12
Oct
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Several days ago, I started a series of rumor posts on my personal Google+ account discussing some Android rumors I felt were interesting enough to share, but didn't feel confident enough yet to do so here on the site. The posts were heavily prefixed with disclaimers that none of them may turn out to be true but that I had a certain level of confidence to talk about them in public unofficially.

Today, I'd like to present rumor #8, which is going straight to Android Police because of the relatively high confidence level.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.

This post contains a certain amount of speculation.

We do not have possession of any APKs or unreleased devices, so please don't ask for them.

Confidence level

Based on everything I've seen so far, I'm assigning this rumor a score of 7 out of 10. I'm docking three points because the features and the UI can change by the time KitKat is out. The Android team is still putting a lot of work into the launcher, and everything is changing from one test build to the next.

Just to be clear, it's not the validity of the information below that I question - it's how many changes it will receive by the time Android 4.4 is released.

The rumor

Google is preparing a new launcher that will be called Google Experience. At least, that's what it was called in a build from just a couple of weeks ago, and I don't think it will change.

From the looks of it, I'd say it's going to be one of the more important bullet points on the Android 4.4 changelog.

Additionally, there's a chance it may be released to the Play Store, although only Google can confirm this plan. Allow me to elaborate.

The Google Experience name

image

First up - the name Google Experience. In addition to this [heavily cropped] screenshot, I have looked through the very detailed log file shared by Myce and found that it contains references to a package called com.google.android.gel. The corresponding APK lives at /system/app/GoogleHome.apk, which clearly points to it being a launcher.

<package name="com.google.android.gel" codePath="/system/app/GoogleHome.apk">

Take a look at that package name. gel matches up with the Google Experience Launcher abbreviation perfectly. Additionally, this component of the package com.google.android.gel.GEL shows up in several places too. Unless Google decides to rename it at the last moment, I think we're all going to see this name come KitKat's release day.

A big step forward?

Internally, things like variables and permissions used to live under the namespace com.android.launcher2 and now live under com.android.launcher3, meaning the launcher is now internally referred to as version 3.

You can see the AOSP code for version 1 here and version 2 here. Launcher2 replaced version 1 all the way back in Android 2.0 in 2009. Now, 4 years later, we're about to see 3.0.

To me, this only confirms that the Android team is treating this release as significant - we're getting a full new version 3 of the launcher.

Will it come to the Play Store?

There's another interesting thing happening here. If you take a look at stock Android 4.3, you will see that the current launcher's package name is com.android.launcher. The new one is com.google.android.gel. Now look at Google's current selection of apps in the Play Store. Almost all of them start with "com.google.android" instead of "com.android."

Take a walk down memory lane to the day Calendar was decoupled from the core OS and released to the Play Store, and you'll notice that at that time the stock com.android.calendar package name was changed to com.google.android.calendar. The same thing happened to the keyboard (com.google.android.inputmethod.latin), Gmail (com.google.android.gm), and pretty much everything Google migrated over.

Having said that, there are exceptions to this rule, though I think the apps that already do have com.google.android in their package names, such as the Clock in Android 4.3 (com.google.android.deskclock), are just waiting their turn.

I'm not saying with 100% certainty that we're going to see the launcher released to the Play Store, but to me, it certainly looks like it. At least eventually and not necessarily with KitKat.

By the way, as Myce noticed, com.android.dialer has changed over to com.google.android.dialer in the test KitKat build, and so did com.google.android.GoogleCamera which is actually a brand new package - the old camera was part of the Gallery, so we may theoretically see these apps released to the Play Store as well.

Update: KitKat's motto is "to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody." Sounds good to me!

image

Update #2: It's possible that the Google Experience brand is going to include other components that you can install to get the Google experience on your device. That would certainly make sense, but at this time I have no evidence to back that up, so it's just speculation on my part (thanks, +Luke Monahan, for the idea).

The features

Here are some things you can expect from Google Experience.

Side note: My post about Google Experience was actually scheduled for this weekend - I delayed posting about it all week while trying to dig up as much info as possible in order to paint a more complete picture. As you may know, yesterday morning's KitKat leak by TuttoAndroid already let us in on some details, so not all of this information is going to be new anymore. However, it also served as a second confirmation, which only makes me more confident in the information I've collected.

Note #1: Unfortunately, in the interest of protecting our sources, we can't post additional screenshots today. Rather than not posting any visuals at all, we opted for mockup images of Google Experience, masterfully designed by our own Liam Spradlin. They paint a relatively accurate picture, but may be off on some details (whether purposely or not).

