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Propel Launcher Review

Propel Your Treo & Centro Launcher to Entirely New Levels

Propel Launcher ReviewUntil now I have not really been a big fan of so-called Launchers for either the Treo or Centro (such as the popular Launcher X, ZLauncher or Treo Launcher).

The main reason for this is that overall I found that these launchers tended to make my daily smartphone usage more complex instead of helping me to simplify it.

Having said this however, thanks to the latest version 2.1 of Propel Professional and Propel Standard editions I have finally found a launcher that is perfect for my needs – one that is powerful, fast, vastly customizable and simple to use.  In this respect, Propel meets all of these criteria and more – I believe that it delivers pretty much anything that you’ve ever wanted in a launcher.

Best Treo & Centro LauncherThe level of customization that Propel offers is truly staggering and it manages this with in an extremely simple and very complete Preferences menu.  Among others, you can have up to 7 unique “Views” (each view is fully customizable and is preset with Applications, Power User, Contacts, Files On SD Card, Music, Memos and Company Contacts). 

Here below are two different screenshots of my Applications View which I’ve customized with large bold fonts, one colum list view (below left), two colum icon view (right) and I’ve also hidden the applications Category tab which I personally never use.  Combined these modifications have given me what I believe to be an extremely clean look to quickly search and launch my applications.

 Propel Launcher - Applications List View Propel Launcher - Applications Icon View

Each of these Views above can in turn contain any one of 19 “Content” categories (from Applications, Contacts, Bookmarks, Memos and more).  In this particular case I have chosen to include “Applications + Apps On SD Card” for my Applications View (below left) and “Contact-First,Last + Contact-Company,L,F” for my Contacts View.

 Propel Launcher - Views' Content Propel Launcher

You can quickly cycle through your various Views by clicking on the Left/Right 5Way buttons.  Below is my Contacts View with a search for Amex which Propel performed in the blink of an eye thanks to its ultrafast search engine (essential considering that I have nearly 3,000 contacts saved).  Additionally, unlike the standard Palm Contacts you can search any field including Company.  One minor downside though is that you don’t get to see the actual Contact Category here.

 Propel - Contacts View Propel - Power User View

If you prefer to take a shotgun approach to your searches then you’ll undoubtedly love the “Power User” View (above right) which basically aggregates literally every single piece of content on your Treo or Centro (from an application, image or document to an audio file, Memo or Contact) while still allowing you to perform a comprehensive and extremely fast search even if there may be 10,000+ individual items – very cool.

 Propel - Music View Propel - SD Card View

Additionally, Propel Professional also allows you to launch your MP3 files and Playlists (above left) as well as providing you with support for: plugins (such as 4Cast weather display); the ability to launch Calls, emails and SMS; Voice Launching and Dialing (a $25+ bundled value); open files on your SD card as well as opening web bookmarks.

However, all of the various Views that Propel offers above doesn’t even begin to describe a small portion of what this terrific application delivers.  Among others you can quickly Rename any application to make it easier and more memorable for you to find (below left); you can Send any piece of content you want (below right) as well as create Favorites and Move/Copy or Open with a file manager such as FileProg any content from/to your smartphone and SD card.

 Propel Launcher - Rename Application Propel Launcher - Send App

Additionally, I really like the way Propel enables the management of bookmarks.  You simply create a Memo file called “Bookmarks” and type the name and URL that you want leaving a blank line between each element (below left) – these will then appear in Propel (I created a new View called Web Bookmarks for this).

 Propel Launcher - Bookmarks Propel Launcher - Web Bookmarks

Further options within Propel include: drag and drop capability to easily categorize applications, move them to SD card or delete them; customizable status icons as well as JPEG Backgrounds, Skinning, Fonts & Colors customization.

Overall, Iambic, the developer of Propel Professional and Propel Standard (as well as the bestselling Agendus) has clearly put a lot of thought and effort into the development of this terrific launcher – something that comes across clearly on practically every screen interaction.  More importantly Propel is the only application that has finally managed to convince me of the wide ranging benefits of using a launcher – making it my Editor’s Choice for Best Treo & Centro Launcher.

Finally, please remember that you can add this and any other Centro & Treo Software title to your cart and save 20% by using the coupon code BESTSELLERS. [Please note that this coupon is not valid for use in the Treo Accessories Store or Centro Accessories Store].

