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[LAUNCHER APP][5.0+][New | Release] GCA Launcher 2

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Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
After a long year of lockdown, we're on year 3 of development. The Insider Preview for GCA Launcher 2 is here.

GCA Launcher is a non-tradition, non-grid, single screen launcher inspired by Chromium OS. When I was first introduced to Chromium OS, I really liked how it didnt exactly bring the same exact andriod interface to the pc scene but i liked how clean the interface was. I wanted to build a launcher that revolved around the same infastructure but at the same time, bring features to the table that made Android, well Android.

In Year 3 of development, I decided that what we had for the past 2 years needed looked over. What we attempted in past updates that didnt work and what did work. What users liked in the past and how I could revisit current features. I wanted to bring more pixel like features into the launcher. I wanted more traditional launcher interfaces to be mixed in. I wanted the launcher to completly change how we look at custom launchers going forward and what capability we exactly have instead of kanging Launcher3 source code and calling it an entirely different Launcher.

THE HOMESCREEN
The homescreen remains the same as it has for the past 2 years but with some interesting new features added in the mix. The Shelf has now been revamped to interact with swiping and gestures in realtime instead of a slight delay as it was before. By lifting up on the Shelf, The App Drawer will appear and the Shelf will transition out. Exiting the App Drawer can be done by using the navigation bar or by Pulling Down and engage the new Pull Down Actionbar. When you pull down, youll notice some actions appear, while dragging, swipe to the left or right to access an action. The default action will dismiss the app drawer. The first Right action is to refresh the app drawer, the furthest right action is a shortcut to google assistant. The first Left action is the app drawer option menu which will allow a second tap (and possibly more features in the future), the second action to the left is to edit the current tab. These actions can also be accessed by double tapping the app drawer tab layout or by long pressing the current tab. The App drawer will also show recent apps when usage stats are enabled and Recent actions when those are enabled. Long pressing on an up will bring up a popup menu. This menu will show some basic actions (based on the type of app it is, Actions will also differ from the Shelf rather than the Drawer). Pressing the "More" Action will expand the App Sheet (We will talk about those below!). The Edit Action will allow the user to edit the Icon(More below!) and the Shortcut action in the Shelf will allow the user to swap out the app. The Shelf Searchbar is the default searchbar that provides some extra perks rather than the supported Google Search Widget or the Seseme Searchbar Widget. GCA's Searchbar provides left and right swipe actions, a shortcut to google search, lens, and assistant while also providing a spot to list your 2 recent app actions. The searchbar themes against the Shelf or can be customized.

LAUNCHER SHEETS
Sheets were inspired by Google's Material Components and replaces a major element in the launcher scene.

Let's start with the App Sheets. The App sheet will appear when the user uses the "More" action in the popup menu. Sheets will present to the user 3 main groups of information. ACTIONS, NOTIFICATIONS, and SHORTCUTS. Actions are basically system shortcuts found in pixel launcher's popup menu but redesigned as chips. More actions can be enabled in the Launcher Settings Menu Category and more actions will appear based on the type of app as well. Action Dash is also supported as a major action when the app is installed(Trying to see what else I can do with Action Dash for the future, Action Dash team says the api is public but doesn't provide any information on how to access it for launchers). (Once the Notification Provider is enabled) App Sheets will also show an apps active notifications. Clicking on the notification will be the same as opening your statusbar and accessing it from their. Im also working on allowing sheets to show notification actions and getting swipe actions for dismissal. Shortcuts are what it says. Android Naugat app shortcuts will appear as their available. This shortcut list will also generate actions based on some logic behind the scense.

Widget Sheets are still in development and I'm still working on how I want to approach these.

The Search Sheet I havnt touched since the last build so its still boring and ugly

The Notification Sheet will do as the App Sheets. It will show ALL the current activie notifications. If your on Android Oreo+, it will also list any snoozed notifications. Again, Im working on improving the Notification access in GCA Launcher but this alone was a huge step in development.

The Groups Sheet will list all your current App Groups. If your confused of what a "Group" is, let's talk about it. Groups are custom categories or folders of apps you can create. By going in the Groups Manager, you create a name for the group and than add all the apps you want in this group. When you access the Group from the Sheet, a seperate window will appear and show all the apps in that group as it were a small app drawer.

