Aviate has just pushed an update that brings what developers say is one of the most requested features. The launcher now has somewhat limited support for notification badges, those tiny numbers on icons that indicate how many messages or calls you might have missed.
When switching to another launcher, especially those still in development, we sometimes miss features that are so simple that we take them for granted until they're gone. One of this are notifications badges that aren't a universal feature as one might presume. Not all launchers, like Aviate before this update, and not all apps support such badges, with some apps being forced to provide icon-sized widgets to provide the equivalent functionality. There are disadvantages to this workaround, since widgets can only be placed on the homescreen and not on things like quick launch panels.
Aviate has finally started the trek towards including such support even if its coverage is still quite limited. For now, very few apps are supported, like Gmail for emails, default phone or messaging apps for calls and SMS. It also supports any app that have notification badges on Samsung's TouchWiz launcher. It does not, however, support unread messages for Google+ Hangouts yet.
Aviate is still in closed beta so there's still hope that more apps will be supported in the near future. It is also quite encouraging to see the launcher evolving steadily despite being acquired by Yahoo, keeping us interested in its promising future.