Originally Posted by dbpaddler
The launcher is basically home base. Your home screens and the app launcher. The stock one falls under Samsung's UI called Touchwiz. Hence you'll hear TW launcher all the time. It adds a few widgets that are only available for that launcher as well as a couple S-pen niceties like the menu popping up when you remove the pen as well as the separation notification if you leave your stylus behind.
Third parties in the Play store make replacement launchers that have addded functionality. The one main feature is the app dock. Where the TW launcher just has the four icons at the bottom, launchers like Holo, Novo, Go and Apex have a sliding dock that allows you to flip through multiple screens of apps along that dock area. Each brings a little something else to the table.
1. So is there any other launcher that at least retains or boosts S-Pen function?
2. Does one need to ROOT their device first do install a new "launcher"? I know that in BlackBerry world, what you're describing sounds like what we called "themes" which changed everything about our homescreen (number of icons displayed, symbol changes for those icons, way screens transitioned from one to another, etc). In BB World, there's no Rooting required but I figured I'd ask since I'm an Android n00b.