BADGES
GCA Launcher brings 4 different app badges to the table. Dots, Badge Counts, Underline and Dynamic. Dots have been redesigned to behave abit differently than pixel launcher. As notification counts increase, the border of the Dot will get darker. Underlines are just, well underlines...Badge Counts will show the current count of active notifications for an app. Dynamic Badges are something new. I wanted to create something similar to Nova Launcher but ofcourse from my own perspective. As notifications increase for an app, it monitors the notifications in the background and watches the notification icons used. The icon is than rendered as a badge and placed on the app, if different notifications not regarding the same subject take place, the icons are bunch together as a single badge. This is still new and not exactly working to my expectations yet but it still works. Ive also tried backporting it as far back as I can.

ICONS
GCA Launcher has been given a brand new database to handle icons. This took the majority of my time but Im very satisfied with the results and also provides me access to a whole bunch more of customization to come. Icons can now be edited from the edit action. From the Edit Activity, users can monkey around with the icon to make it look more suetible for their current theme. You can change the label, toggle icon themeing from icon packs, use GCA's adaptive fallback or change the icon entirely but clicking on the icon and it will list current available providers such as icon packs or your gallery.
Users can also go in the launcher settings and manually adjust launcher wide changes like icon size, shadow settings and other options.

NOTIFICATION LISTNENER
Just a general warning, once the notificaiton listener is enabled for GCA Launcher. This launcher will listen on your notifications for the app sheets and badges. This had to be done to change the game for badges and sheets to work to my expectations so if you don't feel comfortable with this, don't enable it but understand, no data is being saved or sent anywere in any way with this approach, just listened to. In the past builds, GCA had to save data to render badges, this is no longer the case.

LAUNCHER SETTTINGS
The launcher settings was the most interesting part about this project. I wanted a complete redesign. A complete do over. Something new and fresh. When you access the launcher settings, it uses a side bar interface with a mix of material component design. Click on an icon on the side scroller to navigate the different setting categories or pull out the side drawer to see suggestions and actions. This a whole bunch of stuff in here to play with and I do expect some problems here and there so please report back with issues!

PRO FEATURES
GCA LAUNCHER IS NO LONGER AN ALL FREE LAUNCHER. With the pandemic and everything else going on in my life, I had to make the choice to make GCA Launcher a profitable project. Unlike other premium launchers where the user buys a premium key and everything unlocks, GCA Launcher DOES NOT USE THIS APPROACH. Users can now buy individual pro features based on their needs and wants. I am working on ways to reward users with discounts and/or if you have purchased pledges in the past. Pledges are just donations and don't reward you with anything however I am working on getting pledged users discounts to reep benifits from. I am also working on discount days and special events to earn pro features. This is an entirely new direction for launchers, so yeah im a tad nervous about it but being the first launcher dev to approach this, im excited at the same time. Once you purchase a pro feature, it should unlock automatically from the launcher settings or just implement itself under the hood. If it doesnt seem to stick properly, reboot the launcher or make sure the pro feature has been purchased.

PRO FEATURES FOR NONE GOOGLE USERS
I have no idea how im going to approach this yet so please be patient with a fix.

