The Nexus 5 launcher will NOT be available for other devices


Nexus 5 unboxing featured

The Nexus 5 is not just a Nexus device. According to the Search Giant, this is a Google device. It is tailored to work with Google Now and other services perfectly. It also takes advantage of the whole screen by making the notification and button bars translucent. It’s not “pure Android” and this is the first Nexus device with this characteristics.

If you like the new features and aesthetics, you may be hoping your Nexus device will get these features when KitKat arrives. Well, that is simply not the case. Google has stated that this is a Nexus 5-exclusive launcher!

Google wants to see how the public reacts to the new features and design. And of course, they want you to pick up a Nexus 5 while you are at it. Meanwhile, there are no plans to bring this specific launcher to the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 or any previous Nexus device.

Nexus 5 front back hands on

Other Nexus users will still get the KitKAt update very soon, it just won’t be the translucent, Google Now-optimized one. You will get the regular one, which you can actually download now!

Now this does not mean Google has this written in stone. Google may very well change its mind at some point. We sure hope so! I enjoyed the translucent bars the LG G2 had with some apps (I wonder if LG influenced the decision to do this to the Nexus 5 bars). It really made the screen much more efficient, but it is also something you need to get used to.

I do like having the separation between the on-screen buttons and the rest of the content. It makes it clearer. I can certainly imagine a lot of non-techies trying really hard to find the buttons in the screen. What do you guys think? Are you liking the new Nexus 5 launcher? Would you like to have it?

[via The Verge]

Edgar Cervantes

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  1. I think that this is a business move by google to get more people to buy the nexus 5, and then they will release it to the general nexus public because of all the people they pissed off

  2. uh…I don’t see the difference between the Nexus 5 launcher on the N5 and the N5 Launcher I’m using on my HTC One running KitKat.

    1. i dont think there is one. they are just referring to OTA official updates, not roms.

    2. Yeah, there will definitely be ROMs based on the Nexus 5.

    3. Er, that would be because they are the same. Whoever put up the update.zip for that ROM included the N5 launcher.

  3. Yeah, I’m sure Google has plans to bring the launcher to the N4 and N7. They are just trying to keep it exclusive for a bit to sell some Nexus 5 devices.

    1. Good point, lets hope they do exactly what you said!

  4. Considering the launcher doesn’t need root to install, this is trivial

    1. But I think the translucency does

      1. Well the translucent nav and notification bars are part of the framework and not the launcher, so yeah.

        However that is something that I beleive is coming to other devices anyway.

  5. Yea I’ve had this launcher since it was made available on xda… It runs perfectly on my gs4… Who needs a general public release when you have hyperactive devs and mods!

  6. I don’t see why the launcher cannot be used on my Nexus 4,I like how it looks. Hopefully they do change their mind.

  7. Tried it on my Nexus 4 for one day and did not like it. The whole swipe right for Google Now is too much like iOS and it makes me feel like I’m missing homescreens when I can only swipe to the left for them. Nexus 4 with custom ROM is still rockin my world day in and day out.

    1. I don’t like the “swipe from right to left” thing either…
      I have widgets on the left and right of my main home screen that I’m used to.
      This will be too hard to adapt for me…

  8. What would be the point of having a google nexus phone if you could get all the features on other phones.But i’m sure some smart person has figure how to port it over.

  9. Considering I have had the launcher on my Gnex for the last 3 days, I would guess its safe to say EVERY 4.4 rom will have it.

  10. This is so dumb!
    Why add more fuel to the fragmentation flames by forking interface design like this across your own reference devices.
    The opaque background persistence of the nav buttons is a terrible design direction anyway.
    Making them transparent is a great idea. Its just half baked right now.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 while I stare at a large chunk of my screen doing NOTHING!

    1. Because Google wasn’t taking it’s ADHD meds!

  11. No article about gamestop selling refurbed 32GB Nexus 7’s (2012 model) for $99?

    It’s a bargain but store exclusive and I can’t find any stores that have them.

  12. This is a terrible move! Nexus devices are supposed to run stock android, not get exclusive software over other nexus devices.

    1. the key being ‘other nexus devices’. nexus devices can have something better over all other devices though. and dont worry, all the roms will have it.

      1. I’ve already heard from xda that the stock launcher is identical just missing the gnow integration. That matters more anyway I suppose, as nova, apex, action, or whatever launcher you use can be updated with the more modern look. I think the ICS look it’s getting kinda stale myself

  13. Translucent system bars are part of the new theming options in 4.4, it’s in the framework. We’ll miss the other goodies, though.

  14. LOL! There goes Google stepping on it’s SEARCH TOOL again.

  15. I’m a Nexus 5 owner but still greatly prefer the infinitely configurable Nova launcher. If we could somehow get the “Ok Google” voice command option for 3rd party launchers, that would be nice I suppose but if not, no huge loss since I really don’t mind do a quick swipe up from the bottom.

