Friday, December 8

Nothing Launcher: the app to feel like you’re using a Nothing Phone | Digital Trends Spanish

You can try NothingOS, the software installed on the new Nothing Phone 1 right now, without buying the phone itself. Go to the Google Play Store and download the Nothing Launcher appand as long as your phone is compatible, you’ll get the most of NothingOS experience on your current device.

But it’s not a complete experience, and it’s worth understanding where the differences are between the app and the phone’s software. Still, it’s a great way to get the Nothing Phone 1 experience on your device before you buy it for yourself.

Nothing Launcher Compatibility

When the Nothing Launcher app was released, it was only compatible with certain Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy smartphones, but in early May this list was drastically expanded to include almost any Android phone running Android 11 or later. That means that if your Android phone is less than a couple of years old, there’s a good chance that it’s capable of running Nothing Launcher.

Nothing Launcher (left) and NothingOS (right)Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

However, the launcher is still listed as a beta app, which means it may have bugs and other performance issues, so keep in mind that if you use it on your phone on a daily basis, it may introduce some issues. Although Nothing Phone 1 has been released, there is no sign of Nothing updating the Launcher to a final version, so we have tested version 1.0.2.

What you get with Nothing Launcher

We have been using Nothing Launcher in the Pixel 6, and we’re comparing it here to NothingOS 1.1.0 on the Nothing Phone 1. The launcher isn’t heavily customized, and it doesn’t introduce any dramatically different apps or control methods, no matter what phone you use. It’s simple and closely follows the material design of Android 12, so don’t expect a revolution.

Nothing Launcher and NothingOS menus.
Nothing Launcher (left) and NothingOS (right)Andy Boxal.
Once Nothing Launcher is installed on your phone, touch and hold on the home screen to get three options: Home Settings, Customizations, and Widgets. We’ll start with Home Settings, which is where you can set the Nothing Launcher as the default on your phone. In NothingOS you can turn on the unusual double tap to turn off screen feature, and there’s also the option to remove the Google search bar from the home screen. The search bar is permanently on the home screen of the Launcher app.

Moving on to the Widgets menu, if you scroll through the list that appears, you’ll see an option called Nothing Launcher. Expand it and you will have the option to choose between three different clock styles. In NothingOS on Phone 1, however, there are four different options, including an additional pixel-art-style version seen in much of Nothing’s promotional material. Nothing’s NFT widget is also missing from the Launcher.

Then go back to the home screen and open Personalization. Here you can select the Nothing Icon Pack, which is activated by default in the launcher and NothingOS. You can also change the app’s grid layout and enable wallpaper scrolling. It’s essentially the same on both devices, apart from a link to download more wallpapers and ringtones in the Launcher. It’s worth doing as there are some wallpapers in the folder that are not included with Phone 1. If you don’t download the additional wallpapers, the Launcher app only has one wallpaper option (the weird pixelated hand) , while there are four different wallpapers in NothingOS.

Staying on the home screen, put a few apps together in a folder and long press on them. You will see an option called Enlarge. Tap this and the small single-icon folder will turn into a large circular folder where you can see at a glance three larger icons and four smaller icons all at the same time. Long press on the folder again and tap on the option Minimize so that it returns to its old and small size. This works exactly the same on Nothing Launcher and NothingOS on Nothing Phone 1.

What the launcher lacks

Apart from what is mentioned above, there is not much more to Nothing Launcher. What’s different about the Nothing Phone 1? Open the Settings menu on Phone 1 and you’ll find the Glyph Interface menu, the experimental Connect to Tesla feature, plus the widespread use of Nothing’s dot-matrix font. Swipe down the notification shade to the Quick Settings view on Nothing Phone 1, and there are two circular icons at the top of the screen, where the phone’s connectivity status is displayed and can be quickly altered. This is not part of the Launcher. The only additional app found on Nothing Phone 1, the visually unusual Recorder app, is not installed along with Nothing Launcher.

Nothing Launcher and NothingOS Quick Settings.
Nothing Launcher (left) and NothingOS (right)Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

For obvious reasons, you don’t get any of the glyph interface options in Nothing 54567rtLauncher, since your phone won’t have the necessary hardware to make it work. It also doesn’t come with any of the ringtones or vibration patterns that add so much to the Nothing Phone 1’s light show, although a selection of the ringtones can be found in the linked folder in the Personalization menu in the Launcher.

Because NothingOS is closely aligned with Android 12 layout, it’s not a great departure for anyone using a Pixel phone, but it will be quite different for anyone on a Xiaomi, Oppo, or other phone with a heavily customized interface. It certainly gives a good impression of what NothingOS on the Nothing Phone 1 is all about, including its enviable speed spin and clean, bloat-free design.

A good (and limited) preview of the Nothing Phone 1

If you’re curious about Nothing Phone 1 and its software, nothing Launcher gives you a good, if basic, introduction to what it’s like. And while there’s definitely more to NothingOS than what you see in the Launcher, you won’t find a lot of extra features, apps, or design elements on the Nothing Phone 1. NothingOS isn’t like that. It’s a pleasingly simple Android interface, and that’s what makes it worth a try.

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