Current Features
  • Launcher supports work profile apps and dual apps
  • Launcher is designed for the full screen gesture system but with restrictions.
  • Groups allow users to create organized folders of apps available in the Groups Sheet
  • Search for apps
  • A minimal but powerful single screen interface
  • Launcher Sheets are a new approach to menus and options for the launcher and apps.
  • The App Drawer Swipe Actionbar is accessed by dragging down the app drawer and slide your finger to a specific action. This is a relatively new interface and we will improve on this soon.
  • The Shelf offers specific actions for apps that differ from the Drawer apps. One option in specific is the favorite action.
  • Shelf can now hold up to 12 favorite apps.
  • The Shelf and App Drawer apps will feature different system shortcuts and features in the app sheet. Long clicking on an app will make a popup menu appear, click the hamburger menu for a sheet menu
  • Apps can be edited in 2 options. The physical editing and the personal options. Personal options are in the launcher settings and allow options like icon sizes, label editing and shape shifting. Physical options can be found in the popup menu by clicking edit. This allows adaptive override, icon pack editing, scale and label editing.
  • The Shelf features a revised searchbar that can be toggled to the Top, Bottom or Removed completely. The searchbar features a shortcut to open the launcher menu, a global search feature, an assistant shortcut and has an option to store and track the usage of App Shortcuts to feature a recent actions holder.
  • The App drawer features the pixel launcher carot indicator. It acts as an all apps indicator and button.
  • The App Drawer has 4 main styles. Vertical Grid, Horizontal Grid, Smart Grid and Smart Vertical List. Smart Grid and Smart List uses Flex Layout Manager to determine the space available for your apps and makes calculations by itself to determine whats best for your device.
  • The Blacklist is for the Primary Tab of apps that blocks apps. The Whitelist for the secondary tab is to show apps.
  • The App Drawer is built on a fastscroll functionality. It does not have a drag indicator as of right now. Its built on the idea of being smooth and fast.
  • Recent Apps now uses Usage Stats Data. This gives Recent Apps a 100% reliable stat and not clutter up the app drawer when its not in use. The list will update on a regular basis.
  • Recent Apps don't have a long click listener (no sheets).
  • The Shelf and App Drawer themes are based on a sheet style. They overlap each other creating some interesting twist to style.
  • The App Drawer has 2 tabs for the user. The primary tab and the secondary tab. Long clicking on a tab will open up the respective Black or White list. Both tabs update and sync respectively
  • App Shortcuts are generated based on the Android OS and can be found in the app sheets when set to the default launcher(Android 5-7 will have custom shortcuts in the future, developing something currently)
  • GCA Notification Badges are completely new. Users can respectively choose between dots, badge counts, underlines and dynamic badges.
  • Active Notifications appear in app sheets showing users a preview of current notifications. Clicking on the notification will take you to that action. The notification sheet will display all your active notifications and snoozed notifications.
  • Launcher notifications (updates, firebase messages and alerts) are saved in the notifications window.
  • Users can manage a blacklist of notification badges
  • Launcher sheets can be accessed from the launcher menu.
  • The launcher homescreen can use a single widget. This widget can be swapped out by using the Widget action in the launcher menu or if your on Android 8.x, you can access widgets from an apps system shortcut
  • Widgets can be resized by long clicking on them and a resize module will appear.
  • System theming
  • Launcher settings features smart suggestions that appear on certain variables when available
  • Launcher features a revised theme system based on Pixel Launcher. As the wallpaper changes, theme system will automatically update its color scheme. The color scheme can be swapped in the theme and style settings. This does not apply to live wallpapers unless a static wallpaper was applied.
  • The Launcher is buikt on the latest android sdk and as a focus, different features are locked out based on the operating system your using.
  • Launcher Settings uses a Quick Navigation slider panel to navigate category settings.
  • GCA Launcher is free to download but i am working on an entire database or pre features you will be able to purchase. The Insider Preview offers all of these features free during testing. Pro features will be sold individually.
  • System Shortcut options that are available (Application Information, Application Usage Stats, Battery Usage, Notification Channels, Sharing, Playstore link, Relaunch application, Uninstall application, Widget preview and clear notifications) Clicking the small arrows above quick scroll through your options.
  • Long clicking on an Application Shortcut will automatically add it to the recent actions list in the searchbar (for ex: I usually have incognito tab for chrome and my apps from playstore)
  • Customizable Gesture System (wip)
  • GCA Launcher uses my Drywall app as its main wallpaper provider app. Download it as an optional add-on for extra wallpaper management features, otherwise it will allow you to choose your wallpaper app.
  • Unique and Different for you

UPDATE 06/08
I have officially launched GCA Launcher 2 on google play, I will provide this apk below to manually install for yourself. I have implemented Google Plays ota updater inside the launcher settings so it will prep you for any further updates needed!
The Insider Preview will continue going forward to help maintant stability and community contribution. These small updates will focus on bigger pictures and will lead into more frequent updates on the stable channel. Be sure to join the telegram channel for discussion or issue reporting.

To join the Insider Preview, sign up for GCA Launcher 2 open beta below, once you have become a beta tester, the Insider Preview builds should be available through google play.

Links:
XDA Original Post
V1 XDA Thread
Drywall Wallpaper Manager
Launcher Manager for Testing Launchers

GCA Telegram Channel
GCA Telegram News Channel

External APK = Download
Sign Up For Insider Preview = Web Android
Get GCA Launcher Google Play
Insider Blog Post : https://gocalsdb.wordpress.com/2021/03/20/gca2-insider-preview-is-live/
 
Last edited:

Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
General Note:
This is a pre beta of which means parts of the launcher are not even functional yet. I did a pre beta to find errors i couldn't find myself and to get feedback on the progress we currently are at. If you see a page that is blank or something isn't functional, chances are it wasn't ready for the public yet. Please be patient with things.

Common Questions:
Why does GCA Launchers Adaptive icons behave so differently compared to the ones found in stock launchers?
-That is because the icons use a different mechanic and were made from scratch so everyone could enjoy adaptive icons and it not be exclusive to 7.1+ users. My icons can be modified from the icon to the shape override.

Can we get a launcher import option?
-No, not currently. Almost all launchers that exist use the base of Googles Launcher3 which adding an import option for them is easy. I would have to take the database, tear it apart, create a converter and place the data we need were it belongs. We are not there yet.

