MobileInfocenter
Review: Launcher Plus
By: Davy Fields
October 5, 2002

Launcher PLUS is yet another launcher that’s been brought into the fold for Palm OS Machines. Fortunately, it’s a pretty decent launcher. It’s not loaded with features, but it does everything quickly, and easily, and overall, is a very nice launcher.

FacerJust to cover the basics right away, this launcher supports High-Resolution Palms (Not 320x480, for now, at least), has VFS features, and allows you to apply custom skins that change the background, toolbar, and some other myriad things. The skins I tested out were the Mac OS X and the Windows XP skin. Both looked fantastic. Unless you’re a YiShow user, (and if you are, you’ll know this), you’ll find thatputting backgrounds behind your icons is great. The icons appear very clearly over the full color images in the background, with the transparencies working great. There’s an occasional app that purposely puts white space around its icon, but the vast majority of apps have very nice looking transparencies. Going along the same line, the toolbars icons, while being a bit small, also work very well, as does the battery icon. The whole package looks very crisp and nice.

Speaking of the toolbar, it does the standard stuff, you can view information on an application, beam it, or delete it. The “tools” option pops up a dialog where you can view device information, quickly change between skins (with nice looking previews), categorize apps (a process done very quickly and easily), as well as “Show/Hide Palmtop”… this is slightly weird, because all it does is hide the icons so you can look at the background. It’s actually a nice screensaver, but it is a funny little feature.

You can have up to 255 categories (not just 16, like the internal launcher), and each category can have it’s own icon you can take from a bank of icons, which is a nice little feature. The program supports three views: standard icons, a large list view, and a small list view. The small list view packs a ridiculous amount of icons onto one screen on a high-resolution device, but it you want it, you got it.

For the VFS Features. You can delete stuff from the card, and in one of the most amazing features I found… you can beam applications straight off the card. I’m not sure if this is an advertised feature, but it allows you to not bother with copying apps to internal memory, and makes beaming a heck of a lot easier than in Silverscreen. Also, instead of Silverscreen, the VFS features simply work, there’s never anything weird like apps leaving themselves in memory. Simply put, this launcher just works.

FacerSpeaking of little features, this is Launcher Plus’ one shortcoming, which is a lack of features. It’s a little unfair to compare it to established products like Silverscreen, but because it retails for around the same price, one has too. There aren’t tons of different options, changing the font, scroll bar, or other stuff. I couldn’t find a way to get a program onto the memory stick using the Launcher, or moving a program back.

But, in looking at QuickTap’s website, every one of the features that wasn't there that I wanted was promised as coming soon:

"Skin composer - Create your own unique skin easily. Multimedia expansion slot utilities. Easily transfer programs between external storage and Palm device memory. Support for Sony HighRes+ (Full screen 320x480 resolution)."

Which covers the list of the things that I thought it was missing. This will hardly be the limit from the developer, they’ve been very proactive with updates, so I’d expect more goodies to pop up.

Overall, this is a very nice, easy to use, good-looking launcher. If you find Silverscreen slow and gaudy, and YiShow too complicated, this could be the launcher for you. Clean, cool, fast, and easy, Quicktap Software has created a great new launcher.

 

PalmInfocenter.com Bottom Line
Company: Quicktap
Price: $19.95 (Intro offer, reg $29.95)
Design: 4(4)
Cost/Benefit: 3.5(3.5)
Coolness: 4.5(4.5)
Overall: 4(4)
Maximum rating is five (5) infopalms.

PROS:

  • Nice Looking, Clean Backgrounds
  • Skins offer some cool customization
  • VFS Access Works Great
CONS:
  • Slightly Pricey

Update: Quicktap has has to remove some of the skins mentioned in this review, in order to avoid "copyright infringement."

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screenshots

cp31 @ 10/5/2002 3:35:54 PM #
do u have any screen shots

RE: screenshots
Admin @ 10/5/2002 3:40:27 PM #
one sec...
RE: screenshots
Massman82 @ 10/5/2002 4:22:03 PM #
What happens when you press on the start menu?

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld
RE: screenshots
Vexel9 @ 10/5/2002 5:31:00 PM #
It scrolls up (just like the real start button) a series of options mainly

choose skin
category manager
Preferences
information
show/hide palmtop

RE: screenshots
Scott R @ 10/5/2002 7:03:21 PM #
It scrolls up (just like the real start button) a series of options mainly

choose skin
category manager
Preferences
information
show/hide palmtop
---------------------
Well, that sounds unintuitive. Where I come from, the Start bar (on MS Windows) is how you get to all of your programs.

Scott

RE: screenshots
OzziePalmDieHard @ 10/6/2002 8:41:45 AM #

Its not meant to be a working replica you know....

