RNS::’s HiLauncher was the first application that attempted to bring a Windows-like start menu to Palm OS handhelds. HiLauncher recently was updated to version 3.4 – let’s see how well the program has survived the bites from the teeth of time.
When starting up HiLauncher for the first time, you can either make the program auto-generate a menu or start from scratch:
The program’s main screen is well-done; each menu item has a number indicating the sequence in which it should be looked at.
Setting up the trigger is very easy – binding the program onto the Treo’s launcher key unfortunately disables the list of recently-used programs.
Once the trigger is defined, the menu must be created. HiLauncher allows nested menus; each item can have its own foreground and background colors:
Menu items can do a variety of things – dial numbers, trigger actions, display information….and, last but not least, launch applications. The images below show a few of the possible settings:
Unfortunately, the ‘last-used’ icon is not as smart as it should be – it’s name does not change, and multiple instances cannot be cascaded in order to create a ‘last-used’ menu:
After the basic configuration is done, the menu can be tested:
HiLauncher has a few configuration options that allow you to customize the menu’s appearance:
This review looked at version 3.4 of the program on a Treo 680. HiLauncher must be installed to RAM and needs about 150k of free space.
In the end, HiLauncher remains what it has been in the ages of the IIIc – a super-solid, stable and fast application from an experienced Palm OS house. While the application lacks a few features found in competitor’s apps(e.g. plugin support, background images), the truly insane speed achieved by lean, no-frills code definitely is worth it. Free trial available; full version costs 20$ with free updates for a lifetime!