The System UI seems to behave differently from other apps.
-GCA Launcher has a theme engine similar to pixel launcher and trys to make the choice of a light or dark navbar or statusbar. Using Android10s dark mode may confuse things but eventually il have it all sorted out.

The launcher interface isn't what I expected. Shouldn't it behave like pixel launcher?
-No, it behaves like it should be. How it was designed.

Does it support quickswitch?
-It never will unless Google changes the api for the recents provider. I blame the lawnchair team of this common question as many users have assumed this is a premium feature now and should be supported by all launchers now which isn't the case.

Does this launcher support dark mode from android10?
-yes but we have some work todo yet

Why do things look weird in the launcher settings? Preference category is hard to read and matches the toolbar color.
-Try changing the color scheme in the style settings. This is the GCA theme engine at work.

Ratings:
If you post a rating for GCA Launcher coming from V1, more than likely i will dis regard it. V1 is being deprecated soon and all bugs and errors you will find in V1 on the playstore are being disregarded. V2 is a rewrite with new features and new bugs.
 
Last edited:

Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
Screenshots of V2
 

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Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
I updated the build earlier to fix something for Android 8 users and ended up screwing something up for Android 9 users so il be keeping tabs on everything as much as possible but I will not be able to do anything if no one says anything. Please provide feedback as much as possible. Thank you in advanced.

Those of you keeping me informed of crashes, thank you, thank you, thank you
 

hatdrc

Senior Member
Feb 17, 2012
200
75
Phoenix
Google Pixel 4 XL
I just installed this and have only played with it for a few minutes. A couple things I have noticed.

The status bar icons and time take on the same color as the wallpaper. I installed and ran it with a white background. The status bar icons were white, when I changed to a black background they changed to black as well.

I can't get the size of the icons to save. When I go to settings>theme and style>launcher icon I change the size from small to normal but when you click ok and go back into the setting it says small again.

I also would get where the phone would default back to the stock launcher.

Maybe I didn't play around with it enough but how do you set apps on the dock?

I will mess with it some more tomorrow and let you know if I find anything else.

Also I am on a Pixel 4 XL on March update. Not rooted or unlocked
 

Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
I just installed this and have only played with it for a few minutes. A couple things I have noticed.

The status bar icons and time take on the same color as the wallpaper. I installed and ran it with a white background. The status bar icons were white, when I changed to a black background they changed to black as well.

I can't get the size of the icons to save. When I go to settings>theme and style>launcher icon I change the size from small to normal but when you click ok and go back into the setting it says small again.

I also would get where the phone would default back to the stock launcher.

Maybe I didn't play around with it enough but how do you set apps on the dock?

I will mess with it some more tomorrow and let you know if I find anything else.

Also I am on a Pixel 4 XL on March update. Not rooted or unlocked


Shelf apps can be changed by long clicking on a Shelf favorite and their will be a Favorite option to select a different package. This option isn't available in the App Drawer apps so it might be easy to miss.

When changing the icon sizes, make sure your changing the icon size and bot just the text size. Both options are in one dialog.

Id your having a hard time switching out your default launcher, you can use my No'Me app i have listed above. It helps alot.
 

Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
The app in your GDrive is (always) updated ?
Going to test your launcher by curiosity.
Thx !

Yes, I keep both Gdrive and Telegram beta channel updated. I will be publishing the beta build on Playstore when i feel its stable enough. Right now, we constantly keep running into something that prevents me from doing so.
 

Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
Hi, I was wondering if you could add an import feature?
I take a lot of time to setup my whole homescreen and it would be amazing to have an import feature. Thanks

I want to import my nova launcher setup to this launcher.

That won't happen because this launcher uses a different style and approach to the launcher scene. The most customization you will do in this launcher is color scheme and icon theming
 

vpguru

Member
May 9, 2014
9
1
Hi,

I was more curious and installed it in my android 8.0 with custom system UI colours (non rooted).

when I set as launcher, the system UI get restarted again and again. Finally, it ended up with Factory reset.
 

