Facer Launcher v3.1 for Palm OS

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, July 2006
Published by: PocketCraft Software
Requires: Any PDA or smartphone running Palm operating system v5.0 or higher
MSRP: US$18.95

Facer Launcher 3 is a program launcher and system information utility for devices running Palm OS including handheld PDAs and the Treo 600/650/700p line of smartphones. Facer Launcher 3 is the only launcher application with a Today Page. The software offers an integrated program launcher and plug-in architecture accessible to other software on your device.

I have used Facer Launcher on and off for several years. It's not my favorite launcher, nor is it the one I hate. For the past 10 months however, Facer has fit the bill for me whenever I've been traveling on a set schedule, because of the nature of Facer's Today page which remains front & center every time you start up the PDA or smartphone and every time you press the applications hardware button. Using the right utility for the right job is usually a sane policy, and Facer Launcher definitely has its uses. The point is that when your schedule is fixed, all you need is a Today page so you can the current day and the next day at a glance, along with specific tasks. The list view of the built-in Palm Calendar program also has a Today view which is quite good, but it does not contain any of the extras provided by Facer.


In our previous review of Facer, we questioned the value of the Today page. Now that I've had a chance to use it during projects and business travel, I like it a lot. It's not the be-all or end-all of features, but it's proven to be useful in a variety of circumstances which haven't demanded a lot of schedule changes, appointment editing and to-do/task list revisions. The best part of the Today page functionality is that you can link to most of the productivity programs already installed on your handheld.

Facer Launcher 3 offers a number of features which are completely new to this version. Gadget arrangement and customization is more robust now, an advanced uninstaller will help you delete almost any program cleanly, including all of its associated files, far more thoroughly than the native Palm OS program delete function. The Facer uninstaller monitors program changes and additions and keeps a log that it uses for reference during uninstallation procedures. As well, program categorization and sorting is more robust and now fully extends to anything you've installed directly to a storage card. Personalization has also improved, with lots of new themes available for download from PocketCraft, the option to create wallpaper from any JPG file you like, and more powerful gadget organization.

For people who spend a lot of time using their handhelds, the extensive system status information which Facer displays on the Today page does an excellent job of helping you keep abreast of battery charge, storage space, system memory usage and so on.

Cons: With Facer Launcher 3 installed, starting your PDA and launching programs will take a bit longer—the previous version is faster. The speed of actual program operation is unaffected however. You can't tap a Today item (appointment, to-do or task) and go directly to the Calendar or To-Do/Task list as you can when using the Today view in the Palm OS Calendar, a problem that PocketCraft needs to address because you're actually taking a step backward in that regard when you use Facer (except, of course, for all the other information you get in the Today screen). The default black font with thick white outline used on the Today screen has got to go. It's not readable by any standard and the utility would be much better served with a bold system font, or indeed almost anything but that outlined thing (which also happens to suck up too much valuable screen space).

Pros: If PDAs and handhelds and smartphones are all about the conveyance of information, then FacerPro 3 seems to be in the right place at the right time. The feature set is useful, without the overbearing weight of complex functionality offered by several of the other Palm launchers. For anyone looking for a combination of a detailed Today and system information screen, but without the overhead and complexity of the high-end launchers, Facer remains a good choice. The Today screen is full of useful information, providing a wealth of system and application data at a glance or via tap & hold. The advanced application uninstaller is a terrific addition to the feature set and does a very good job of rooting out all of the files belonging to a particular program you trying to dump. Support from PocketCraft is quite good. Give this one a try.

KSN Product Rating:

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