Nova Launcher Acquired by Branch

Domingo

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Jul 30, 2004
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https://www.androidpolice.com/nova-launcher-acquired-by-branch/

I'm not going to be that guy who immediately freaks out and suggests finding a new launcher, but it's worth keeping an eye on. If you're on Android there's a 95% chance Google already has all of your data, but Branch is yet another company interested in user info. If you weren't aware, they started rolling out Nova version 8 in beta last week, too. The changelist is long and I don't know what some of the things even mean, but I've noticed it lets you get much more granular with color and layout customizations.
 

T4rd

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Apr 8, 2009
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Saw this too and am cautiously optimistic. Though Google seems to be slowing killing 3rd party launchers anyways by making them janky to use with gesture navigation. At some point they're going to kill off button navigation altogether and then support for these launchers probably. And that may be the day I finally move to iOS since they're been regressing on their UI in general the past few iterations anyways.
 

Domingo

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I've never made the jump to gestures and will keep using my navigation buttons as long as they're available. I don't hate gestures necessarily (my wife them and they seem mostly functional), but I find the buttons to be quicker and easier. Especially holding the phone in different ways.

Nova (and other similar launchers) = one of the few ways to certain Android OEM devices tolerable. If launchers get axed in general, it'll be Pixel or iOS...and Nova is still way better than the Pixel launcher IMO. Most of my iOS gripes have to do with how transferring files to/from a PC works. These days, that's kinda moot with cloud storage and streaming.
 

Zorachus

[H]F Junkie
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Dec 17, 2006
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10,648
Nothing will change, yeah right. Every. Damn. Time, a good product is taken over and it all turns to shit. Usually because of corporate greed.

An analytics company whose not going to farm data? How naive do they think we are?
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
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Or, why I tell people that "just use a launcher" isn't a solution if you don't like a given take on Android. That strategy only works so long as a launcher is a realistic option. All it takes is a change of ownership or even life events (engineer X no longer has enough free time, for example) to throw a project off-track. If you don't like the stock OS on a given device, get a different device — that's the only way to show an OEM that you don't like their software.

I find T4rd's comments notable on that front. It does feel like Android and iOS have been converging. Not that I expect Apple to make iOS a tweaker's paradise, but the objections you've frequently heard from Android fans are shrinking due to either feature upgrades or missteps on the Android side (from Google, the Nova team, etc.).
 

MacLeod

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Jul 28, 2009
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I stopped using Nova a couple years ago after using it for several years. I always use Note phones and this new version of One UI is really pretty good. It's just as fast and smooth as Nova and almost as custimizable with more themes. So when I bought this Note 20 2 years ago I tried Nova again but stuck with One UI as it works just fine for me.
 

Nobu

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Jun 7, 2007
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I stopped using Nova a couple years ago after using it for several years. I always use Note phones and this new version of One UI is really pretty good. It's just as fast and smooth as Nova and almost as custimizable with more themes. So when I bought this Note 20 2 years ago I tried Nova again but stuck with One UI as it works just fine for me.
I also stopped a while back, mostly because it wasn't super compatible with my phone, though.

Using Discreet Launcher from f-droid. It does what I need, and doesn't require a million permissions to do it.
 

Domingo

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I stopped using Nova a couple years ago after using it for several years. I always use Note phones and this new version of One UI is really pretty good. It's just as fast and smooth as Nova and almost as custimizable with more themes. So when I bought this Note 20 2 years ago I tried Nova again but stuck with One UI as it works just fine for me.

I actually really like OneUI right now. It's probably the best OEM launcher. Unfortunately I totally despise all of Samsung's hard-baked Android apps (and secondary app store) and it's tough to truly rid myself of those without a 3rd party launcher. Even then, they still take up almost 10GB. If Samsung ever used Google's system apps (never gonna happen thanks to "Samsung accounts"), I'd buy a Galaxy tomorrow.
 

Supersnake

[H]ard|Gawd
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Dec 23, 2007
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I'm going to remain with Nova and not have any concern with Branch possibly harvesting data. I'm pleased with Nova 7 and never had any wish or need for it to change. If Branch offers any upgrades to Nova 7, I'll just ignore them.

I didn't realize until I checked today, I have never given Nova any permissions. Unless I am missing something, I see no way that Branch could gather data if I remain with version 7 and don't give it permissions.
 
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Domingo

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I'm going to keep rolling with Nova until they give me a reason not to. I've long since given up on the concept of privacy when my phone is made by a company that operates via data collection. I also use a variety of social media platforms (and Windows 11) that are feeding off me, too. Branch is claiming you can opt out of everything even in Nova 8.2 (the first Branch release), but I don't know how much I actually believe it. I'm going with the ignorance is bliss approach to all of it.
 

Supersnake

[H]ard|Gawd
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Dec 23, 2007
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I'm going to keep rolling with Nova until they give me a reason not to. I've long since given up on the concept of privacy when my phone is made by a company that operates via data collection. I also use a variety of social media platforms (and Windows 11) that are feeding off me, too. Branch is claiming you can opt out of everything even in Nova 8.2 (the first Branch release), but I don't know how much I actually believe it. I'm going with the ignorance is bliss approach to all of it.
From what you described, there isn't going to be much data left over for Branch to harvest. All those other guys beat them to it. :p

Okay, I've had my fun by writing that, now for a serious question...
Let's say I decide to be insistent on staying with the latest version of Nova Launcher, and avoid installing or upgrading to any Nova/Branch. When the time comes to buy a new phone I would want to be running Nova Prime on the phone, just like I have done with every new phone. To do so involves installing two apps, Nova Launcher and Nova Launcher Prime.

I have a copy of Nova Launcher 7.0.5.7 APK to install on the new phone. As for the Nova Launcher Prime app, APK sites do not have it because it is a license/unlock app requiring payment. Any listing for Nova Launcher Prime on an APK site only gets you referred to Google Play to obtain it. How can one be assured to install Nova Launcher Prime that is free of Branch code?
 
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Mad Maxx

Supreme [H]ardness
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Apr 12, 2016
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Nova Launcher Prime is the best Android app ever. It's one of the reasons I've stayed with Android for so many years. Can't help but be concerned with its future, now.
 
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cpufrost

Limp Gawd
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Sep 28, 2020
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I have a Fold 4 coming and with the taskbar way they manage apps, presumably with Nova that would go away. So this may be the first time I don't run Nova on an Android device.
 
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