The Nexus Launcher was leaked some time ago and gave us a glimpse into what Google was working on for its next devices. Then, it was renamed to the Pixel Launcher and the Android world threw its collective arms in the air wondering if this was the end of the Nexus program. Fast forward a few months and now we know what Google had in the works for its 2016 devices. The Pixel and Pixel XL feature a brand new launcher that can’t be used by anyone not using the devices, but that hasn’t the big “G” from releasing the app onto the Play Store.
The release of the Pixel Launcher onto the Play Store now allows Google to control updates for the launcher without providing a system update. The release also indicates that if Google chooses to open up downloads for everyone, the wheels will already be in motion and it will only require a flick of a switch to turn that into a reality.
Now, that hasn’t stopped some from trying to figure out how to sideload the application onto our devices so that we can get the Pixel feeling on any Android device. Luckily, there is a way to do so, and you’ll need to download the APK from here, then install from there. However, it’s worth noting that the new Google Feed (Google Now) won’t work properly if you sideload due to not being able to set the Pixel Launcher as a system application.
Of course, if you don’t want to mess with sideloading, you can turn to Nova Launcher or Action Launcher which have been updated with various Pixel Launcher features to give you that feeling you want. There’s even a nifty tutorial to turn Nova Launcher into Pixel Launcher, minus the round icons, but you can check out DrumDestroyer’s new “Pixelicious” icon pack to get those new icons.