We've managed to secure a copy and we're going to extract every possible ounce of info out of it.
Sadly, we aren't allowed to distribute it - we have to honor the request of the person who scored us a copy. Sorry! We will tell you everything we can about it, though.
The main screen is, well, broken. That makes navigating the app a little difficult. However with liberal use of the search button and a few tricks it's possible to find your way around. (And yes, the search still blows.)
Browsing For Apps
Ugh. Pray to god the new action bar isn't final.
App categories mostly looks the same. The tab bar has gotten a big revamp, and there are now "Editors' Choice" and "Staff Pick" buttons just above the category list. The featured tab is missing in this build.
Most tabs look like the center picture, a row of horizontal cards. There are Google Now-style menu buttons on the right of each card that allow you to buy (or install) and add an app to your wishlist.
The trending tab has a special layout, the cards are much taller and in rows of 3.
Here's what it looks like in horizontal mode. The cards jump to a 2-wide formation.
Every tab in tablet mode looks like this. Except for Categories which looks like this:
"Staff Picks" has a pretty normal layout, "Editor's Choice," however, gets this special, centered, single card look.
The Play Store's color coding is still intact. The sections all have similar layouts to the App section.
My Apps now sports an "Update" button even if there's only one app to update. There's still no way to see your purchased apps. Booo.
Here's tablet mode. There's still no way to see the change log from this screen. BOOOO!
Auto update has been changed from opt-in to opt-out (just clear your data). That's way easier.
App Screens & Install
It's interesting that everything has been turned into a card layout, but this screen, which used to use cards for each section, has been flattened into a single, grey strip. The apps at the bottom are presented the same way as they are in some of the browse tabs.
This is what the install flow looks like. It's just these screens. The horrible post-install screen is gone.
And here are the purchase screens.
The settings are pretty much the same. Update over Wi-Fi has been collapsed into the "Auto-update apps" option. Nothing groundbreaking. This build is 4.0.16.
That's all for now. The blocky action bar doesn't look any better in person, it's absolutely horrible. I think it has no chance of making it into the final app. Right now it just ruins everything.
Right now, the Play Store does not share silky smooth, highly-animated slickness of something like Google Search or the newly released Google Keep (it's been a busy day!). It works pretty much like the regular Play Store. I wouldn't say it's any faster or slower, hopefully, that's what they're working on next. If they removed the dirt from the action bar and add some of those swoopy Google Now animations, I'd be in love. Even now, it's way better-looking than the current Play Store.
I'm going to get working on a teardown, and I'll report back if I find anything neat.
We aren't allowed to distribute this APK (sorry!), but we can take any screenshots we want. So if you've got any questions, just ask in the comments.