The Story of Lawnchair

Or: How to get your stupid puns into the news

Bad ideas make good memories

Most success stories start with some kind of genius idea, a vision or a plan. But one of those success stories starts with boredom (I didn’t have that much to do at work) and a stupid pun. My first commit to the Lawnchair repository was on March 3rd 2017, at the time all I wanted to do was a slightly optimized Launcher3 fork with some additional features I personally wanted.

Then some weeks later I had yet another stupid idea, what if I could decompile the Pixel Launcher and extract it’s characteristic features into Lawnchair? So I just started to do that, and after some hours there were first signs that it could actually work! It was also somewhere around that same time when Amir (amirzaidi) hit me up on Telegram and told me that he heard about my project and that he was working on something similar. So we helped each other.

13,000 is a big number

Amir’s rootless Pixel Launcher then got in the news, and I also got a tiny bit more attention. It was quite nice and I dreamed about getting a few hundred daily users. It was a few days later when I woke up in the morning, checked the download count on GitHub and saw the number 13,000 there. I didn’t believe it, I thought the badge on GitHub must be broken, so I also checked the number on another website. The same number again.

Turns out gadgethacks made a how-to for the installation of Lawnchair. I realized that everything was about to get way bigger than I ever expected it to be. I posted Lawnchair on XDA the same day. About 3 days later XDA Portal were the first to write an article about it. Almost every other big Android news site followed, and download counts started to skyrocket.

The more the merrier

Shortly after that first wave of “fame” Jozsef (fonix232) also hit me up on Telegram because he was interested in helping me with the development of Lawnchair. Soon after that paphonb (mostly known for his contributions to AndroidN-ify) joined our community chat on Telegram, and we soon realized that he wasn’t using our official builds, but instead he was using a custom build with slight modifications. So we asked him, and he joined us aswell. Getting him into the team was definely a great idea as he contributed some key features like blur, or the backported adaptive icons. Jackson Hayes also joined us at that time and he’s now our web designer, PR manager and the guy behind our savage tweets.

We’re still growing

Now Lawnchair just landed in the Play Store, mostly thanks to David (divadsn) who joined the developer team in the later days. Rawi666 fixed some bugs for us and we now have almost 500'000 downloads on GitHub, and we have a small team of community moderators and supporters (yes, I mean you Skittles, Shubby, Dulce, Yannick, Craigary and Percy!) answering questions on Telegram, by Mail and on our Helpdesk. We have big plans for the future, let’s see where it takes us.

But don’t worry, Lawnchair will always stay free, ad-free and open source! That’s the #LawnchairPromise!

A big “Thank You” goes out to everyone who supported me on this journey so far, to everyone who donated (through PayPal or Play Store), to everyone who made me smile with their positive words and to every reviewer on youtube, but mostly to all the new friends I have found along the ways