Multiple reports said that Google has been working on a special new launcher app for its 2016 Nexus devices, the HTC-made Sailfish and Marlin. Since then, we learned that the Nexus line is dying, as the two devices will be called Pixel and Pixel XL. Google is apparently ready to head in a different direction with its Nexus devices, focusing on high-end design and specs, but also more customization options.
The brand new Nexus launcher is one way Google is reportedly spicing up the Android experience it offers on its smartphones. That launcher has been renamed to Pixel Launcher, and it’s already available for download, at least unofficially.
Well known ROM developer LlabTooFer, who presented numerous leaks related to HTC devices in the past, is back with more information about the Pixel Launcher, complete with imagery and download links. As you can see in the following tweets, the Pixel launcher appears to be similar to the Nexus Launcher that was described in previous reports.
One of the things you’d immediately spot is the fact that the Google Search bar you expect to dominate the screen has been neatly hidden away, though the functionality is still there. The Pixel Launcher should also sport Google Assistant features.
The new launcher is visually identical to the leaked Nexus Launcher, Android Police says, and there are no changes compared to previous versions. The Android site was one of the first to report on the rumored new launcher coming to the 2016 Nexus handsets.
Other changes include a new icon and a new version number. The latter suggests that the Pixel smartphone will launch with Android 7.1 Nougat on board.
You can download the Pixel Launcher right now, at least unofficially. It’s not clear at this time whether other non-Pixel devices will get the Pixel Launcher, or whether existing Nexus handsets that run Nougat will also get it come October when the new Pixel phones are supposed to launch.