Launcher 10 Brings the Windows Mobile Home Screen to Android

Posted on July 2, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android with 24 Comments

Those still pining for Windows phone may find solace in Launcher 10, an Android launcher that emulates the Windows 10 Mobile look and feel.

“Launcher 10 is a fast and highly customizable launcher for Android which is styled similar to Windows Mobile devices,” the official app description notes. “This app will change your home screen to look like a Windows device.”

For those not familiar with Android, Google allows users to replace their launcher—essentially the home screen—with the alternative of their choosing. I tend to prefer the stock Pixel launcher on my Pixel 2 XL, but I have been testing the Microsoft Launcher recently.

Launcher 10 is more of a throw-back launcher, and it replaces the normal Android home screen with its grid of icons and a dock with a Windows Mobile 10-like grid of live tiles. These tiles appear to look and work as you’d expect, and there’s even an All Apps screen to the right of the home screen, as on Windows 10 Mobile.

A recently-released 2.1 update adds the following new features:

  • Many bug fixes, reliability and performance improvements
  • Notification live tiles will now show a background image (if the notification has an image)
  • You can now choose the size of the icon for each tile (either normal, fill, fit or crop)
  • New “Rotate Screen & Scale Tiles to Fit” option
  • New Start Screen margin preference to add space to the sides of you start screens
  • Live tile calendar events will only be shown if you have that calendar enabled/visible in your calendar app

I won’t be testing this, but if this interests you, you can download Launcher 10 from the Google Play Store. It’s free, but has ads and in-app purchases.


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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Launcher 10 Brings the Windows Mobile Home Screen to Android”

  1. Daekar

    I've used a launcher like this before, although it was one called SquareHome 2, I think. It proved to be me beyond a shadow of doubt that the tiles are a superior way to handle UI on a small touchscreen. However, I stopped using it for the Microsoft Launcher because I wanted the integrated MS functionality. If MS doesn't hurry up adding that functionality, though, I might switch back...

  2. Martin Sjöholm

    I want this for my iPhone ...

  3. CliffordSF

    I knew these existed, but never tried one. Until now. For the first time, I'm really enjoying my Note 8! There was so much right about what Microsoft came up with. They should add Windows Phone as an option to their launcher as a thank you to those of us who went along for the ride and miss our phones dearly.

  4. Alexander Rothacker

    I've used Launcher 10 for quite a while after leaving Windows Mobile. Loved the tiles, such a great concept that I miss. But it had a couple of shortcomings and weirdness around re-arranging tiles. Switched over to the MS launcher and really got used to the cards, so I haven't switched back, but might consider it again at some point.

    I wish the MS Launcher had a non-paginated vertical scroll, then I would be really happy with that.

  5. charms55

    I have used Squarehome2. Nice customization including far more control over the sizes of tiles. Also a cube function that allows multiple apps to be pulled to a single cube type tile. It flashes when information is visible for any of the pinned apps. Photo and Contacts tile widgets. I will check the updates on Launcher 10 to see if it has improved.

  6. Igor Engelen

    I always wondered why Microsoft itself didn't have this in their own launcher. For some people this is an important feature, which I can understand from a consistency point of view.

  7. Chris_Kez

    When I switched to Android I tried several of these types of WP-replacement launchers, but each one came up short in some way so I eventually gave up and embraced Nova Launcher-- which I used pretty happily for about two years. I switched to iPhone a few months ago, and initially found myself fondly remembering both WP and Nova Launcher. But a funny thing happened; after a month or so I mostly stopped thinking about that stuff and found myself just using the search bar to find apps that weren't on the home screen, and enjoying 3D Touch in a few key places. And I remembered how I had similarly adapted to Android. As great as WP was, I think I'm probably equally happy using my iPhone X. Maybe I'm just getting older and don't care as much about this stuff.

    • ommoran

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      I do the same. I spent the time to throw most apps into a folder, keeping my regularly accessed apps on the main screen. Everything else I swipe down and search for.

      I do miss Android, I liked it a lot better than iOS. iOS is too locked down. Then again, I've got a bunch of time back in my life by not hacking and dinking with my phone screens...

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to ommoran:

        I came across an old screen capture of a particular Start screen I'd carefully themed on my Lumia 930. And I thought "how many freaking hours did I waste doing that? What, ultimately, was the point?". Sure, it was nice looking, but in retrospect I would have been better served using that time to exercise or read a book or spend some time with friends. I had the same realization as started going down the rabbit hole of Android customization. I spent more time customizing than the time I ever would have saved as a result of a more efficient layout or customized gestures or whatever.

