Xiaomi Poco F1 was launched earlier this week as the most affordable Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone available in the market
Poco F1 debuted in India yesterday at Xiaomi’s event in New Delhi. The new smartphone from Xiaomi comes as the first device under the new sub-brand Poco that will see its global debut soon. While the idea behind Poco as a name for a sub-brand is not really clear, it is set to counter some high-level blow to OnePlus that recently grabbed the premium smartphone market in India by the collar to dethrone Samsung. Xiaomi has made a couple of changes to set Poco F1 apart from the other Xiaomi phones under Redmi and Mi brands. One of the changes that Xiaomi claims compliments the flagship specifications of the smartphone is the software. Xiaomi has not gone the stock Android way for the flagship device, rather it has optimised MIUI to a considerable extent and named it MIUI for Poco.
MIUI for Poco bears the version 9.6, which is not available for other Xiaomi phones. There is a new launcher designed for MIUI 9.6 called Poco Launcher. The Poco Launcher has an interface very similar to the Pixel Launcher with some tweaks here and there. Xiaomi has now released the APK file of the Poco Launcher ahead of its official arrival on Google Play store on August 29. Xiaomi made the announcement via its MIUI forum post that also embeds the link to download the Poco Launcher beta APK build. The APK build bears the beta version 0.1.5, which means that there could be some stability issues on your device.
The major highlight of the Poco Launcher is the support for third-party icon packs. MIUI does not have an app launcher, instead, all the app icons are placed on the home screen, much like iOS that too doesn’t have any launcher for apps. The Chinese ROMs mostly don’t have app launchers, largely because they are meant to imitate iOS in every nook and cranny. Xiaomi mentions in the forum post that the search area has been moved to the bottom after taking into “consideration the thumb area”. The placement of the search bar has changed dramatically over time and Xiaomi has made sure this reflects in the Poco Launcher.
The forum post shows the Poco Launcher running on a Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X. It is not clear whether Poco Launcher will only be available on MIUI-based phones, but it seems like other Android phones will support the launcher, as well. To change the launcher on a Xiaomi MIUI device, click on the launcher and select as default Home screen. However, in case you want to go back to the previous launcher, you need to go to Settings > Installed applications > Choose system launcher and tap on uninstall updates.