Implement a "Car Home"-like launcher menu in your own application

Figure 11

Recently - as I bought a Google Nexus S some time ago - I started taking a look into development of applications for the Android platform. After some experiments with the general hardware features like the accelerometer and others, I have implemented a class that may be useful for others, too.

One thing I like on the Nexus is the "Car Home" app made by Google. While driving, it provides you a very simple interface with large buttons in order to trigger different actions. Although you can create shortcuts with it, I thought it might be even better if you could have this launcher menu in the app itself that your are developing.

Based on this, I have implemented a class that you can inherit in your project in order to have a "Car Home"-like launcher menu, as you can see in the image on the right. The usage of the class is extremely simple. It is working with API Level 5 upwards.

How to use my LauncherActivity

  1. Download the necessary files (link at the bottom of this post)
  2. Extract the contents in your project folder
    1. Move /src/ to the folder of the package where your other source files are located (e.g. /src/com/example/android/
    2. Open and change the package name in the first line to your package name
  3. Let the activity which shall display the launcher menu extend from the LauncherActivity class.
  4. (optional, but recommended) override the methods onCreate(), onCreateLauncherButton(), onClick() and onLongClick() with your custom code (see documentation for details)

Optionally, in your AndroidManifest.xml, add the following line to the Activity you have created:


This ensures that the animation while launching the activity is displayed correctly.

Every part of this implementation is documented. The documentation can be found inside the /doc folder of the extracted archive. As everything important is explained in it, make sure to read the documentation ;-).

If you find a bug or have any questions regarding this class, just send me a mail! Finally, here is a short video presenting the behaviour of the launcher menu: