Aviate (Android) review: A smarter Android home screen

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The Good Aviate streamlines your phone to make it easier to find the apps you want.

The Bad You cannot create your own app categories, and the layout is rigid.

The Bottom Line Aviate makes your Android easier to use, by smartly predicting what apps you need, when you need them.


8.8 Overall
  • Setup 10
  • Features 9
  • Interface 8
  • Performance 9

Editors' note, June 23, 2014: Aviate has left beta and is now available for anyone to download.

Aviate is a free Android launcher that transforms your home screen to show the apps it thinks are useful, depending on where you are and the time of day. It does that by grouping your apps into themed collections, such as Home, Morning, Nearby, and Night Time, and then will pull those collections onto your home screen when the time or location is right.

The app takes over your phone's home screen, changing the design of the Android skin and adding new features. Aviate's goal is turn your phone into a personal assistant that knows what you want before you even look for it.

I've used Aviate off and on as a home screen replacement for several months, and I'm impressed with how it well it gives me helpful information and apps throughout the day. I am also a huge fan of the app's design, even though I can't customize it as much as I'd like.

Getting started

Setting up Aviate is simple, just follow the tutorial. You'll need to set the app as your default home screen by tapping your home button, selecting Aviate from the menu that appears, and selecting the "always" option.

Once your new home screen is ready, you can set your home and work locations to get the full benefits from Aviate. Just swipe all the way to the right and go into settings to set those locations. This step is optional, and you don't even need to enter your exact address if you don't want -- you can enter an address that's close to your house and office. Aviate uses this information to give you app themed recommendations when you arrive at those locations.

During the setup process, the app will automatically organize your existing apps into themed collections, including Social, Photography, Entertainment, Games, Studying, and News. There's an entire page of popular collections just to the right of the home screen that's dedicated to app collections, and you can both edit which collections appear there, and which apps are in each collection. The only thing you cannot do is create a new custom collection from scratch, which is disappointing.

Smart suggestions

In Aviate, there are seven special app collections, called Spaces, that play a crucial role: Morning, Nighttime, Home, Work, Moving, Listening, and Nearby. Throughout the day, you'll see an icon for one of these Spaces on your home screen, in the top-left corner. Tap it to see a dedicated page with relevant apps and widgets. That icon changes throughout the day, depending on the time and your location.

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