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Summary:

Launching third-party Android Wear apps by voice doesn’t always work and searching through menus to get at them isn’t ideal either. Enter Wear Mini Launcher, a touch-friendly app launcher for Google-powered smartwatches.

Wear Mini Launcher

It’s great that Android Wear apps are now available for Google-powered smartwatches. Getting to the actual apps on the small screen isn’t quite optimal, though. Opening apps through voice commands has been a hit-or-miss experience for me. That’s why I like the idea of Wear Mini Launcher: A free, third-party app launcher for Android Wear.

Wear Mini Launcher swipe

The app puts all of your installed Android Wear apps one swipe away. After installing it, you can access installed apps with a left-to-right screen gesture. Just tap on the app of your choice and Wear Mini Launcher fires it up. The relatively new software has quickly undergone several revisions: At time of writing, this is the fourth minor version.

With each iteration comes new features. Android Central notes that the latest adds haptic or vibrating feedback when the app drawer is opened and provides access to control the screen brightness of an Android Wear watch. That’s incredibly handy because neither the Samsung Gear Live nor the LG G Watch includes an ambient light sensor to automatically manage screen brightness. Instead, you have to manually set the brightness, a few menus deep into the watch’s settings.