Android Police has released a report which they claim gives us our first look at Google’s upcoming ‘Nexus Launcher’ that will be featured on this year’s Nexus devices and possibly all Nexus devices in general. As of now, it doesn’t seem like the launcher will replace the Google Now Launcher, however it’s a bit too early to call any shots.
The first difference you’ll probably notice in the Nexus Launcher is the fact that there’s no app drawer button. This is because in this launcher, you apparently swipe up from the dock of your home screen to access it. This allows a fifth app shortcut to be added to your home screen’s dock rather four and an app drawer icon. There’s also a pretty slick new animation when opening the app drawer (which is now fully redesigned, by the way) which goes full screen when open, with transparency playing a pretty big role in this animation alongside sleek looks and layering.
A second major difference in the Nexus Launcher is the removal of the search bar. This tool looks to be replaced with a ‘G’ button at the top left hand corner which currently activates the overlaying search we’ve all come to know. It’s assumed that in the future as a part of Android Nougat, this will activate the Google Assistant the company announced back at I/O 2016. But for now, it will bring up a search box. Android Police believes that the motive behind this feature removal is to make users want to use Assistant or Now on Tap more often since as of now, Now on Tap doesn’t have very many active users each day. It’s unclear whether this strategy will work, so we’ll have to wait and see what unfolds.
A swipe to the right of your home screen will still bring up the Google Now panel everyone loves, while a press-and-hold on an empty space on the home screen will bring up the same menu currently in the Google Now Launcher however with a dedicated settings pane for the launcher itself and not the Google app. There’s also a permanent widget that remains at the top of the launcher itself to give you the date. It’s unclear whether this utility takes up any additional room on your home screen, but theoretically it probably does.
Redesigned Now on Tap shortcuts are also reportedly on their way to better match the look of the Google Assistant. The leaked redesign of the navigation keys of Android Nougat are also expected to accompany the Nexus Launcher.
As of now, it’s very unclear whether the Nexus Launcher will actually make it to devices at all. If it does, it’s possible that it’ll remain an exclusive to this year’s Nexus devices, while on the other hand it could just remain strictly for Nexus users. I for one would like to see the launcher make it’s way to the Play Store for the world to download over the current Google Now Launcher, however I’ll simply have to cross my fingers and hope for the best as that’s all I can do.
What do you think? Will Google release a new launcher for the 2016 Nexus devices? Let us know in the comments section!