PaulDnoOb

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2013
343
67
San Fernando
beautiful launcher ? works great on my old Nokia 8, on my Nova 5T not so much (cause Huawei) I'll watch the progress of this launcher from now on, thank you for this, Pledge doesn't work on the pre- beta
 
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ununununun

New member
Mar 29, 2020
1
1
Great launcher

Great launcher but it's a bit buggy for me on One UI. The header text is dark in the settings and also in app options when using dark mode and adaptive icons don't work properly for Samsung apps. The status bar also is dark on home screen and blends in with the wallpaper so it's hard to read. Also when you open the app drawer the shelf doesn't completely hide the app icons (the top portion is still visible). I don't know if that's by design but it looks weird. Search doesn't work (probably because I don't have the Google app installed but if that's the case I wish there was an option to disable it). Creating a widget causes the launcher to freeze, and it only recovers when I clear data and force stop. When you press and hold an icon, even if the side menu shows up partially, if you leave pressing the app, the app will launch. You have to wait for the side menu to completely open. That's not much of an issue once you get used it's behavior. It's an early build so the bugs are expected but I thought I will report them anyways.
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Nx Biotic

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2010
1,650
2,168
rgocal.github.io
Great launcher but it's a bit buggy for me on One UI. The header text is dark in the settings and also in app options when using dark mode and adaptive icons don't work properly for Samsung apps. The status bar also is dark on home screen and blends in with the wallpaper so it's hard to read. Also when you open the app drawer the shelf doesn't completely hide the app icons (the top portion is still visible). I don't know if that's by design but it looks weird. Search doesn't work (probably because I don't have the Google app installed but if that's the case I wish there was an option to disable it). Creating a widget causes the launcher to freeze, and it only recovers when I clear data and force stop. When you press and hold an icon, even if the side menu shows up partially, if you leave pressing the app, the app will launch. You have to wait for the side menu to completely open. That's not much of an issue once you get used it's behavior. It's an early build so the bugs are expected but I thought I will report them anyways.

Thank you for your feedback
 

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  • 1
    The Insider previews (Beta updates) have come to an end and users will see the next update towards the end of November / intro to December. This will be classified as the end of the year update and will lead us into the next year of development which will focus on quality of life, performance, and translation support.

    Material You and MonetCompat will be a big focus in the next few weeks as development in the background continues.

    we'll see big improvements for performance, icons, customization and user desktop interface.
  • 18
    After a long year of lockdown, we're on year 3 of development. The Insider Preview for GCA Launcher 2 is here.

    GCA Launcher is a non-tradition, non-grid, single screen launcher inspired by Chromium OS. When I was first introduced to Chromium OS, I really liked how it didnt exactly bring the same exact andriod interface to the pc scene but i liked how clean the interface was. I wanted to build a launcher that revolved around the same infastructure but at the same time, bring features to the table that made Android, well Android.

    In Year 3 of development, I decided that what we had for the past 2 years needed looked over. What we attempted in past updates that didnt work and what did work. What users liked in the past and how I could revisit current features. I wanted to bring more pixel like features into the launcher. I wanted more traditional launcher interfaces to be mixed in. I wanted the launcher to completly change how we look at custom launchers going forward and what capability we exactly have instead of kanging Launcher3 source code and calling it an entirely different Launcher.

    THE HOMESCREEN
    The homescreen remains the same as it has for the past 2 years but with some interesting new features added in the mix. The Shelf has now been revamped to interact with swiping and gestures in realtime instead of a slight delay as it was before. By lifting up on the Shelf, The App Drawer will appear and the Shelf will transition out. Exiting the App Drawer can be done by using the navigation bar or by Pulling Down and engage the new Pull Down Actionbar. When you pull down, youll notice some actions appear, while dragging, swipe to the left or right to access an action. The default action will dismiss the app drawer. The first Right action is to refresh the app drawer, the furthest right action is a shortcut to google assistant. The first Left action is the app drawer option menu which will allow a second tap (and possibly more features in the future), the second action to the left is to edit the current tab. These actions can also be accessed by double tapping the app drawer tab layout or by long pressing the current tab. The App drawer will also show recent apps when usage stats are enabled and Recent actions when those are enabled. Long pressing on an up will bring up a popup menu. This menu will show some basic actions (based on the type of app it is, Actions will also differ from the Shelf rather than the Drawer). Pressing the "More" Action will expand the App Sheet (We will talk about those below!). The Edit Action will allow the user to edit the Icon(More below!) and the Shortcut action in the Shelf will allow the user to swap out the app. The Shelf Searchbar is the default searchbar that provides some extra perks rather than the supported Google Search Widget or the Seseme Searchbar Widget. GCA's Searchbar provides left and right swipe actions, a shortcut to google search, lens, and assistant while also providing a spot to list your 2 recent app actions. The searchbar themes against the Shelf or can be customized.

    LAUNCHER SHEETS
    Sheets were inspired by Google's Material Components and replaces a major element in the launcher scene.

