The Nexus Launcher: leaked, dissected and pointed back at Google
If you want the Nexus software experience (at least on the home screen) without getting a Nexus device, you can apparently just go on the internet and get it. The .apk is out for the so-called Nexus Launcher — and that brings some pertinent questions to a head.
First off, is it going to replace the Google Now Launcher? That one still exists on the Play Store for now, but could it get replaced when the time comes? The user interfaces offer starkly different interpretations of how an Android home screen should operate.
While the Google app (providing Google Now services) can still be to the left of the main screen, the app drawer has become more like a drawer — triggered with a swipe upon the shaded bottom row or a tap on the indicator arrow. A new search function has been added to the drawer. A major space oddity (in the sense that it takes up space for an odd purpose) comes in the form of a weirdly formatted date header that takes up the entire top row of the main home screen along side a button to trigger Google.
Android Police first brought the Nexus Launcher to light and has since noted that perhaps a redesign in the navigation keys might make all the difference.
Remember that new home button logo that got leaked for Android N?
The thought is that it could trigger Google Assistant from the Nexus Launcher whereas if an OEM does not program an Assistant button from the home screen, “the Nexus Launcher may not provide the experience Google would want on a non-Nexus device.”
Another thought? The outlet’s David Ruddock also thinks that Google could be rebranding all of its stock-design, stock-function apps into “Nexus” apps to let OEM device owners obtain a Nexus experience meant for all.
At this point, we’d like to see a more polished version of the launcher as well as its final load-out. We think that’ll be a better time to search for soul and mission. But if you want a quick look at it, the .apk is available for you to sideload, though the Google Now swipe-over won’t work. You’ll need to flash the .zip in your recovery.