PCs were upstaged by tablets, smartphones and TVs at this year?s International CES show, with some companies maintaining a smaller presence or holding back product announcements for a later date.
There were fewer product announcements from PC makers compared to previous years, with some companies waiting for the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Feb. 25-28.
?I think the timing of CES was bad this year for the PC cycle, and several did mention MWC as a venue for their next announcements,? said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, who attended the show.
Back at Google I/O last year, our very own Phil Nickinson posed the question -- might Google Now become an Android home screen? Well, a new custom launcher in the Play Store brings a little taste of that to life. SF Launcher Alpha comes from the same developer who brought us the Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and integrates the now familiar Google Now images with a card style layout for apps and widgets.
The top image is currently limited to that of San Francisco, London or the generic Google Now image, but will change with the time of day from dawn through day into dusk. Below it sits a widget 'card' and while only one widget is on show at any time, it scrolls so you can add as many as you like. Below that sits your favorite apps, the number displayed is customizable and you choose from scratch -- when you first start the launcher this card is empty.
Scrolling in from the left brings up the settings menu where the theme can be chosen along with numerous different visual setting tweaks, as well as controlling the behavior of tapping on the clock and top image. This can be customized to launch search, the stock clock app, quick settings, among others.
Scrolling in from the right brings up your full app drawer, all the while maintaining the top image and clock. It's a simple idea, and a simple launcher, but is definitely something different to other launchers we've seen. It's still in the early Alpha stages, but is available to download for free from the Google Play Store now. Click on past the break for a quick walkthrough video.