You don’t have a Pixel 2 right now, because the release date isn’t until next Thursday, October 19th. But with 30 seconds of work and an Android phone, you can pretend like you’ve got Google’s newest flagship, thanks to the release of the Pixel 2 default launcher.
The app, which you can download from an unofficial mirror here, is the new default launcher for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The biggest change is a Google Search bar at the bottom of the screen, and a new Glance widget. Otherwise, it’s virtually identical to the old Pixel launcher. Either way, it’s almost certainly better than whatever you’re running right now.
The Pixel 2 launcher will work with any phone running Android 5.0 and above, which is basically anything less than three years old. The file is a tiny 2.5MB, as there’s not much going on under the hood. Just make sure you install it as a system application so that the Google Feed appears when you swipe left, otherwise the app won’t have the permissions to make that work.
If you want to get your hands on the actual Pixel 2 before release date, you can head to one of Google’s pop-up retail locations in NYC or LA, or go to a Verizon corporate store right now. The Verizon stores and Google retail locations have all the models of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on display, as well as most of the other new toys Google announced alongside the new Pixels.
Although the Pixel 2 is a Verizon exclusive, you don’t actually have to be a Verizon customer if you want one. The Pixel 2 is also available unlocked directly from Google, or as part of the Google-run Project Fi MVNO. T-Mobile also has a killer offer: Buy a Pixel 2 somewhere else, bring it to T-Mobile, and they’ll give you $325 on a prepaid gift card just for showing up.