Google’s Pixel smartphones don’t bring a ton of completely unique software features, but one that immediately stands out is its launcher. The “Pixel Launcher” is Google’s new take on what an Android homescreen should be, with a unique app drawer implementation and a great overall style. While it’s easy enough to sideload the launcher on any device, it does break quite a bit of the functionality — until now.
The best gifts for Android users
Thanks to the work of developer AmirZ, a fully-functional version of the Pixel Launcher is now available for any other Android smartphone. Unlike the standard sideloaded version, this modified version still supports features such as the Google Now panel, Search “Pill,” the weather widget as well. It’s a mostly seamless experience that is basically identical to what Pixel owners have.
The entire launcher is based on AOSP’s Launcher3 which was modified with code from the Pixel Launcher. The downloaded APK has the same package name as the official Pixel Launcher, something the developer says is required in order to keep the weather widget functional. Users on Reddit have reported encouraging results with this launcher, although some devices do seem to have some issues with it including some Samsung phones.
The developer has also been able to pull all of the changes made to Launcher3 into a simple commit on GitHub which other Launcher3 based Android launchers can import to enable similar functionality. This, arguably, could be the bigger story with this development, as it could be the first step to bringing a true Google Now panel to more third-party launchers.
It’s important to note with this launcher that it is not officially from Google by any means, so install at your own risk. The launcher doesn’t require root, simply the ability to sideload an APK and that you don’t already have the standard Pixel Launcher installed. The APK is available for download now via GitHub.