Even though Android TV (and Google TV) is based on Android, it’s only intended for use with apps and games designed for TVs. That’s why smartphone-only apps don’t appear in the Android TV Play Store, and when you load apps without a TV interface, they don’t appear in the standard Android TV app launcher. There have been many third-party launchers for Android TV over the years that get around this limitation, but now there’s another option, written in Google’s new Flutter framework.
Flauncher is an open-source alternative launcher for Android TV, intended to function as a way to open and manage non-TV sideloaded apps on Android TV, and a complete replacement for the built-in Android TV/Google TV launcher. Etienne Fesser, the project’s lead developer, says it’s “still at an early stage of development and may be unstable.” However, it has been tested to work on a Chromecast with Google TV, and is already available on the Google Play Store.
The launcher supports customizable categories, wallpapers, line and grid view options, and app uninstall. There are also shortcuts to open the System Settings app and the “App Info” screen for each installed app. Even in this early state, all the essentials seem to be present. FLauncher is also written in Flutter, Google’s framework for building cross-platform apps.
Google launched its custom Google TV interface for Android TV last year, which has many interface improvements over “stock” Android TV, but also includes auto-playing video ads and other tweaks that don’t appeal. not to everyone. As Google TV rolls out to more devices, apps like FLauncher may become more popular – the project doesn’t even have “no ads” listed as a feature.
You can learn more about FLauncher at the project’s GitLab repository. There are several other custom app launchers for Android TV also in active development, such as the minimalist SideApps project, which isn’t meant to replace your existing TV home screen.