  16. I was really looking forward to having the new launcher on my nexus 7s. I hope they reconsider soon. I’m loving my nexus 5

  17. My note3 likes it just fine!

  18. If you’re going to force people to buy a new phone for features, at least make sure you have some in stock. 2-3 week wait for 32gb and 3-4 week wait for 16gb. Smh

  19. This sucks for mainstream users of Android… I’m also a Nova Launcher fan, have been using it since it came out as my default launcher.

    But since I got my Nexus 5, I haven’t even thought about missing Nova Launcher. Having Google Now and voice search is huge. On Nova Launcher I already had a full page dedicated to the Google Now widget. This is something great that they should really push out to the rest of android.

    I find a lot of average people have no clue about google now/voice search. They haven’t even opted in! Once they see it they love it. Pushing this launcher out would only help google get more people using Google Now.

    1. I have Google Now and voice search with Nova. OK, so I have to double tap the home key to get to gNow, but that’s hardly a big deal, and it uses no battery listening for my OK…. until I really need it.

  20. I don’t think this will be too big of a deal. I’m guess that most of the other kit-kat improvements will make it onto other nexus devices. I’m assuming that google now will still function with all of it’s improvements and be the same on a stock nexus 7 with kit kat, but we will simply be losing the swipe left for google now, and losing the translucent notification bar.

  21. In a few days I’ll be turning my G2 in to a Super Nexus 5… this stuff is for the birds

  22. Already dumped that launcher because it’s rubbish. Why on a screen that is so physically large and high resolution are we stuck with a 4×4 grid?

    And the google now screen stuck on the left is a complete abomination.

    I’m back using Nova launcher, so I can carousel through all my screens and have a grid of 6×5 icons, which also means placing widgets more sensible.

    Come on Google, give us choices like that built in!

  23. I ran both launchers(home and launcher 3) and the only difference I saw on my moto x with aosp 4.4 was the swipe right for Google now. Both launchers still had the larger icons and semi transparent status and nav bars.

    1. Does it just “swipe from right to left” only?

  24. And yet, Verizon will never see the Nexus 5. Ever. I so hate Verizon.

  25. Regarding your comment that translucent on-screen buttons could be a problem – well that kind of users already have a specific os made for them, it’s called ios.

    1. You sir cant get IOS out of your mind, get an iphone and enjoy life. It is like those gays that havent gotten out of the closet lol

  26. This is rather related to Google Now “always on” voice commands in home screen, which in Android 4.4 requires Snapdragon 800 hardware.

    1. ^ This.

    2. orrrrr the moto X compute system

    3. Seems surprising, given that people have already gotten this to work on rooted Galaxy S3s…..

  27. Nova beats it into a cocked hat. Once it has the transparent status and button bar there will be no reason anyone would want the Google launcher.

  28. From what I’m hearing, the only feature we wont see is the Google Now integration. Everything else will be there, even the transparent navigation and notification bar.

  29. Don’t really care tbh, first thing I did when I got my Nexus 7 was to install Nova Launcher.

  30. This is a terrible decision by Google. Reason I bought Nexus 4 was so I can have all the goodies that Google has to offer without all the OEM bloat. But now Google thinks it can leave its own devices behind when it comes to the new features. I know some brave developers will bring all the features to Nexus 4 but I want it from Google because that was the promise. If I have to unlock and root to get the full featured latest Android version then why bother with Nexus device? OEM devices have better camera and better design (ahem HTC One and hopefully the future Galaxy S5 rumored to feature metal body) and comparable if not better hardware.

  31. I don’t think this is true. I just downloaded and installed an AOSP build from XDA for my Nexus 7, and I had the exact same launcher the N5 ships with, GNow integration and all.

  32. Please don’t get me wrong, I love Google. But now I am pretty much confused, what exactly are we getting with Kit Kat? If you take away the changes that are now ONLY nexus 5, and the changes that amount to an update in an Application (like hangouts), they isn’t much left. As far as I can tell the biggest change is as decrease memory footprint to get it to work on phones with less memory, not a big deal for phones like the nexus 4. I was looking forward to this update, not quite as much anymore.

    1. We’re getting a lot with KitKat… fullscreen lockscreen art, music seeking from lockscreen, immersive mode, better caller id, built-in cloudprint, the cloud files integration thing, infrared support, the new NFC tap to pay workaround, …. and way more stuff that I can’t remember right now.

  33. I would check your sources on this, my N7 is running the compiled AOSP kitkat build and it has the new launcher as default. Also getting the launcher is simple and can be done on any device rooted or not with the installation of a few apks.

  34. The launcher is already available for sideloading on rooted devices.

    1. I don’t think you have to be rooted. I have it on my phone, which is rooted, but it was just an .apk so unless it does something weird on the install, you should just be able to sideload it on any Android device.

  35. Google what the hell. Not even on the Nexus 4. Your not-so-old 2012 flagship. Dear god… at least I can root…

  36. i don’t know what is funnier…. goggle say “not” or the fact that this article was posted on the same day that the launcher apks started showing up.

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