back to article Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

The Nokia Z launcher is what makes its new N1 tablet special. Youtube Video The UI has shades of iPad in its appearance but claims to be a whole lot cleverer. The basic appearance is minimalist, with only a few apps, contacts and website links displayed. The “Zee” launcher is a little like (boy, people are going to hate this …

  1. Test Man


    "The Z Launcher has been in beta for a little while, with Nokia using some Samsung phones for testing, and is available now in the Google play store for Android devices running 4.1 or later."

    Might want to be slightly more specific, as it explicitly doesn't support Android 5, yet.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Hey Elop

      Hows that fucking burning platform you jumped onto doing?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another me too "veneer on top of Android" vendor.

    1. sorry, what?

      Not a vendor veneer because...

      it's just a launcher you can choose to install for yourself. Until, that is, you buy an N1. Unless, of course, the N1 allows you to install alternative launchers (which it should).

      It's interesting how this is similar to "bubble up personalization" that was trendy about 10 years ago in the various walled garden mobile operator platforms. We implemented this in our mobility platform only to find that most folks immediately turned it off because it was irritating having to "learn" the new layout of your menus (how it was back then) or apps/widgets (as it will be now).

  3. Mike Bell



  4. PaulM 1

    Will Nokia be properly supporting the N1 tablet?

    My question is whether the N1 runs stock Android which is guaranteed to be kept up to date by Google? If not then I am concerned that the N1 will not be updated to Android M (Mars Bar?) next Year.

    1. dogged

      Re: Will Nokia be properly supporting the N1 tablet?

      It does not run Google Play because Nokia still aren't keen on throwing away their own services as Google would require.

      They weren't keen before Elop, they weren't keen during Elop and they're not keen post-Elop.

      This is why Nokia never got into bed with Google. Google wouldn't (and still won't) let them bring their own pillows.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Will Nokia be properly supporting the N1 tablet?

      I hope not.

      What Nokia need to do is fork it completely so it is unrecognisable as Android.

      Or use Sailfish.

      Fingers crossed that it is not locked down and a Sailfish install is a breeze.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Will Nokia be properly supporting the N1 tablet?

        Fingers crossed that it is not locked down and a Sailfish install is a breeze

        Good luck with that: it's an Intel and the mobile devices traditionally come with secure boot.

        1. James 51

          Re: Will Nokia be properly supporting the N1 tablet?

          Would be interesting to try to stick Windows 8.1 on it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Android M (Mars Bar?)

            Android M = Marathon? Lasts a week on one charge

            Malteaser - Contains a honey trap for malware

            Macaroon - Suitable for low cost devices for African markets

            Meringue - Who rang?

            M&M - No fun for anyone. Unless they like that sort of thing

            Marshmallow - Don't think of anything scary

            Maple Syrup - It can side-load Canadian apps for BlackberryOS

  5. kmac499

    Z launcher

    I've got summat like that on my desktop PC it's called Recent Documents...

  6. Ralph B

    Some People

    I imagine that some people aren't going to be so happy to have their porn app appearing automatically on the home page, rather than staying wherever it was they hid it.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Some People

      I just upvoted you but then I realised I didn't know whether there really are such things as porn apps. Does that make me a fuddy-duddy?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some People

      Which is exactly why some people hated the Firefox awesome bar so much...

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: Some People

        Do you people not know what private browsing is?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marketing 101

    Microsoft put their name on a phone Nokia designed

    Nokia put their name on a tablet they didn't design

    result profit (?)

  8. phil dude

    owner of 2 bricks, looking for windows...

    Yes, I have 2 Nokia Bricks willing to be thrown at your Windows (tm)!

    If you have not been following the news the owners of current Non-Windozes-OS phones, have been told to get lost by Nokia/M$...including they have deleted existing apps in store, which means if you paid for something you are SOL.

    Perhaps if this dropping is android it will be easier to deploy an open-source alternative...


    1. Michael B.

      Re: owner of 2 bricks, looking for windows...

      Lets get this straight you are moaning that Nokia/Microsoft/Accenture/Whoever are closing the Symbian app store? A platform that hasn't been actively developed in any shape or form for nearly 3 years.

      1. phil dude

        Re: owner of 2 bricks, looking for windows...

        I am complaining because I PAID for apps. As this is closed system and the company that SOLD the app and provides no method of recovering the app. So in effect they have stolen my money.

        And to add to that, I have complained more than once, that Micro$oft push their CRAPPY software onto my phone without my permission, with NO way of removing it, on to the DEFAULT/root filesystem which is a precious space.

        So in effect they made my functioning phone unusable without removing apps and reinstalling elsewhere.

        Except you can't reinstall anything, because they closed the f*ing store.

        That is theft, vandalism and crap software engineering all in one. And you want to me to buy software from Micro$oft?

        I know symbian is dead. It wasn't however when I bought the phone. But this is vindictive software practices.

        I stand by my comment and you can downvote this theft, if you think that is alright.


    2. Michael B.

      Re: owner of 2 bricks, looking for windows...

      Well well it looks like your dream has come true, somebody has taken notice of the non-Windows Nokia Phones and that somebody is.... Opera. Opera will be running the app store on non-Windows Nokia phones. See below for details:

  9. Dr. Mouse


    The Z launcher certainly seems interesting. I'm sure after a few weeks of use it will be pretty good.

    I won't be making the switch yet, though. If nothing else, I can't change the docked apps at the bottom*. I'll try it out at some point and give it some time.

    * They say you have to go to your default home app and change them there. Not only is this cumbersome, but it didn't work for me. Until I can put my own stuff on there, I will not be giving it a proper go.

