Yahoo seems to have a reverse Midas touch. Instead of turning things it touches into gold, the former Internet giant turns them into dust, intentionally or not. Perhaps except for Tumblr, at least for now. The latest victim of this death sentence is Aviate, a once popular third-party Android launcher which, unsurprisingly, silently fell out of the race after Yahoo’s acquisition. Now Yahoo is declaring it dead by the time March rolls around, advising users to just switch to the dozen or so available Android launchers on Google Play Store.
To be fair, Yahoo is hardly the only one to kill a product after acquiring it. In fact, it’s probably a miracle it supported Aviate Launcher this long. Still, when you’re a struggling Internet giant, every acquisition and failed experiment is going to be met with scrutiny.
Unfortunately, Yahoo is killing off one of the more unique Android launcher replacements in the market. Aviate was already singing the whole machine learning song before it became a hype. Instead of a single, static home screen, Aviate changes its content depending on the contexts like time of day, location, and connected accessories.
Yahoo eventually introduced a feature it called Smart Stream which took a few pages from the Google Now book. It surfaced relevant information, not just apps, based on those same contexts. As one can imagine, such a feature requires some server-side work, which is what Yahoo is axing.
Starting March 8, 2018, Yahoo Aviate Launcher will be declared dead. No more Smart Stream content, no more updates, no more support. You might still be able to use the launcher, if you can install it, as long as it uses features that run locally on your phone. Otherwise, you’d be better off using one of the more reliable Android launchers that don’t depend on the whims of a giant corporation.