On an OS that doesn't run multiple apps at the same time, there is no need for a start bar. You exit the program, and you are already at the programs list, no click neccessary....

If you want a working XP UI, use a PPC, if I can call that a "working" UI. ;)

God knows why you'd want another windows box....

Several Months Ago at Palm Headquarters;

"Hah! Those sony bastards think that they can beat us in stupid names. The Tungsten T is infinitely more ridiculous than "clie"....."

RE: screenshots
Beavis @ 10/6/2002 11:03:29 AM #
"Well, that sounds unintuitive. Where I come from, the Start bar (on MS Windows) is how you get to all of your programs"


You mean intuitive, as in using the start button to shut down your PC (on MS Windows)?

RE: screenshots
cinglis @ 10/7/2002 2:04:10 PM #
Why can't I find any of the backgrounds shown in the review, even on Launcher+ website there is no sign of the windows like one? Am I looking in the wrong place or have they been done for copyright??
Chris.

RE: screenshots
Massman82 @ 10/7/2002 5:46:23 PM #
They are all there. Somewhere under themes I think.

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld
backgrounds
kezza @ 10/7/2002 6:16:26 PM #
I can't find them, either. I think they've been pulled because of copyright infringement.
There's even an icon on the bottom of the main page at the quicktap site that is a screenshot of the OSX skin, and it links to the skins page, but it's not there. neither is the XP version.
There's a windows 95 version . . .

--------------------------------------
"Well, if it isn't the leader of the wiener patrol, boning up on his nerd lessons"
http://stirwise.com
RE: screenshots
cinglis @ 10/8/2002 7:18:36 AM #
Can anyone post a link where I might find the offending windows XP skin, or even if it is on my handheld with Launcher plus, where??

Thanks,
Chris.
Palm 505

Wait For LauncherX

N473 @ 10/5/2002 3:54:26 PM #
The beta test is going smoothly. Beta 6 is gonna be coming out soon. Beta 5 has never crashed on me. The skins my fellow beta testers are creating are amazing. Go buy Launcher III and you will get a discount -> http://www.benc.hr

Cheers!
N473
RE: Wait For LauncherX
abosco @ 10/5/2002 4:06:24 PM #
"Wait for LauncherX"

This is all I've heard and seen for as long as I can remember on PIC. Three years of production means this thing should be good, right? Well it better be, because I suspect people are getting tired of waiting and are buying Yishow or this new Laucher Plus. What can be so complicated about LauncherX that it is taking three years to perfect?

Beer is living proof that God wants us to be happy. -Benjamin Franklin

RE: Wait For LauncherX
Massman82 @ 10/5/2002 4:27:11 PM #
Here is why:

As I recall, Bozidar, the developer, could not develop the launcher for some time because of personal issues. Now that it is back in development, it is very nice. It will also have a skin designer app, and will come out with a wide range of skins.

B6 should be out soon, and after that the launcher will be near completed. I'm not putting a release date on it, but I'm hoping for it to come out within this month.

BTW: It will support hi-res+ from the get-go!

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld

RE: Wait For LauncherX
Strider_mt2k @ 10/5/2002 5:08:21 PM #
Launcher X will be worth it.
Go ahead and try other launchers. You'll be back.


strider_mt2k@yahoo.com

Okay now...
Mojo Jojo @ 10/6/2002 7:56:27 AM #
Well, from being a person not on the beta list, I have to say that hearing people exclaim the wonders of Launcher X just sounds wrong.

I am not saying that the program sucks or anything like that. I am just not going to buy (or in this case not buy something) that I have not seen simply on someones I don't know words.

To relate at least my experiences so far with Launcher X, it is like buying something at CompUSA because someone you don't know standing next to you says that its awesome. If you got a brain cell, you just don't do that!

So people can say that this program is going to be great that the programer is so-and-so, and that should be a selling point, trust him if not our own praise. Well again, its like shopping at CompUSA, with the dates being pushed back, no communications (unless your on this secret beta) it is like purchasing something at CompUSA from the guy in the red shirt behind the counter!

From people I have spoken too, and my own opinions, the group behind Launcher X, has lost a lot of creditability. After collecting alot of information to be on the 'Launcher X' mailing list, we have not heard one piece of news.

Look I feel for the guy if he is having personal issues, but your telling me no one at little mobil creations can open the html page and make a quick update? 5 maybe 10 minutes. How about a quick mass mailing to the people who signed up?

Until there is a demo, an open beta, heck a review from a trusted site, until one of those things happens, Launcher X isn't really an option to me.

Arguments that it hasn't been released to the public BECAUSE it is still in beta are the same arguments of why no one should make plans for buying it.

