I think you guys are going down the wrong track by not implementing a system to include default android widgets on the home screen. I started using Ratio because I like the per app black and white feature, I think that is a super good idea. I also like the locking folders, and think the general design is quite nice. I imagine when the tree launches it will be quite a good addition to my workflow. However, the cards panel is a complete mess.
I have a pixel 3 and have been running the ratio beta for about 4-6 months. I am semi-used to opening apps to get info, but it is still annoying. I used to be able to add todos to todoist through a widget, and look at what I need to do in a quick way, without going through an app loading screen. I am not going to use the ratio note app todo features. I like todoist and having a dedicated team and all the features. I am less good about knowing what is going on because I don’t have that widget.
The really frustrating part was when you guys added the calendar card. Everyone wants a calendar widget, so at first I was very happy to have the feature, but I quickly realized it was completely useless. On my pixel 3, which is a fairly (but not brand) new flagship, it lags horribly. It feels buggy, never displays the correct info, and never is on the correct day. I know you are a small team, I have worked as a software engineer at multiple startups so I understand, and I think you all are misallocating resources. Each of these individual cards will have problems and bugs and create a constant weight for the team to maintain through every update. This is a huge huge drag on the team, and I understand that you are trying to alleviate this burden through the SDK that is being released, but quite frankly I don’t think any company will use that. I think that the market for minimalist launchers is large enough that there are people who will pay the $10 a year fee for more features, but I don’t think it is large enough that any company will see conforming their widget to your standards to be a good value proposition. I think you need to look at an alternative that fits within the existing android widget ecosystem, as every other launcher does. Which brings me into my next point:
The idea of a scrolling widget screen is simply a bad one. I don’t know how else to put it. The only way I can get to the calendar is by clicking on my pinned top bar. The whole point of the widget is to get information quickly, but if I have to scroll by qwant searches to find it then it is useless, or if I have to type in a command and wait for it load, then it is slower than opening the app. I have taken to ignoring this menu altogether, and simply opening the apps. I think that a similar idea to the app menu, where you are able to create folders which contain things, which could be opened up and scrolled through, would be very nice. Widgets on android already conform to a grid system, so a grid system just like you have for apps would work completely fine. I understand the allure of 3 screens, but maybe allowing 4 screens, one with things that are used and go by like google searches, one with widgets, one with apps, and the tree would work much better. Or abandon the scrolling cards altogether. Having widget folders would make ratio the uncontested best launcher for me, and many other people. I am very strongly considering switching back to the default pixel launcher, despite liking ratio much better, so I can have a working calendar and todo widget again.
A final point: Ratio lags. I suppose most people who are running ratio are power users, and are more likely to have higher end phones, but the 500 MB-700 MB of RAM that ratio uses on my phone is borderline deal breaking by itself. The pixel launcher uses <200 MB of RAM, and looking at it you would think that it would use more, it is more feature rich in many ways. My phone only has 4gb of ram, as a lot of middle and lower end phones do, and taking up an eighth of that is completely unacceptable. It makes my phone slower, and pushes me away. Speed does matter for a lot of users, if they make a change and their phone gets slow, they are going to switch back. I imagine a lot of this is due to the horribly laggy scrolling card menu, and could likely be alleviated to some degree by widget folders. Widgets created by big companies are going to be a lot more efficient on average than what your small team writes, and I think that the cards make things a lot slower. Either way, performance is a big issue on a fairly new and fairly high end phone.
I really want Ratio to succeed and become the launcher that I want for my phone, but I don’t see the direction you guys are going in as the right one. Many of the trello goals are to build more of these first party, laggy and poorly implemented widget cards, and I just don’t think that will result in an end product that people want to use. I have been excited about ratio since you guys made your own phone, and I signed up for the beta early. I really like your design and think that you all want to make a great product. I really hope it ends up great, but I am worried and am stronging considering switching out.