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. Android Police today has shared screenshots that show a significantly new look to the homescreen and launcher that could possibly launch and be limited to this year’s new Nexus 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.
The iconic Google Search bar has been removed from the homescreen in favor of an immovable date widget that is right aligned. As the screenshots are from a device not running the new Google Assistant, the old Search bar appears when tapping the multi-colored ‘G’ icon to the left.
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. It’s currently unknown of the launcher will definitely be limited to Nexus devices or just this year’s model.