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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blur: A New Stlye Of App Launcher In The Making, Comes With API [Android]

App launchers aren’t like normal apps. They aim to make using your device more convenient but they also do what few apps do. They inspire new ways for users to interact with their device and if a launcher is popular enough, many app developers will work to support it. Blur is a new launcher, freshly released, and still in the rough that takes cue from Google Now.  Blur expands on having consolidated information on a single page by allowing entire apps to have a dedicate page to themselves.  The result is users have entire ‘pages’ dedicated to an app much like they have a dedicated Google Now page. The catch of course is that at present, there aren’t a lot of apps that support Blur since it just came out. The developers have releases an API that can be used to integrate an app with Blur but you’re in for a wait before your favorite and frequently used apps have a page of their own...

To make things easier, and to give users a taste of how the launcher works, Blur has released a few apps to the Play Store which include a twitter client. When installed, a calculator app is installed by default. You need to set up the app first and it gives you a walk through on how to set up an app page. From the settings, tap Page Picker. You can have more than one page but each page can have only one app assigned to it. Tap the plus sign on a page and then select which one you want to add.
Blur settings Blur page
Once selected, simply swipe to that app from your home screen.
Blur add page blur app

Apart from ‘Pages’, you can also add cards. To add a card and access Blur’s settings, tap and hold on the home screen and select Settings. Tap card and select one or several cards to add from the Card Picker. You will have to install apps that support Blur cards if you want greater variety. To look for apps and cards, tap the more button on the Settings screen where you can access experimental settings and search for pages and cards on the Google Play Store.
Blur card Blur select card
You can manage the appearance of the apps from Blur’s settings  under Visuals. You can change icons, scale them down, manage scroll effects, etc. From Layout, you can manage the size of the grid app icons are arranged in among other things, and from Dock, you can customize and toggle the dock. The experimental settings, although experimental, are promising and include options like listening for the Ok Google hotword.
Blur visulize Blur gestures
The launcher basically makes your favorite apps more accessible than ever but until developers start integrating their apps with Blur, you can only get limited use out of it. It is, however, worth keeping an eye on.

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