Google’s new “Nexus Launcher” that may debut on the 2016 Nexus phones
According to multiple reliable sources, we believe that Google plans to debut a brand-new launcher for Nexus devices some time in the near future, likely on its 2016 Nexus (if they are Nexuses) smartphones Marlin and Sailfish.
We give this rumor a confidence level of 9 out of 10. We have very substantial visual evidence we can share with you today, and the quality of that information is exceptional. As such, we are subtracting a point only for the fact that we do not know to a certainty the following:
- If this launcher represents the final design choices Google will implement (it may very well change)
- If the launcher will be a Nexus exclusive (though we believe it will be at this time)
- How much the experience will change when Google Assistant / Now On Tap / Search etc. are updated for the experience (the version you see here likely doesn’t represent the new Google Search app)
But overall, we are extremely confident that Google is actively working on this new launcher design, and we’re sharing with you their progress today. I use “progress” for a reason, because Google is notorious for changing or axing software designs and features up until the final days and weeks before a product is scheduled to launch. Some of these things may never see the light of day. But with all that in mind, let’s proceed.
We have a number of animated GIFs and still images to share, as well as some descriptive information we can give you to make sense of the changes.
First off, this new launcher does away with the app drawer icon. The drawer itself remains, but it now hides under a “frosted glass” section along the static set of icons on the bottom of the homescreen, which have been increased in capacity to five as a result. To access the app drawer, you have two options. First, you can slide up anywhere in the “frosted” zone, including on the small arrow above the zone. Alternatively, you can just tap the arrow itself, which will instantly reveal the drawer. To close the drawer, you can swipe down from anywhere (except the notification and nav bars) or hit the back button. The new drawer has a large restyled search bar up top, but otherwise isn’t especially different from the current Now launcher’s.
Moving to the homescreen, we see that the standard Google Search widget has been removed. In its place is a calendar widget (this cannot be moved or removed), opposite of which you see what looks like a “G” pull-tab. Tapping the G launches search on the version of the launcher our sources showed us (this launcher is not running on final Nougat), but pulling it does nothing.