ADW Launcher, and its paid, more feature-filled brother, ADW EX, had its moment in the sun last year, but quickly faded in popularity and user base when Ice Cream Sandwich was released. Other custom launchers like Nova and Apex were based on the ICS source code and were not only faster but more flexible. Still, ADW has maintained a huge customer base for legacy devices, compatible with Android versions all the way back to 1.6 Donut.
Now the team has launched a brand new version, and it is amazing. Not only is the new ADW insanely fast, but it brings many of the Jelly Bean launcher improvements to devices running much older versions of Android. The new home screen, while resembling pieces of its previous lineage, looks little like the ADW we knew. It’s smooth as butter, especially on devices running ICS or above. The app is still compatible with the thousands of themes created for previous versions of ADW, and there are so many ways to customize the look, everyone will have a completely different-looking Android home screen by the end of the set up.
Speaking of set up, ADW briefs all new users with a thorough tutorial: gestures, ActionBar tweaks, flick icons off screen to remove — they’re all there.
While the free version provides most basic functionality, ADW EX, which sells for $3, give you 10 app drawer styles and a number of extras.