  10. msknight

    My view still that Nokia will return to the phone market with Sailfish in a year or so. It is interesting to me that first launch isn't taking place in the US or Europe any more, but the East, where it won't be facing the same "level" of competition from iThings or Samsung tabs ... the battle field is different.

    Jolla has got deals with carriers in China and India ... but not the UK ... I think that the structure which has formed in Europe/US over the last few years, is neatly being side-stepped and ignored, rather than being competed with head-on. That's what I find interesting to observe.

    1. Simon Rockman

      Distribution is everything

      The reason Nokia will concentrate on China, and I suspect India next, is distribution. These are very big, very poor places and distribution of high value goods is very difficult. Nokia is/was awesomely good at that. I heard drug companies complain that they couldn't get medicines to places yet Nokia and Coca Cola could.

      The only non-local company which could rival Nokia in China was Motorola, and in India Moto killed its reputation with some very poor CDMA products. Then Google took apart the Motorola distribution networks around the world.

      This all left Samsung with a clear run at the biggest markets in the world. Note, all of this is volume not money and certainly not margin.

      BUT. Nokia having had the distribution has more awareness than any other phone brand. It's going to build this business on the back of China, India and then Africa.

  11. Frankee Llonnygog

    Why can't we have this in real life?

    Imagine your light-switches and heating thermostat being able to roam your walls at will, ready to be on hand wherever they think you might need them. Possibly also able to respond to simple voice commands like 'where's the bloody light-switch gone?!'

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Why can't we have this in real life?

      Because some script kiddie will hack it so it moves away from your hand or to swap the buttons' functions. And they would upload the video that they recorded with your hacked webcam, so the whole internet can laugh at your frustration and humiliation.

  12. Old Handle
    Thumb Down

    Sounds Horrible

    Menus that rearrange themselves based on what you've used recently are bad enough, and now they want to add an extra layer of unpredictability by taking the time of day into account? Not that having to launch things by trying to scribble with your finger was ever a good idea to start with.

  13. John Jennings

    Nokia Strat

    I think that this is a spoiling move on Microsoft, and an attempt at keeping the brand.


    Nokia are not actually building the new tab (Foxconn) - the brand is what matters

    Nokias distro in China/India/Asia generally - its where it has strong channels (and the N is apparently Android 5, but it doesn't have to play in the play store)- BUT it also offers this wrapper in the play store to keep European brand awareness.

    The thing is likely to be good - I will be playing with it on a spare tablet - though unless it plays well in the store, its unlikely I would by an NX - Pity - as I always loved the old Nokia brand....


    John F J

    1. James 51

      Re: Nokia Strat

      If they can get the amazon instant video app working that would be impressive.

  14. Gavin Chester

    Isn't this just the smartphone version of the old 3310 Navi-Key

  15. Christian Berger

    Makes sense and is totally logical.

    Scribbling letters works even on small screens, and minimizing the amount of input you need based on your previous history makes sense. Similar ideas are found frequently in collapsible menus and input fields that automatically suggest common inputs.

    So yes it's nice that someone with a bit of experience looks into at least one problem of "smart"-phones.

    The real killer feature would of course be if it had an open bootloader and a PC-BIOS so I could install any operating system I want.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >Makes sense and is totally logical.

      >Scribbling letters works even on small screens,

      And on any one small part of a big screen, too - handy for when holding tablet with one hand.

  16. T. F. M. Reader

    Thanks but no thanks...

    I suspect I would find Z Launcher incredibly annoying. I most certainly do not want a phone or a tablet to guess what I am trying to do based on what I did in the past (or, extrapolating just a bit into the future, based on what others did in the past, just as Google do with their search "suggestions" that I always switch off) any more than I want Amazon to suggest I should buy stuff that I have already bought from them.

    I don't want the phone to suggest that I should fire up The Register because I do it every day. It is highly unlikely that I will unintentionally forget a regular activity. And if I am in a habit of calling my mom daily on the way to work I will set a reminder to do so, thank you very much. And, crucially, delete or modify the reminder when I want (or when we find ourselves in different timezones).

    In fact, any uncontrolled initiative on the part of my phone is NOT welcome. It should do what I tell it to do, period.

  17. SpiderPig

    watch this space....

    This is just the beginning......I bet Android is purely an interim OS solution and the platform will be running Sailfish in the not too distant future as has been suggested earlier here.

    This is a real disruptive play on their behalf, watch how badly things will now go for the M$ Lumia range with the potential of other true Nokia devices appearing and the real Nokia fans hanging on to their current devices for dear life just waitng for that to happen.

    Elop thought he won, well buddy you have just been played beautifully and it couldn't happen to a nicer person.....

  18. Ossi

    I'll just call it the 'zed' launcher, if you don't mind.

  19. MJI Silver badge

    Well I thought

    Zed launcher and it will stay that way.

    As to US spelling, quite often the wrong spelling means that you cannot pronounce them properly.

    Think how we say colour, that u is essential for the way you say it.

  20. strum


    The problem with typing (or scribbling) the initial letters, is that it pre-supposes that you know what the app is called. There are apps I only know by their function - not their name. And how many app names start with EZ?

  21. Mac_Law

    Atom processor. Meh.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some informed opinion here then.

    Yes it does support Android Lollipop.

    Yes you can control what appears on screen (and prevent your 'porn app' appearing.

    It doesn't just search on the first few letters so you don't always have to know the exact name of what you are looking for.

    It learns what you wnat and when you want it pretty quickly. I haven't got time to set my phone up 'just so'. So if it makes sensible suggestions at appropriate times that's actually quite useful.

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