Launchers are a great way to mod your Android’s homescreen to give it an altogether different look. Although there are numerous homescreen replacement apps, layout tweaks and themes available in the Google Play Store that let you change the entire complexion of your Android as per some other operating system or firmware, we were yet to come across an alternative that brings the true colors of Windows XP to Google’s mobile OS. Developed by team.fluxion, XP Mod Launcher is a free Android homescreen replacement app that replicates the looks, sounds, and (to some extent) functionality of Windows XP, and lets you explore as to how one of Microsoft’s most popular operating systems might’ve looked on your Android device. The launcher brings several XP goodies to Android, including the login screen, start menu, desktop interface, folders, multi-windowed browsing, taskbar, and the digital clock. The best part? You don’t have to install any drivers to enjoy all of that!
Like most launchers, XP Mod has also been designed to work on both rooted as well as non-rooted devices. It’s a no-brainer to see the app optimized to run in landscape mode only. Things begin with the sapphire XP startup screen, with the popular welcome sound playing in the background. Past that, you’re welcomed by the desktop, sporting the taskbar as well as the My Computer, My Documents, Recycle Bin and Internet Explorer icons. Those expecting to be treated to the famous Bliss Wallpaper are out of luck, since the app only presents you with whatever custom wallpaper you were using with the previous launcher. The Recycle Bin and My Document icons point to specific locations on your file system, which, by default, would be empty, but should you choose to place anything under, say, /mnt/sdcard/My Documents, it will show up under this view. Tapping the IE icon launches your default web browser.
The My Computer icon displays your Android’s internal and external storage via couple of hard drive icons, for a proper Windows XP feel. Double tapping an icon lets you view the drive contents via XP style folders and icon sets. Doing the same to a folder reveals underlying contents, whereas performing the same action on a file opens it via a compatible app. It is also worth mentioning here that the app supports some basic file management tools, such as cut, copy, paste and delete to maneuver selected content between desired folders. All these controls can be found at the top-left of the left pane, which also houses shortcuts to other popular folders, as well as the details relevant to the selected file/folder. It should also be noted that XP Mod Launcher gives root-level file system access on rooted devices.
You might be kicking yourself to get a glimpse of your apps, aren’t you? Just hit the Start button, tap All Programs, and viola! There you have your favorite Android apps listed in alphabetical order. What better way to visualize and access your Android’s app drawer in a Windows-like Programs list? A rather condensed layout of the overall launcher means that you might have some tough time tapping the right app from the Programs list – in the very first attempt, anyway. Isn’t it cool to see that Instagram icon on the ‘Windows’ application list in the screenshot below?
On a final note, the launcher is also fully compatible with tablets’ larger screens; in fact, it operates much more smooth and easy on Android tablets, since the larger screen area makes it easier to pick the right icons. We do believe the DPI to be still lacking on this front, but overall, the experience is remarkable.
As of now, that’s pretty much all what XP Mod Launcher has on offer. There are no extensive configurations, mass customizations or unnecessary settings to worry about. The lack of tweaking options might sound relieving to some, but from a power user’s perspective, one feels that some control over altering the launcher’s settings should have been included within the package. That said, if you still want to recall some (in fact, lots of) XP nostalgia on your Android, XP Mod Launcher beckons to be given a try for good. Just remember that it’s still a beta release, so you can expect the product to improve with each subsequent update that it receives.
XP Mod Launcher is available in the Google Play Store, and requires Android v2.3.3 (Gingerbread) or higher to run.
Download XP Mod Launcher for Android (The app has recently been removed from the Google Play Store)