Scout Home – First Impressions

Android devices have been supporting custom launchers as far back as Android Eclair (2.0). This is one feature unique to Android, which other mobile operating systems do not have (in fact, there are so many launchers that Wikipedia has a list for it). While most Android launchers have a home screen and an app drawer, there are some out there which are particularly unique. Today we bring you Scout Home, one of the kinds of launchers that do not have the conventional home screen and app drawer layout, and it has just been released to the public for open beta testing.

Scout Home’s interface has 3 main parts: the main cards screen, the search screen on the left, and the Spaces screen on the right.

Scout Home - Cards screen

Cards (and the app dock graphical bug)

The main cards screen provides extended information and access to various services like SoundCloud, Reddit, and YouTube, all of which require you to log in before the information can be shown. Automatic log ins through the apps are not available yet, and you will have to manually log in. In addition to that, there are also calendar cards, notification cards, and song lyrics cards whenever available. This is an exceptionally unique take on the home screen, which no other launcher has done before. The cards can even be swiped off and configured too, providing even more options for the user. In addition to that, the user can manually choose what cards they want to be shown on the cards screen. There is also an app dock at the bottom of the screen that allows you to quick-start applications right from the cards screen, though it is slightly buggy and does not seem to like my device’s screen and DPI, leaving a gaping hole at the bottom, and clipping through the bottom when scrolling up the cards list.

Scout Home - Search screen

The search screen links to various apps such as WhatsApp

The search screen on the left is something like Google Now, except it of course does not support Google Now. The search screen links to the Google app, and various other data such as contacts and installed apps. I wouldn’t swipe to this screen manually, as there already is a search bar on the cards screen.

The Spaces are also one thing worth mentioning. Instead of the conventional pages way of organizing home screens, Scout Home takes it even further and uses folders, while also allowing the user to add both apps and widgets to the folders. This way each page is labelled and provided a unique icon at the bottom of the screen so that the user can easily navigate through, while at the same time also using widgets to make accessing important data even easier.

If you are not one who notices bugs, I would say that Scout Home is generally stable enough for daily usage, except for maybe the occasional crash. There is a Google+ community with people who are more than willing to help out if you have any problems. Overall I would say that Scout Home is a pretty impressive launcher, and it shows great potential. If you would like to try it out (which I highly recommend so that you can help the developers fix the bugs in the launcher), you can sign up on the Google+ community, as well as grab the APK file from there, as the app is not available in every country yet.