    Let's start with the App Sheets. The App sheet will appear when the user uses the "More" action in the popup menu. Sheets will present to the user 3 main groups of information. ACTIONS, NOTIFICATIONS, and SHORTCUTS. Actions are basically system shortcuts found in pixel launcher's popup menu but redesigned as chips. More actions can be enabled in the Launcher Settings Menu Category and more actions will appear based on the type of app as well. Action Dash is also supported as a major action when the app is installed(Trying to see what else I can do with Action Dash for the future, Action Dash team says the api is public but doesn't provide any information on how to access it for launchers). (Once the Notification Provider is enabled) App Sheets will also show an apps active notifications. Clicking on the notification will be the same as opening your statusbar and accessing it from their. Im also working on allowing sheets to show notification actions and getting swipe actions for dismissal. Shortcuts are what it says. Android Naugat app shortcuts will appear as their available. This shortcut list will also generate actions based on some logic behind the scense.

    Widget Sheets are still in development and I'm still working on how I want to approach these.

    The Search Sheet I havnt touched since the last build so its still boring and ugly

    The Notification Sheet will do as the App Sheets. It will show ALL the current activie notifications. If your on Android Oreo+, it will also list any snoozed notifications. Again, Im working on improving the Notification access in GCA Launcher but this alone was a huge step in development.

    The Groups Sheet will list all your current App Groups. If your confused of what a "Group" is, let's talk about it. Groups are custom categories or folders of apps you can create. By going in the Groups Manager, you create a name for the group and than add all the apps you want in this group. When you access the Group from the Sheet, a seperate window will appear and show all the apps in that group as it were a small app drawer.

    BADGES
    GCA Launcher brings 4 different app badges to the table. Dots, Badge Counts, Underline and Dynamic. Dots have been redesigned to behave abit differently than pixel launcher. As notification counts increase, the border of the Dot will get darker. Underlines are just, well underlines...Badge Counts will show the current count of active notifications for an app. Dynamic Badges are something new. I wanted to create something similar to Nova Launcher but ofcourse from my own perspective. As notifications increase for an app, it monitors the notifications in the background and watches the notification icons used. The icon is than rendered as a badge and placed on the app, if different notifications not regarding the same subject take place, the icons are bunch together as a single badge. This is still new and not exactly working to my expectations yet but it still works. Ive also tried backporting it as far back as I can.

    ICONS
    GCA Launcher has been given a brand new database to handle icons. This took the majority of my time but Im very satisfied with the results and also provides me access to a whole bunch more of customization to come. Icons can now be edited from the edit action. From the Edit Activity, users can monkey around with the icon to make it look more suetible for their current theme. You can change the label, toggle icon themeing from icon packs, use GCA's adaptive fallback or change the icon entirely but clicking on the icon and it will list current available providers such as icon packs or your gallery.
    Users can also go in the launcher settings and manually adjust launcher wide changes like icon size, shadow settings and other options.

    NOTIFICATION LISTNENER
    Just a general warning, once the notificaiton listener is enabled for GCA Launcher. This launcher will listen on your notifications for the app sheets and badges. This had to be done to change the game for badges and sheets to work to my expectations so if you don't feel comfortable with this, don't enable it but understand, no data is being saved or sent anywere in any way with this approach, just listened to. In the past builds, GCA had to save data to render badges, this is no longer the case.

    LAUNCHER SETTTINGS
    The launcher settings was the most interesting part about this project. I wanted a complete redesign. A complete do over. Something new and fresh. When you access the launcher settings, it uses a side bar interface with a mix of material component design. Click on an icon on the side scroller to navigate the different setting categories or pull out the side drawer to see suggestions and actions. This a whole bunch of stuff in here to play with and I do expect some problems here and there so please report back with issues!

    PRO FEATURES
    GCA LAUNCHER IS NO LONGER AN ALL FREE LAUNCHER. With the pandemic and everything else going on in my life, I had to make the choice to make GCA Launcher a profitable project. Unlike other premium launchers where the user buys a premium key and everything unlocks, GCA Launcher DOES NOT USE THIS APPROACH. Users can now buy individual pro features based on their needs and wants. I am working on ways to reward users with discounts and/or if you have purchased pledges in the past. Pledges are just donations and don't reward you with anything however I am working on getting pledged users discounts to reep benifits from. I am also working on discount days and special events to earn pro features. This is an entirely new direction for launchers, so yeah im a tad nervous about it but being the first launcher dev to approach this, im excited at the same time. Once you purchase a pro feature, it should unlock automatically from the launcher settings or just implement itself under the hood. If it doesnt seem to stick properly, reboot the launcher or make sure the pro feature has been purchased.

    PRO FEATURES FOR NONE GOOGLE USERS
    I have no idea how im going to approach this yet so please be patient with a fix.

