My favorite software on my Android phone is by Yahoo!

Yes, I said Yahoo! While a great deal of the technical oriented press and buzz tends to revolve around Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft these days, we got not to forget about one of the oldest players on the industry. Yahoo! is extremely popular outside the hardcore tech world. How popular? How does a billion users sound? Yes, they don’t have an OS, make phones, or a search engine ( it’s ultimately a front-end Bing ), and  Yahoo! Mail is of dubious reputation (breaches, spam, etc… although I’m not entirely sure where the fault lies on that one ). When I think of Yahoo! I think products and services that real people use: Y! Mail, Flickr, Tumblr, Y! Finance, Y! Tech. You remember GeoCities fondly, don’t you?

The software that has made me look at them is Aviate. True, it’s not originally a Yahoo! product as it was conceived at Thumbs Up Labs. But it doesn’t matter as I’m thinking Yahoo!
Aviate is an Android Launcher that just makes using my phone easy, enjoyable, and predictable. It’s context aware, so whether I’m at work or at home or on the go, my most used apps are ready to go.
The organization of the screen is useful: at the center we have those apps you just gotta have; with a bottom-up swipe, my favorite and most common contacts are visible. At the right of the center screen are my categorized apps. These “collections” are mostly automatic, but it’s trivial to customize them, remove them, or make one from scratch. At right most we have an alphabetical listing of all apps installed. At the left we have a context sensitive screen. At work, it can show your mail app, calendar, etc. At home, it gives me YouTube, Firefox, Feedly. At night, it tells me when my (first) alarm will be, what’s on the schedule for tomorrow, and even offers Do not disturb and Sleep mode functions. And finally left most we have settings, customizations, and the ability to switch between contexts.

While it doesn’t sound like much, it’s enough for me. My phone’s screens have never been so organized or clean. My friends and family are just a flick away, and my apps are usually a single swipe away. After a month of using Aviate I noticed that I started using my apps and getting things done more than just using my phone. I’m not hunting down screen after screen of app after app. Earlier this month went back to the stock launcher for a week, and it was painful. Aviate felt like it was reading my mind; the stock launcher, in contrast, was merely there just presenting stuff. The second week of February I went with the Google Now Launcher, and while it providing nothing that radically different from the stock launcher it did provide Google’s Google Now excellent cards, and the ability to “Ok Google” this or that. But ultimately it could not win me over like Aviate could.

Go ahead and give Aviate a try. It’s available from the Google Play Store for free requiring Android 2.3 or later


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