exited the beta phase days ago. This means it’s in the Google Play Store and ready for full-time use.
A launcher is an app for Android phones that replaces your phone’s lock screen — or the hub from which you launch apps.
Aviate is a slick Android launcher that seeks to not only add additional features to your home screen, but also provide contextually aware information.
Aviate claims that it will cater certain information depending on the time of day and where you are. After spending some time with Yahoo’s new launcher, here are some first impressions I came away with.
What It Does
Like most Android launches, Aviate is focused on presenting your favourite apps and content in a more accessible and cleaner package.
When you set up Aviate, you’ll be asked to select the apps you use the most as well as your favourite app categories.
This tells Aviate which apps to include at the bottom of your new home screen and how to organise your other apps.
The home screen itself looks clean, tight, and organised. By default, Android offers up a ton of different home screens for storing your favourite widgets and apps.
Aviate eliminates the need for excessive home screens, and presents similar information in a menu-based format that I find to be more neat and efficient.
The look and feel of Aviate maintains the flat yet colourful design language we’ve seen in other apps from Yahoo, such as Yahoo Weather and Yahoo News Digest.
It’s a nice change from the cluttered user interface you’ll find on certain Android phones.
How It Works
Aviate displays a ton of information, but neatly tucks most of it away behind menus that can be accessed with a quick swipe.
The standard Aviate home screen displays the time stamp at the top sandwiched in between an icon that looks like a rising sun and an app menu icon. That rising sun icon is the symbol for Aviate’s Today space, which I’ll explain in further detail below.
A photo of your choosing takes up most of the screen, and the apps you use most frequently are listed in rows at the bottom.
Remember those app categories you chose earlier?
Swiping to the left reveals what Aviate calls Collections, which sorts apps into the genres you chose during the setup process.
If you want to view all of your apps, tapping the app grid icon will break them down in alphabetical order. It looks more like the app menu in Windows Phone than Android.
Swiping to the right presents daily information that Aviate thinks is relevant to you.
By default, the Today tab is shown when you swipe to the right, but you can change this by tapping the menu icon. Aviate calls these “spaces.”
The Today space, for example, includes options like setting your phone to “Do Not Disturb,” setting an alarm, or finding directions to work. The Listening space provides a music players and lists all of your music apps. Most spaces access your calendar to pull up events happening throughout the day too.
You can also add widgets to any of these spaces to further customise the information displayed.
Aviate uses these spaces to display contextually relevant information throughout the day.
Aviate is an attractive yet simple home screen replacement for Android phones. It’s ideal for those who want a less cluttered interface but are still seeking the same access to widgets and apps you’d get from multiple home screens. Like Yahoo’s other apps, the interface is simple, clean, and colourful.
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