Launcher choices - shake things up without rooting

The easiest thing to change on your device is the launcher. The launcher is something iOS doesn't have and can be misunderstood. I'm going to list a few launchers with different styles to give you an idea of options.

The first time I realized people from iOS don't "get" the launcher idea was when I read a review where the user said there should be a way to organize the app drawer. I thought - There is, that's the launcher. That's a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of how Android works.

Here's the first page of options the Play store pulls up when I search for launchers. Some of the premium launchers may use root but for the most part these are just apps. Many of the more popular launchers are a spin on the JB launcher that comes pre-installed. Some features are added or removed, but they all have the notification area at the top, the desktop and the dock. Apex / Nova / Holo are the most popular of these type of launchers. ADWLauncher and GoLauncherEX have been around for ages (in Android terms) and have a lot of themes available. While GoLauncherEx has stuck with the more traditional styling, AWD went to a vertical drawer.

Developers also like to try different focuses. Regina 3D - is focused on looking great with 3D effects in transitions. Cool features include the ability to have a different wallpaper on each screen and folder in folders.Smart Launcher has a minimalist design where you have 6 apps on the screen and no dock with the phone functions. There is a vertical dock where your apps are automatically sorted and accessible. You must get the pro version for widgets. SF Launcher is based on Google Now. There is a scrollable widget area and a favorite app area but no dock for phone functions and at this point, the app area isn't configurable.

If you want your device look like another operating systems you can try Launcher 7 which gives the Windows Phone 7 look with all the android goodness underneath.What sets it apart from a WP7 skin on a traditional launcher is being able to drag and arrange tiles, just like you can with WP7. Espier Launcher emulates iOS style if you miss your iPhone:)

Most launchers are free with Pro versions that add features and flexibility. You can also get icon packs for the more popular launchers for further customization. If you want to see what people can do with their homescreen, drop by XDA Developers and be amazed.