On Android, there are generally two ways to launch an app. You look for it on one of your home screens, or browse through your app drawer. There’s one thing that’s sorely missing: a fast way to search through all of the apps on your phone. Yes, you can use the Google app to search your phone (even using voice), but it’s incredibly slow compared to the app search on iOS. It takes a second or two for the app to launch and—if you’re fond of Google Now—to populate your screens with cards.
A much faster and more tightly integrated solution is offered by AppDialer Pro.
AppDialer Pro ($2.95)
AppDialer Pro is an incredibly efficient way to launch apps on your phone. Similar to Quad Drawer, but less intrusive, the app opens an overlay on your screen, with a T9 interface to search for apps. The launcher updates as you’re typing, so you’ll usually see the app you’re looking for after two or three presses.
There’s also a lighter version, App Dialer, that does most of the same but without the price tag. You’ll also get a lighter app experience, though. The launcher still works as before, but you won’t be able to pin the widgets to your screen. The Quick Launch panel also won’t be visible in your notifications.
Home and Lock Screen Widgets
With the Pro version of AppDialer, you can do away with the launcher icon and add it to your phone as a widget. By putting it on a separate home screen, you essentially create the same experience as on the iPhone—only faster.
Adding AppDialer to your lock screen is also possible. You’ll need to enter your passcode after selecting an app to unlock your phone, though. By default, it fills the entire screen, as shown in the left hand side screenshot. However, you can resize the widget so it takes up less place, perhaps to allow a pattern passcode below it. Even minimised, the launcher is easy to use.
The T9 Touchpad
We mentioned above how AppDialer uses a T9 interface. If you used to have a dumbphone, you probably already know how T9 typing works. Otherwise, you might need a quick introduction.
T9 combines a numeric keypad with a dictionary to cut down on superfluous key presses. Instead of pressing a key multiple times to select the correct letter, you only press a key once per letter. T9’s prediction algorithm takes care of the rest.
In the screenshots above, pressing the 4 might indicate the H in Shazam or the I in SIM or Simplenote. After pressing 2, the options narrow down. Shazam and QuickPic are the only two remaining options. You’ll usually find the app you’re looking for in just a few key presses.
The only disadvantage to AppDialer’s keyboard is that there’s no backspace available. If you mistype a letter, you’ll have to start from scratch by pressing the Clear button.
When you launch AppDialer, you’ll notice that there’s already a row of icons at the top of the launcher where the search results will appear. This is the Quick Launch area, which lists the most recently used apps. Sometimes, you won’t even have to search at all!
If you’re using AppDialer Pro, the Quick Launch panel is also added to the notifications area on your phone. You’ll always be able to access those recent apps, or launch the T9 keypad then and there. Especially when you’re working in multiple applications at once, these recent apps provide a quick way to jump to and fro.
What’s your favourite way to find and launch apps on Android? Are you planning to take AppDialer for a spin? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: tatajantra / shutterstock.com