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Get the Ice Cream Sandwich launcher on your Gingerbread device

Get your hands on a piece of Android's ICS flavor without needing to upgrade your device--yet.

Stock Gingerbread launcher versus the Ice Cream Sandwich launcher. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

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At this point, you might be tired of waiting for an ICS update for your Android. Or worse, your device might not be on the list of phones receiving the update. In either case, you can now snag some of that ICS awesomeness by using Phoenix Launcher on your phone. This app will add the ICS launcher to your Gingerbread device, giving you the look and (possibly) feel of using Android's newest flavor.

Note: Launchers on Android will allow you to change the way you interact with the Home screens of your device. The arrangement of docked icons at the bottom of the screen, along with navigation buttons, are both part of a launcher. There are lots of options for launchers, but for this purpose we're going to work with Phoenix Launcher.

First you'll need to grab a copy of Phoenix Launcher from Google Play. There are free and Pro versions available.

Tip: The first time you use this launcher it will erase shortcut icons from your Home screens. It might be a good idea to make a mental or written note of where everything is located so setting it back up will be faster.

Features (Free version):

- 5 workspaces

- Included Android 4 wallpaper

- very smooth scrolling

- Enabled for LDPI, MDPI, and HDPI devices

And for the Pro version:


- Choice between 3,5,7, or 9 workspaces

- Set your favorite workspace as default

- Enable/Disable wallpaper scroll

- Choice between two hardware home key actions (workspace overview and "snap to default workspace")

- Show or hide the workspace indicator

- Enable or disable icon text backgrounds

- capability to change dockbar style up to nine styles

- Included Android 4 wallpaper

- very smooth scrolling

- Enabled for LDPI, MDPI, and HDPI devices

After you install your preferred version, simply press the Home button on your phone; a "Complete action using" pop-up will appear. Choose Phoenix Launcher Free from the list in the pop-up. You can select this launcher as your default, but it's better to try it out before you make that change.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

That's all you need to do! Now you'll have the ICS launcher on your phone, and can reorganize your Home screens to your liking.

The launcher will look like this. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Get the Ice Cream Sandwich keyboard on your Android phone. If you love getting ICS features without needing to upgrade your phone, you may also want to check out how to get the Ice Cream Sandwich keyboard and how to get the Ice Cream Sandwich camera app.