Thursday, 11 December 2014

New App Launcher Position & Easy Unlock Launched in Latest Developer Channel Release Of Chrome OS

New app launcher position

In the latest developer build of Chrome OS Version 41.0.2243.0 dev (64-bit) Google has made the centered app launcher that has been available for a while under a flag the default launcher position, and while the flag still exists to enable the centered launcher it's inactive as flipping it to disable doesn't do anything.

The new app launcher has the search box along the top with a big Google logo underneath it, with your recently used apps running from left to right and an all apps icon on the far right.

New chrome OS app launcher layout

In my opinion the recent apps list is a bit redundant as the shelf seems the most logical place to pin apps that you use frequently & having them on the launcher Homepage when you've used them seem a bit pointless, maybe adding a setting in Settings to exclude apps pinned to the Shelf from the recent apps could be implemented.

The all apps page is certainly better as you can get more apps, folders or both on one page.

New all apps page

This new style could have quite easily been implemented while keeping the old layout simply by widening the app launcher and adding the new Homepage instead of doing a Microsoft and moving the app launcher from the bottom left to the middle. This move could quite easily be a repeat of what Microsoft faced when they pulled the Start Menu for the Start Screen in Windows 8.

Easy Unlock

Easy Unlock has been activated by default in this Dev Build, but as it requires an Android 5.0 device to work then I've been unable to try it.


So far I've found three bugs in the build. The English GB Keyboard Layout is exactly the same as the English US Layout meaning that the pound symbol is no longer available in the GB Keyboard Layout and the @ symbol and " are in the US positions.

The Search key only opens the app launcher intermittently along with the Windows Key on my Wireless Keyboard doing the same thing.

 The Caps Lock combination Alt+Search no longer works, but the Caps Lock Key on my Wireless Keyboard still works all be it without the Caps Lock icon popping up in System Tray.


These three bugs and the killer for productivity in the new location for the app launcher this build seems pretty solid so far.

I'd like to see the System Tray & Notification Centre relocated to the top right hand side of the Desktop and turning the shelf into a full length dock for icons, as you don't get much space for icons on the shelf using the standard screen resolution.



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