You probably have a few dozen Android apps installed on your phone but the number of apps that you may be using on a regular basis is likely to be small. A recent Nielsen report says that the average number of apps used by phone owners is just around 26 per month. Another Comscore report suggests that people tend to cling to a few apps they like and that nearly three of every four minutes spent using apps was in any of four preferred apps.
Now what is the best way to arrange your favorite apps on the home screen so that the apps you use most often are easily accessible? You can of course arrange apps manually or put them in the dock area but wouldn’t it be nice if the phone itself were smart enough to dynamically arrange apps on the home screen based on your own usage. There are apps that can help.
Nokia, the company behind the Lumia series of Windows Phones, has created Z Launcher, a must-have Android app that helps you find anything faster on your phone be it apps, contacts or even websites. It places you most used apps on the home screen while everything else is just a scribble away. You also have the option of pinning apps to the dock area just like your standard Android launcher.
Then there’s Bar Launcher, a free Android app that will help you place shortcuts to your favorite apps in the notification area of your phone (or tablet). The big advantage with this approach is that you will be able to launch apps from any area of your phone with a simple swipe from top to bottom. There’s no longer a need to close the currently open app to launch another one – you can just open the notification drawer and tap to open.
I would also recommend Hangar. This is an open-source app that monitors how you use apps and places the ones you use most frequently on the home screen. Unlike the Z-launcher app, Hanger is a widget that you can place anywhere on the home screen and because it is resizable, the widget can display one or more rows of your most-used apps. You can also pin the most important apps in the widget or blacklist the ones that you would never like to show up on the home screen.
Also see: Essential Android apps