At the beginning of the year, Canonical announced its Ubuntu for phones project that will soon enable you to enjoy a full-fledged, standalone version of the popular Linux OS on your mobile devices. While it’s the lucky Galaxy Nexus owners who will be getting the first taste of the fully-functional OS, they are still waiting for a release by Canonical. However, what you can have for now is Ubuntu’s vertical app switcher/launcher on any device running Android 2.2 Froyo or higher, thanks to the brand new app called Unity Launcher. Resembling the looks and functionality of Ubuntu’s standard app switcher, Unity Launcher is a third-party customizable multitasking and app switching solution for Android that lets you switch back and forth between your favorite apps form anywhere in the OS by simply swiping in from the left edge of your device’s screen.
While Unity Launcher works almost exactly like most of the multitasking solutions we have already seen in the recent past, its specialty remains in the way it tries to emulate the original app switcher of Ubuntu. It comprises a vertically scrollable list filled with shortcuts to as many of your favorite Android apps as you want. Apps are displayed on their semi-translucent tiles, along with their respective titles. You can bring up this list by simply swiping in from the dedicated edge of your device’s screen, giving you universal access to your favorite apps from anywhere in the OS, regardless of the app you are currently running. The list automatically disappears from the scene after a few seconds of bringing it up.
To get started with the app, just launch it by tapping the Unity Launcher icon in the app drawer. From the app’s solitary home screen, you can trigger its services, pin your favorite apps to its switch list, and tinker with the various layout settings it has to offer.
Using the various available options, you can adjust the width of the interactive area, alter the list’s visibility timeout, and personalize the list’s show/hide animation delay. Moreover, you have the option to set the launcher’s gravity, background color and icon background/tile. That’s not all – there is also the option to show/hide app titles, and modify the background color of the region where app names are displayed.
Unity Launcher is available in the Play Store as both free and $0.99 variants. The free version only allows you to pin your favorite apps to the switch list, whereas all the UI tweaks and other customizations are available in the paid variant. Download links to both versions are provided below.