Most smartphone manufacturers have their own software division whose job is to create unique and compelling features for the company’s customers. This can come in many forms but besides applications and games, it’s the home screen where people spend most of their time. It’s generally in their best interest to keep these software features exclusive to their own devices and the company has just released the POCO Launcher in the Play Store for other Xiaomi devices. Upon further testing though, we were able to install it on many other devices directly from the Play Store.
The Xiaomi Pocophone F1/Xiaomi Poco F1 is the company’s new sub-brand and it has been able to amass a lot of attention due to its high-end hardware and current price point. Sure, the material isn’t high-end glass like we’ve started seeing in other smartphones with flagship level specs, but for the sub-$300 price tag, we really shouldn’t be expecting that. Among the unique features that Xiaomi has in MIUI (which is used in the Pocophone F1), it also comes with a new launcher that the team is calling the POCO Launcher.
This is another one of those software features where many companies restrict to only the smartphones they sell (even though many of us like to use the wallpapers that come with these new phones). So it would make sense to let other Xiaomi device owners install the POCO Launcher on their Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi Redmi 5, Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro, and more. And while that is currently possible, the company doesn’t seem to be restricting it to only Xiaomi smartphones. I have a lot of devices attached to my account, and when pulling the application up in the Play Store web portal, I was allowed to install it on devices like the Google Pixel XL, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9+, Essential Phone, Huawei Nexus 6P, and the OnePlus 3.
All of these devices are running the stock software that came with their device (except the OnePlus 3 which is running LineageOS). This may just be how Xiaomi is wanting to do things with the POCO Launcher or it may be a bug within the Play Store itself. It could also just be a mistake from Xiaomi when they added the app to the Play Store and forgot to restrict non-Xiaomi devices via the console.
Whatever the case may be, I downloaded it on my completely stock Pixel 2 XL (not even rooted yet) and it worked just as you would expect. I was seeing the same screenshots that they have on display in the Play Store, but I also noticed an application icon had been added to my home screen.
The rocketship application icon to the far right isn’t an application that I have ever installed and it doesn’t even show up in the application drawer. When I tap on it, the light blue circle around the icon revolves around the entire icon and then I am greeted with the following toast message.
So it seems this cache clearing feature is built into the launcher itself. I prefer to let the Android OS handle the cache data on its own (unless an application starts bugging out I will clear it for troubleshooting purposes) but Xiaomi and the POCO Launcher wants their users to be able to clear the cache data whenever they want. See if you can download the launcher on your device below.
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
Check out his personal gallery here