Jolla has started the alpha testing of its Jolla Launcher for Android, available only for a selected few alpha testers. Of course, this being Android, there is very little to stop more arduous users from taking it and making it available for a wider public, just as what one XDA member did for anyone who owns an Android device version 4.2 or higher.
A word of caution. Jolla Launcher is very much a work in progress, and alpha-quality release in every sense of the word. Many things are still not working, or not working properly, so bugs and performance issues are expected. It will not eat your kittens. However, it might drive you to frustration that you might end up wanting to do that yourself.
The Jolla Launcher alpha release is officially compatible only with the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, but is also somewhat compatible with devices running Android 4.3 and higher. With this port by XDA Forum Member riyono, the launcher is now available one generation older, Android 4.2. to be precise, and available for those who weren’t able to get into the alpha testing group.
But what exactly are you getting with this rather strange launcher from a relatively unknown Finnish startup? You practically get some of the features available on the company’s first and so far only Sailfish OS smartphone. You get rather unique interaction methods like the pulley menu, swiping from left or right edges to go back to a home screen that shows currently running apps in a grid, a colorful but a bit inconvenient app launcher grid, and a still unimplemented Ambiance theming system. If you’re curious to hear more about Jolla Launcher on Android, you can head on over to our hands-on of its alpha release to see if this is something worth trying out for yourself.