Oh, by the way, I am making this car that nearly matches the speed of a Ferrari but gets 38 miles to the gallon. It is still in testing even though we thought it would be on the market 3 months ago. You will have to take my word and the mechanics word over there because we are still in testing you know... So really...I strongly urge you not to buy a car right now. Uh.. no I can't let you sit in the car either... but its great, trust me. Oh buy the way, if you buy this ford Taurus now I can let you trade in to the new car at a much cheaper price. But like I said... not sure when the new car will be released... we still have some government safety testing to do as well...everyone liked the Taurus though so this new car is going to be a dream. Trust me.

Remember I am not saying the program sucks and not to buy it on those merits, I am just saying that so far the only merits of the program available to the general public (word of mouth and reputation) don't really sell me.

RE: Wait For LauncherX
Bartman007 @ 10/6/2002 3:15:29 PM #
Having tried Launcher X, I agree it is one cool program, but for now I'm using Launcher+ I have several friends who refuse to let my have anything but a SouthPark icon as my backgroud though =(

RE: Wait For LauncherX
I.M Anonymous @ 10/6/2002 8:14:54 PM #
You need new friends.

RE: Wait For LauncherX
Fly-By-Night @ 10/7/2002 7:01:47 AM #
Mojo Jojo... Chill out, it's only a laucher! (And learn how to write English).

RE: Wait For LauncherX
Mojo Jojo @ 10/7/2002 9:07:20 AM #
Great respose, Fly-by-Night.

I have forgotten that there is really only one language and country on this planet. Forgive me for thinking otherwise. Your debating skills are far superior then mine, it was foolish of me to talk about the point at hand when I could have attacked someones English (American English) grammer skills.

It is good to see that there will be no shortage of members for the ignorant mobs of the future. This makes my heart glad as I was worried that the planet might grow into a society that respected each other.

Perhaps my grammer skills are yet another reason to buy launcher X instead of launcher plus... I was so foolish and blinded by my own ignorance... forgive me.


RE: Wait For LauncherX
Sweetlu @ 10/7/2002 10:32:36 PM #
Mojo Jojo is right. OK the guy had personal problems, but I don't see why updates could not be posted on the website by someone else. I was too late to be a beta tester, but I got an email from Benc that LauncherX will be released in the middle of September. It's now the second week of October, and the think is still being beta tested.

I'm a LIII user and I'm trying to be patient, but how can you tell people that when there are some good alternatives being released every week.

I hope it meets all the hype and even more.

___________________________________
Yankees, Steinbrenner,...... I will never turn to the dark side.

RE: Wait For LauncherX
kempokaraterulz @ 10/18/2002 6:57:30 PM #
look i have seen and used launcherX. IT SUCKS! its the worst launcher ive ever used. I wont mention how i did it but i assure you, this thing didnt even stay on my palm for an hour. I assure you id rather use the defualt launcher then this slow ugly thing. Trust me, i used the beta.

Oh an BTW i use a Sony Clie s360, and its grayscale support is funky too.

_______________________________________
Warning: If you run in front of my car...you'll get tired. If you run behind my car...you'll get exhausted.

RE: Wait For LauncherX
SaabCaptain @ 10/27/2002 12:50:38 AM #
The screen shots of LauncherX look promising. I want a "fancier" looking app screen but still maintain PalmOS simplicity and ease of use. I also want to maintain speed. Everything but Launcher III has disappointed me and Launcher III is not pretty. I have hope LauncherX can bridge that gap and I will certainly try it.

I was very understanding about the delays and the personal issues the developer has faced. But that said the delays for this product have dragged out to unbelievable levels and caused much disappointment and frustration amoung Palm users. If there is a lesson to be learned here is that you can't have printed ads (as came with the Clies) and start promoting a simple Launcher for the Palm nearly a YEAR in advance of shipping product, it is ludicrous.

owned: Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm V, IIIc, m505, Sony T615.

Update

Be3G @ 10/5/2002 4:21:32 PM #
Btw, incase anyone's interested, the update that the author mentioned as coming out soon has actually come out. Check the QuickTap website and you'll see V1.2 there - that has everything that was mentioned in the article.

Thomas

RE: Update
Massman82 @ 10/5/2002 4:30:12 PM #
Yup, the skin builder came out.
And:
"Support for external storage (memory sticks, SD medias).
Launch programs from memory stick, SD medias directly.
Beam directly from memory stick."


Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld

RE: Update
intysoft @ 10/5/2002 5:36:50 PM #
It dosent show PQA's at all. The developer said he would add it, but thought of it as a feature, not as standard.
Jim

Thanks
Jim
RE: Update
Altema @ 10/7/2002 10:28:21 AM #
"Support for external storage (memory sticks, SD medias)"

Only supports them in the same way as the default launcher. The apps on the card only show in the "Card" category in version 1.2. You cannot have card apps in the menu category of your choice. If the ability is there, they have it hidden prety well. I also dislike having to exit the launcher to use the MyPalm pqa, which is still the fastest way to get movie listing and buy tickets while on a date.

Skin Builder
m515 Guy @ 10/7/2002 8:13:20 PM #
Is it just me or is it almost impossible to figure out how to build your own skins? I downloaded everything (except the manual - doesn't exist yet) then read all I could on the website and am still flummoxed.

RE: Update
Altema @ 10/8/2002 12:01:01 PM #
When you install the skin builder, it will also instal an Html document named "How do I..."

I read most of it and can kind of get the point, but it's not something you can just sit down with and figure out easily.

It's a far cry from a "Pick your resolution and drop your picture here" type of app. It does a lot, but watch out for that initial learning curve!

launcher III

Vexel9 @ 10/5/2002 5:34:18 PM #
IMHO Launcher III is still the best. Although it may not be the prettiest launcher (as a matter of fact its ugly in its simplicity) but it is the most functional. Even without skins i think its also the most customizable of all the launchers. Also its VFS features are the most seemless.

If and when Launcher X comes out it should end all launcher debates although the new OS5 launcher previewed on the NR60 and NR70's looks very launcher X like.

RE: launcher III
funngunn2 @ 10/5/2002 10:23:15 PM #
Dude, if you have color and 160x160, get BackdropGC and combine it with LauncherIII- it looks awesome!
RE: launcher III
Vexel9 @ 10/6/2002 12:24:37 AM #
Actually i have seen backdropGC and i have been eagerly anticipating a version compatible for my clie. Unfortunately I don't think they are serious about updating a version for 320X320.

I still don't get it...

dmunz @ 10/5/2002 5:47:47 PM #
I started with a IIIx upgraded to a m505 and now I have a T615C and I've never felt compelled to use a third-party launcher.

I came close with SD cards the VFS stuff on my m505 but I just never found the features usefull enough to add another layer between me and the programs.

For me, the stock launcher does everything I need. YMMV

FWIW

DLM

Hovering like a fly, waiting for the windshield on the freeway.

RE: I still don't get it...
Davy Fields @ 10/5/2002 6:48:54 PM #
The thing that I found cool about this program was that it's quick and easy, and looks nice. Surely, if you just use the standard launcher, you can claim you don't need the features, but if I had to name a few for you, it'd be:

1. Background Picture / Theme Sets.... these sound tacky, but they're really a lot of fun and look nice.
2. The toolbar itself lets you beam, delete, and easily get info on any application by dragging and dropping.... it's way easier that going through the menus.
3. Finally, the categorization is killer. It's really fast, categories can be easily made and sorted.

Overall, it's just a very slick package. Sure, if you use YiShow, this may be a step down for you, but for most people, this is something that you should try before deciding on the nature of all launchers.

-Davy Fields
http://nr70.davyfields.com

RE: I still don't get it...
Massman82 @ 10/5/2002 6:57:44 PM #
I never used YiShow.

Whats so cool about it?

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld

RE: I still don't get it...
ardee @ 10/6/2002 3:13:04 PM #
It doesn't add another layer. It is a one-for-one replacement for Palm's launcher.

Some key negatives (IMHO) about Palm's launcher:

* Lacks a list view that shows sizes for all apps

* Lacks tabs for categories

* If you want to delete or beam an app, you have to go into a whole different interface and wait while it again lists all the apps (even if the one you wanted to delete/beam is right there). 3rd-party launchers follow the standard "good GUI" paradigm of first selecting the object you want to operate on and then the operation (drag icon to trash or click-hold and select trash) instead of operation (delete) followed by object (which app).

PIC Bottom line table

djr @ 10/5/2002 7:20:12 PM #
Ryan,

The table with PIC Bottom line is not rendering like it should be on my monitor resolution (1280x1024).
The pro's and con's are cut off on the right.
It's not a big thing, but you might want to take a look in the HTML.

- djr

For Dutch Palm-users: http://www.palmclub.nl

RE: PIC Bottom line table
Massman82 @ 10/5/2002 8:00:17 PM #
Works fine at all different resolutions though.

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld
RE: PIC Bottom line table
Admin @ 10/5/2002 9:05:04 PM #
I made a change to it so let me know if it's still a problem.
RE: PIC Bottom line table
kempokaraterulz @ 10/5/2002 9:08:32 PM #
pros and cons still cut off for me (1152x864 resolution)

_______________________________________
Ed Hardy: The best damn palm news editor. Ever.
Ansi soit-il.
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