    Current Features
    • Launcher supports work profile apps and dual apps
    • Launcher is designed for the full screen gesture system but with restrictions.
    • Groups allow users to create organized folders of apps available in the Groups Sheet
    • Search for apps
    • A minimal but powerful single screen interface
    • Launcher Sheets are a new approach to menus and options for the launcher and apps.
    • The App Drawer Swipe Actionbar is accessed by dragging down the app drawer and slide your finger to a specific action. This is a relatively new interface and we will improve on this soon.
    • The Shelf offers specific actions for apps that differ from the Drawer apps. One option in specific is the favorite action.
    • Shelf can now hold up to 12 favorite apps.
    • The Shelf and App Drawer apps will feature different system shortcuts and features in the app sheet. Long clicking on an app will make a popup menu appear, click the hamburger menu for a sheet menu
    • Apps can be edited in 2 options. The physical editing and the personal options. Personal options are in the launcher settings and allow options like icon sizes, label editing and shape shifting. Physical options can be found in the popup menu by clicking edit. This allows adaptive override, icon pack editing, scale and label editing.
    • The Shelf features a revised searchbar that can be toggled to the Top, Bottom or Removed completely. The searchbar features a shortcut to open the launcher menu, a global search feature, an assistant shortcut and has an option to store and track the usage of App Shortcuts to feature a recent actions holder.
    • The App drawer features the pixel launcher carot indicator. It acts as an all apps indicator and button.
    • The App Drawer has 4 main styles. Vertical Grid, Horizontal Grid, Smart Grid and Smart Vertical List. Smart Grid and Smart List uses Flex Layout Manager to determine the space available for your apps and makes calculations by itself to determine whats best for your device.
    • The Blacklist is for the Primary Tab of apps that blocks apps. The Whitelist for the secondary tab is to show apps.
    • The App Drawer is built on a fastscroll functionality. It does not have a drag indicator as of right now. Its built on the idea of being smooth and fast.
    • Recent Apps now uses Usage Stats Data. This gives Recent Apps a 100% reliable stat and not clutter up the app drawer when its not in use. The list will update on a regular basis.
    • Recent Apps don't have a long click listener (no sheets).
    • The Shelf and App Drawer themes are based on a sheet style. They overlap each other creating some interesting twist to style.
    • The App Drawer has 2 tabs for the user. The primary tab and the secondary tab. Long clicking on a tab will open up the respective Black or White list. Both tabs update and sync respectively
    • App Shortcuts are generated based on the Android OS and can be found in the app sheets when set to the default launcher(Android 5-7 will have custom shortcuts in the future, developing something currently)
    • GCA Notification Badges are completely new. Users can respectively choose between dots, badge counts, underlines and dynamic badges.
    • Active Notifications appear in app sheets showing users a preview of current notifications. Clicking on the notification will take you to that action. The notification sheet will display all your active notifications and snoozed notifications.
    • Launcher notifications (updates, firebase messages and alerts) are saved in the notifications window.
    • Users can manage a blacklist of notification badges
    • Launcher sheets can be accessed from the launcher menu.
    • The launcher homescreen can use a single widget. This widget can be swapped out by using the Widget action in the launcher menu or if your on Android 8.x, you can access widgets from an apps system shortcut
    • Widgets can be resized by long clicking on them and a resize module will appear.
    • System theming
    • Launcher settings features smart suggestions that appear on certain variables when available
    • Launcher features a revised theme system based on Pixel Launcher. As the wallpaper changes, theme system will automatically update its color scheme. The color scheme can be swapped in the theme and style settings. This does not apply to live wallpapers unless a static wallpaper was applied.
    • The Launcher is buikt on the latest android sdk and as a focus, different features are locked out based on the operating system your using.
    • Launcher Settings uses a Quick Navigation slider panel to navigate category settings.
    • GCA Launcher is free to download but i am working on an entire database or pre features you will be able to purchase. The Insider Preview offers all of these features free during testing. Pro features will be sold individually.
    • System Shortcut options that are available (Application Information, Application Usage Stats, Battery Usage, Notification Channels, Sharing, Playstore link, Relaunch application, Uninstall application, Widget preview and clear notifications) Clicking the small arrows above quick scroll through your options.
    • Long clicking on an Application Shortcut will automatically add it to the recent actions list in the searchbar (for ex: I usually have incognito tab for chrome and my apps from playstore)
    • Customizable Gesture System (wip)
    • GCA Launcher uses my Drywall app as its main wallpaper provider app. Download it as an optional add-on for extra wallpaper management features, otherwise it will allow you to choose your wallpaper app.
    • Unique and Different for you

    UPDATE 06/08
    I have officially launched GCA Launcher 2 on google play, I will provide this apk below to manually install for yourself. I have implemented Google Plays ota updater inside the launcher settings so it will prep you for any further updates needed!
    The Insider Preview will continue going forward to help maintant stability and community contribution. These small updates will focus on bigger pictures and will lead into more frequent updates on the stable channel. Be sure to join the telegram channel for discussion or issue reporting.

