Yahoo's Aviate launcher - Android app

Has Yahoo acquired the future of Android?

Yahoo has continued its strategy of acquiring exciting start-ups with the purchase of Android launcher Aviate, with an investment that could prove significant. Launchers are the primary interface through which users experience Android, and Aviate offers a radically different proposition to its rivals.

It could be argued that Aviate provides the functionality that Google Now was always intended to offer, but never quite realised. Aviate’s focus is on automation, rather than the personalisation that is the mainstay of most of its rivals.

The co-founders of Aviate are unapologetic. Mark Daiss, Paul Montoy-Wilson and William Choi acknowledge that their app is unlikely to please those who want a heavily customised Android experience. Instead, Aviate is designed to intelligently adapt to meet users’ needs.

Not only does Aviate automatically categorise all of the apps on a device, it offers up customised features and information, determined by location and time of day. Anyone out for an evening meal can expect relevant entertainment data on their home screen, whilst those driving home will receive directions and traffic updates.

Yahoo’s reasoning for purchasing Aviate is a fairly standard combination of the factors behind many similar acquisitions. CEO Marissa Mayer was seeking to obtain an exciting new product, talented staff and innovative technology.

“When we met with Yahoo, it was obvious how aligned our visions are,” a blog post from Aviate’s three co-founders stated.

“Yahoo, like us, is all about simplifying and streamlining users’ daily habits through intelligent and beautiful products. We see endless opportunities for how the two of us can work together.”

In many cases, acquisitions are completed by companies looking to obtain one of the aforementioned factors. However, a wider perspective seems to be behind Yahoo’s purchase of Aviate.

“We’re thrilled you love the product and want you to know that we are committed to continued innovation of Aviate,” wrote Daiss, Paul Montoy-Wilson and William Choi. “The technology and product will remain the same – it’s simply going to get better, faster.”

Committing to developing Aviate shows that Mayer believes the launcher has the potential to help Yahoo become a big player within the Android ecosystem. Development of Google Now demonstrates that Google itself sees the need for such a product, even if they are struggling to realise their own vision.

The statement from Aviate confirms that the team will also launch new products as a result of the deal .

At its heart Aviate is an app that is intelligent and predictive – concepts that Yahoo believe could be employed successfully in a wide range of software