  8. Markyjns

    Been using Launcher 10 for about 6mths having previously used squarehome. L10 seems to get a lot of feature updates, so unlike some launchers it seems to have on going developer interest and support.

    For me the combination of live tiles, the sheer amount of customizability options, the live tile animations when there's multiple notifications from a particular app, all combine to make this the closest thing to Windows Phone and I love it.

    The whole concept of live tiles still works, is still relevant and to be honest the main reason I switched, i have something very much like Windows Phone but with apps.

  9. AnthonySPT

    A fun launcher, but without OS and App support for 'document' or 'content' or 'context' or 'in-App' links, a launcher cannot ever fully replicate the 'Start Screen' of WP/WM. (Or even what the Windows 10's Start Screen still offers, but few users have ever had it demonstrated to them in a usability context - sadly, not even on this site.)

    The OS level concept of Links to content inside Apps and the Web and Documents is still something that doesn't fully exist on iOS or Android.

    This was a key feature of WP going back to the WP7 beginning, and something that was often overlooked when talking about the usability or advantages of WP. The OS understood these alternative links that were also 'live' looks into content into an App. This was rather brilliant and it really is sad that it is skipped by the tech community and you won't find it talked about or detailed or demonstrated on any tech/tip site for users.

    In example, I would have a Tile Folder for a specific project pinned, and it would have links to contacts, map locations, web links, documents, email folders, etc - all associated with the project.

    This allowed for access to any aspect of the project in a instant when on a call or away from a computer, and being a phone, it also gave me instant access to call the people in the project, or message them or get instant navigation to a meeting.

    (Add this with Cortana managing features and 'Whenever' reminders and it was and still is the most productive mobile/desktop productivity model. Cortana's 'Whenever' reminders are another feature that I have never found demonstrated by a tech site to help users, sadly. It basically allows information to be stored in Cortana with "Remember my Aunt's cat's name is Joey" - which can then be answered by Cortana - which is like a free form automated database, except in an assistant.)

    I would love to see tech sites notice and showcase and teach users features like this - especially key concepts that are so crucial and important to users. I am often surprised when I notice that main/key features of an OS technology are simply missed by tech writers and never mentioned in any article.

    I love the spirit of this launcher and hope that they might continue to try to implement some of the possible additional link/shortcut concepts, even though the OS is lacking and App implementation of things like in-App content links are not a thing in Android.

  10. Jonne70

    Looks great, love the look of it and. However, can't use it because of a few showstopper issues:

    • The calendar tile does not work with the Outlook app. So no way of showing your upcoming appointments if you want to use Outlook and not the google calendar. That's a huge drawback.
    • The app freezes for 10-20 seconds when trying to move tiles around on the screen almost every time. Very annoying. Don't know it's because I enabled live tiles.

    And I guess no support to be had for showing weather forecasts.

  11. hometoy

    I'm surprised nobody did this earlier than now.

    • Brazbit

      In reply to hometoy:

      I first used Launcher 8, which is essentially the same thing, to get a feel for Windows Phone on my Samsung Galaxy S4 years ago before making the switch to Windows Phone (Nokia 1020) and would have never looked back had Microsoft kept Windows Phone alive. When they killed phone I switched back to Android and immediately loaded Launcher 8 again. It allows me to keep the interface I want while having all the "benefits" and frustrations of Android.

      Now if someone would just replicate the (non-Cortana) voice capabilities of Windows Phone on Android. Android handles Text Messaging by voice worse than any phone I've ever seen including early Windows Mobile and iPhones. Even with Android Auto it's nearly useless.

    • josephgerth

      In reply to hometoy:

      Someone did. I've been using Square Home for at least 5 months. It has everything that W10M did, but I miss the panning effect that occurred when you scroll down. Other than that, though, this can do everything my W10M handset could and more.

  12. dontbe evil

    it's still not the same, windows mobile was much better

  13. gregsedwards

    Well, that does it. I'm switching to Android.

  14. petrolemo

    Hey Paul, I hope you can try Evie launcher and report back. I prefer it to Pixel and MS Launcher, which is very good but lacks the efficiency and fluidity of Evie (paired with Pix UI Icon Pack 2, Evie could be an even better Pixel experience than Pixel launcher)

    I've been experimenting with Launcher 10 lately and it's much improved.

  15. napkatz

    I paid the $6.99 for the Live Tile unlock. I have to say. It is really really good. I did a review of it on YouTube.