Google may be releasing Android Nougat before launching its new Nexus devices, but that doesn’t mean it’s giving away all its goodies. A number of rumors have suggested that Google is working on a new launcher for this year’s upcoming Nexus devices and a new leak gives a look at what we could expect. A report by Android Police suggests Google is completely redesigning the Launcher app in time for its new devices.
According to the screenshots, the app drawer is no longer accessed by a button on the Favorites tray. Rather, users can pull up the drawer by sliding up a frosted Favorites tray or by tapping an app arrow icon just above it. Five app icons now fit on the tray and the drawer itself has been slightly redesigned with a button on top to search apps. The white app drawer also shows the status bar icons in black, like many other Google apps are moving towards today. Google also appears to be returning to app folder design first seen in the N Developer Preview 2.
You can still swipe right to access Google Now, but pulling on the tab itself doesn’t seem to do anything. To the right of this nub is what appears to be a permanent calendar widget. Both the nub and the widget only seem to show up on your primary homescreen.
Android Police also notes that as this launcher wasn’t running on a device with Android Nougat, some features weren’t operational. There’s likely to be tight integration with the upcoming Google Assistant, for instance. AP speculates that the removal of the search widget is a move by Google to push users to Assistant/Now on Tap. The final interface could end up looking like the Now on Tap toolbar that pops up when the feature is triggered on the homescreen. These shortcuts to create new reminders, events, etc. and nearby locations could possibly be rebranded as part of the Assistant. The rumored multi-colored on-screen buttons would also fit into this design.
This design is subject to change and still missing a large portion that is the Google Assistant. Without the newer search app and Google Assistant on display, we may not have the full view of what the “Nexus launcher” will look and feel like when it launches just yet. But this is a tantalizing leak nonetheless. It’s currently unknown of the launcher will definitely be limited to Nexus devices or just this year’s model.
I personally like the idea of losing the app launcher button; this is a more efficient use of space. On the other hand, it’s probably going to confuse a whole lot of people. Hopefully it won’t be long until we hear about those new Nexus devices and find out more.
How about you? Do you like it? If you do, here’s how you can recreate it on your own smartphone. and while you’re at it, also download the new wallpapers from Nexus 2016