    To join the Insider Preview, sign up for GCA Launcher 2 open beta below, once you have become a beta tester, the Insider Preview builds should be available through google play.

    Links:
    XDA Original Post
    V1 XDA Thread
    Drywall Wallpaper Manager
    Launcher Manager for Testing Launchers

    GCA Telegram Channel
    GCA Telegram News Channel

    External APK = Download
    Sign Up For Insider Preview = Web Android
    Get GCA Launcher Google Play
    Insider Blog Post : https://gocalsdb.wordpress.com/2021/03/20/gca2-insider-preview-is-live/
    6
    I plan to launch GCA Launcher V2 on Google play in may so right now im focusing on cleaning up and optimization. Any features i had planned and didn't get to will be put off till a later date and improve on what we currently have.

    Once GCA V2 has been published on the playstore, Pledges should initialize for outer country users and ratings will play a big role in development. Im also watching bug reports as everyone submits them. Google play dev console will help me locate the bugs that are hiding but id like to get the majority of them knocked down before publishing.

    Next on my list is to tune up the launcher settings abit in the pre beta. I feel their are a few options that would play a bigger game if they had more options available and/or had a real time preview of what your tinkering with.

    Translation will begin shortly after publishing on Google play. Just need to see where the application is being used the most and prioritize the languages needed. A community translation project will start later.

    Thank you xda developers and surrounding community members for a successful beta launch. More to come!
    5
    Small update today for Pre-Beta
    -Sytem UI theming fixes (Oreo+ specific fixes)
    -Click Events better handled by launcher (Detects if user is wanting to launch an app or send data to app sheet)
    -Added option to trigger light or dark mode
    -Added better support for light n dark mode in app sheets
    -Minor launcher performance fixes in background
    -Prepping support for groups sheet
    5
    Just to catch everyone up on development, here's what is going down in the background.

    Initially, i had setup a plan to release a 3 part update in June and than a stable release in August. With Google pushing android 11 out the door, things changed. For those who haven't had a chance to try android 11 yet, its a whole new system for the next generation. It focuses on security, new guidelines and personalization. With that said, alot of launchers will be broken before being adapted to android 11. I wanted GCA to be an exception. Apps are no longer to communicate with another without certain permissions, app data is handled differently based on the system user and trying to make a homescreen experience that blends in with the new personalization coming.

    With that lingering in the background, i had no choice but to stop what i was doing and upgrade the database for GCA to be compatible with Android 11. This meant for a few big things to happen. Work profile or dual app support is coming. GCA Launcher will be able to distinguish which user is using the app and handle data going forward. Icons will be handled with a new rendering system which will present to the user new options of customization and higher quality. A search function will be adapted in the app drawer like the pre alpha because of the new database. The app drawers now have a dynamic customization system that allows instant changes based on the primary or secondary tab. Sheets will be updated to improve on what they currently do. Badges will do more than what they currently offer. The launcher theme engine will be updated and personalization will be revamped to offer more. Not to mention some security options il be adding.

    With all these changes means a bigger package and sacrifices to be made. Will the launcher be android go friendly anymore? Will we be able to keep feature x for feature z? Etc...

    Alot of people are requesting features from nova launcher or action launcher. Im trying my best not to be a copy cat. Its hard to look at something and try to figure it out from a different angle. How can we adapt customization over icons by doing it our way? How can we adapt in dynamic notification badges with our system? How can we implement a newsfeed without it lagging the system. Lots of questions, answers tp figure out.

    Pledges are important as they fund the project. The next update will feature monthly goals and were the community stands at it. I will personal update this information when needed so community members can see where the project stands as an investment. Pledges fund the project. Its what makes the launcher free. Without pledges, il have to go back to premium features which i don't want todo.

    As far everything else goes, everyone has been on point for feedback, request and reports. Especially the telegram crew.

    Cheers everyone, regards Nx
    4
    I plan to publish GCA Launcher V2 on the beta channel of Google Play and xda labs by tomorrow. I will update the OP with further details once publish. There are a handful of things we need to focus on first before moving forward with new features i have planned.

    Thank you all to those who participated