Action Launcher 3 drops the 3, and other changes


"Action Launcher 3" is no more. Going forward, the app will simply be known by its original name, Action Launcher.

This move is being made for a very simple reason: to make it clear that the current version of the app is, and will remain, the home for current and future Action Launcher development.

Hopefully this will ease concerns of people who, to this day, reach out and tell me they are holding off buying Action Launcher 3's one time Plus upgrade for fear of an Action Launcher 4 releasing in the near future. You should feel comfortable in the knowledge that today's single Action Launcher Plus in-app upgrade will go a whole long way going forward.

A new logo will accompany this name change.

A new attitude towards non-paying customers

I could talk in great detail on this topic, but I'll keep it brief: previous incarnations of Action Launcher 3 offered a woeful and off-putting experience for new users. To say the app was too aggressive trying to get people to buy the Plus upgrade is a gross understatement. Action Launcher 25.0 sees many improvements here, and further enhancement will follow in future updates.

A new version numbering system

I am also taking this opportunity to change Action Launcher's version numbering system. To this point, releases went from 1.0 all the way up to 3.12. I am switching to a simpler version numbering system, where the major version will be bumped with each release. Since Action Launcher's debut in December 2012, there have been 24 major updates to the app. Today's Action Launcher update is the 25th major release, so the update's version number is 25.0.

So why was there an "Action Launcher 3" in the first place?

The "3" suffix came about for a simple reason: in late 2014, Action Launcher's sales had dropped off almost entirely. Worse, I knew that bringing Action Launcher up to date for the material design era required a complete rewrite of the app. I felt that the only way to justify the months of effort required for this development was to charge for the newest version. I likened this decision to the fact that my buying a ticket to Avengers 1 didn't entitle me to a free ticket to Avengers 2.

I was genuinely fearful that without charging again, the update might receive just a regular bump in sales, then see its revenue tail off, with the net result being not only had I spent months working for nothing, but I could no longer justify future Action Launcher development going forward.

So I made the decision to make the then-named Action Launcher 3's premium features available via an in-app purchase. It's worth noting I never took anything away from previous customers: their purchase of the now-renamed Holo-era "Action Launcher 2: Pro" was still valid, and continues to work in perpetuity to this day.

Fast-forward two and a half years, and I feel with hindsight my decision was exactly the right one to make. Despite the haters in the comments section on day 1, Action Launcher had by far its biggest day of sales ever on launch day, and future Action Launcher development was assured.

Action Launcher has gone on to receive 25 major updates in less than 5 years. There are countless startups that have raised millions of dollars and come and gone in that time. Meanwhile, Action Launcher as a business has organically grown to a point that I feel comfortable investing in future development by hiring additional resources.

Overall, I feel strongly this was a win for everyone involved.

The right decision, but not a popular one

Despite my strong belief that charging for Action Launcher 3's premium features was the right decision, it remains a decision that was unpopular. The app's review score suffered permanent damage, and it seems even two years on, the comments section of any blog post covering an Action Launcher update contains negative comments by a subset of people upset by the move.

In the interests of entirely appeasing Action Launcher customers who were upset, I will be offering a full refund of Action Launcher 2 purchases to anyone who has also purchased Action Launcher 3/Action Launcher's Plus in-app upgrade.

To redeem this refund, drop me an email. The only conditions are that you must have purchased both Action Launcher 2 and the newly renamed Action Launcher's Plus upgrade from the same email account, and you must use that email account to request the refund. I'm sorry, but I'm unable to handle "I bought Action Launcher 2 with but I bought Action Launcher 3: Plus from" type cases as it just gets too messy and time consuming. Thanks for understanding 😃.

What happens with Action Launcher 2: Pro now?

To avoid any potential confusion for people searching for Action Launcher in the Play Store going forward, the legacy Action Launcher 2: Pro, and its accompanying Unread Count app, will soon be taken down from the Play Store. Depending on user demand, I will look at options to make the APKs available elsewhere online for those that want that.

Next steps

I believe Action Launcher has a very bright future ahead of it, and I'm committed to making that happen.

I'm pleased to report that I've been successful in my efforts to bring on additional engineering help, and the fruits of this should become evident over the coming months. I can officially confirm that Action Launcher 25.0 will be the 25th and last update in which all the code was written by me. Action Launcher 26.0 is already ~70% done, and is scheduled to release in July, and the intention is that Action Launcher will improve rapidly, both from a feature and stability point of view, going forward.

Thanks for reading. If you've gotten this far, I'd very much appreciate your leaving a Play Store review. Alternatively (or in addition!), buying either Action Launcher's in-app Plus upgrade, or the Supporter Badge, is always appreciated, and the best way to ensure Action Launcher continues to become the best app it can possible be.

Thanks for all your support, and here's to the next 25 updates! 🍻