Separately, don’t forget to look at some of the new and bestselling accessories that I can highly recommend this month including:

Treonauts are always propelling forward

Posted by Andrew on April 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Treo Software | Utilities

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by Jay Diel | Apr 30, 2008 12:49:52 PM

Iambic had nothing to do with designing propel. It was Rob at Hobbyistsoft.com. He came up with the Initiate browser and I guess sold it to Iambic who branded it as Propel. You are right, I use Initiate Pro and have for years it is about the best app for palm on the market. I think I might of switched to BB or WM if it wasn't for Initiate it is how smartphone browsers should be.

by Andrew | Apr 30, 2008 12:59:06 PM

Hi Jay,

Thanks for your feedback.

While Propel is indeed based on Rob's previous Initiate there is nonetheless no doubt that the team at Iambic has _significantly_ contributed to its further improvement - every version is getting better.

Like you I also feel that anybody with dozens of applications, hundreds of contacts and a multitude of other content are lucky to have an application like Propel compared to those found on BB, WM and even the iPhone.

Cheers, A.

by Avdi | Apr 30, 2008 4:04:11 PM

Personally, I found Propel/Initiate's inability to search existing Blazer bookmarks one of its biggest deficiencies. The Memo-based bookmark system is not a useful alternative; there's no way I'm going to capture bookmarks by:
1. Opening the Page Info (I keep the URL bar hidden in Blazer)
2. Copying the URL
3. Opening the Memo app
4. Finding the Bookmarks memo
5. Typing the name and pasting the URL under it.
6. Switching back to Blazer

I understand that there are technical limitations preventing them from indexing Blazer's bookmarks; but touting the Memo-based bookmarks as a desirable feature seems like a stretch.

by Ronin | Apr 30, 2008 5:33:28 PM


as I understand it, Propel is Initiate. There is no functional difference between the two. Initiate like all Hobbyist Software apps is under constant development and gets better with each new release which are sometimes only days apart. In fact, Iambic rebrands, adds some personalization and markets Initiate with the author's permission. On this note, there appears to be one advantage to Initiate over Propel, Iambic does not appear to release updated versions as frequently.

by Ronin | Apr 30, 2008 5:38:21 PM


I appreciate your complaint but, to my mind, there are a couple of advantages to doing bookmarks this way. The first is they can be unlimited, I have a great deal more mobile bookmarks then the built-in browser allows. Second, is portability, with the bookmarks listed in a memo they are readable by and transferable to virtually any computer or handheld in the known universe.

by random9q | May 1, 2008 5:22:40 AM

I thought the feature set was looking a bit familiar...

Hmmm. OK, Andrew. If other launchers were insufficient before Propel, and Propel is an enhanced version of Initiate, then the obvious next question for me to ask is what favorite new features did Propel add that Initiate doesn't have?

I'm just curious, I was a long time ZLauncher user, and used Launcher X before that. I loved how I could reskin ZLauncher, but appreciated more that it had a built-in file manager. Initiate doesn't have one, but by the time I found Initiate I'd also bumped into FileZ and that suffices quite nicely. I, too, like a lot of the features Initiate offers over most other launchers.

I'm just curious if you can summarize for us what Propel offers over Initiate so I don't have to pick through both offering's literature for hours since I figure you've already done that.

by Gerry Jurrens | May 1, 2008 12:43:07 PM

I'm on day 2 of a 3 day trial...how do I get the "demo code" they are asking for a full trial?


by Jay Diel | May 1, 2008 1:45:51 PM

"Initiate doesn't have one, but by the time I found Initiate I'd also bumped into FileZ and that suffices quite nicely. I, too, like a lot of the features Initiate offers over most other launchers."

There is a file manager app that blows filez away IMO but it isn't free. It is from your zlauncher software company, the app is called palm insider pro.

Like another poster said I would get Initiate over Propel. Rob is great with customer service and troubleshooting and he updates frequently. He is also working on something big with the voice function that I bet will be out for Initiate before Propel.

by random9q | May 2, 2008 6:24:35 AM


Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

One thing I remember liking about ZZTechs was their attention to comprehensive features. One thing I remember *not* liking about ZZTechs was their speed at patching and tech support (about the software industry's par, to be fair, but below what I've experienced with other PalmOS developers). That would be fine, except that I had the impression that I kept running into tiny little bugs here and there. (Contrast that with Astraware, they patch their software next to never these days -- but that's because 99.999% of the bugs are gone on day one of their release.)

by argo | May 3, 2008 1:01:52 PM

Propel is Initiate. There's no substantive difference. You can use both side by to see that this is true. I believe Rob is letting Iambic market it under the other name, which is great for him and for palm users who would have either never heard of it or tried it out otherwise (hint, hint). It's definitely the best launcher out there.

by nimra | May 7, 2008 1:31:47 PM

I installed the trial yesterday and was after only one or two hours prompet to enter a code or buy - I like the app a lot, but found out it's markedly slowing down snapper-mail, which is my main used one these days, so damped it :-(

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