Note #2: Once again, these can change by release time, and I'm not claiming this list of features to be complete.

  • Both the nav and the status bars are now transparent, but only while in the launcher. As soon as you launch any app, they go back to the black non-transparent background. I imagine this behavior may change, but that's how we saw it working on a recent test build. I really doubt Google will ever make it a per-app setting since that would create a very inconsistent visual experience when you switch between apps, so I think it'll be limited to just the launcher.
  • Google Search/Now is integrated deep within Google Experience. As TuttoAndroid already pointed out, the very left homescreen is reserved for a permanent Google Search/Now screen.
  • This Google Search/Now screen now has a one-touch button to set a reminder. I'm not sure if the Google Search app itself also changed similarly, but it would only make sense.
  • The Search's voice input prompt is now kind of transparent on the bottom and floats instead of occupying the whole screen. I've included a comparison screenshot from Android 4.3 to demonstrate the difference.
  • The amount of homescreens is no longer limited to 5 and looks to be infinitely expandable. The right home screen is always empty. If you add something to it, it creates another one to the right of it. That way, you never have to create homescreens manually.
  • Similarly, we now get infinite app folders which are no longer limited to the previous max of 16 apps. In order to accommodate this change, the folders now scroll if they contain more than 16 shortcuts.
  • You can no longer add widgets from the app drawer - that area is now reserved for just apps. The widget selector has moved back to the homescreen long-press menu where it joined the wallpaper selector, along with a link to the Settings. However, since this area is still largely incomplete, it may change drastically by release time.

The rest of these have been pointed out by TuttoAndroid, but I'll include them for completeness:

  • The app drawer icon no longer has a circle around it.
  • The horizontal separator with home screen identifiers is replaced by little dots above.
  • The app drawer's background is now transparent rather than black.
  • TuttoAndroid's build is newer than the one our source had access to and shows a new wallpaper reminiscent of the one on the Nexus 7.
  • The lockscreen, which may be part of the new launcher, has a camera icon but still swipes to the right to open said camera.
  • This isn't related to the launcher, but a few icons have changed, including the dialer icon. I certainly hope this is not the one we'll end up with, but in the meantime we decided to incorporate it into our mockups.

The mockups

wm_1 wm_5

Left: transparent navigation and notification bars mockup; right: infinitely deep folders mockup

wm_2 wm_4

Left: the dedicated Search/Now homescreen mockup; right: mockup of the prompt showing 'Google Experience'

wm_3 wm_Screenshot_2013-10-11-14-06-13

Left: the voice input prompt in Android 4.4 mockup; right: the voice input prompt in Android 4.3

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Justin Foster

    Wish someone could leak the apk. xD

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I wonder if it'll be compatible with <4.4 due to all the changes, like the transparency. I mean, I guess they could just disable that on <4.4, so in theory it's definitely possible.

      • Justin Foster

        curse API levels D:

      • zhuowei

        I thought most of the Google unbundled applications are backwards compatiable? e.g. the Google Keyboard works for 4.0 and above.

        That might be a good test to confirm/dispel the decouple-launcher-and-upload-to-Play part of the rumour.

      • Thomas’

        I don't think so. The menu/soft buttons are off limit for apps due to security reasons. And Google's apps in the Play Store are treated (almost?) the same as 3rd party apps.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          There could be a new switch for nav/notif transparency settings available to launchers in KitKat, which would get ignored in <4.4. Sure, that sounds plausible.

          • Thomas’

            You mean a flag like the fullscreen one to hide the navigation buttons? That would be a possibility.

            But then again - does the system actually now which app is a launcher? It calls the appropriate intent when clicking the home button, but this is just standard Android behavior. So how can it apply this feature only to launchers?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Good point, though I suppose nothing prevents them to use the list of intents that register for http://developer.android.com/reference/android/content/Intent.html#CATEGORY_HOME.

          • tym0

            When you have a launcher as a default launcher it doesn't appear in the app switcher so I guess the system would know when to activate the transparency...

    • Dylan Williams

      Only just over a couple of weeks to wait now.
      Not that hard, is it ?
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Dammit REALEASE IT NOW GOOGLE !!!!!

      • Justin Foster

        Please let this Nexus come b4 November

        • Frederico Silva

          No can do. I wish they would host the event 15th, but I really doubit it. I think it will be a timeline similar to last year. End of October event, almost-mid-Novemebr release..

          • mikeym0p

            What I'm thinking is they're going to announce it on the 15th. Like the rumors say, and then release them for sale (and source) later in the month just like the naysayers are preaching.

  • TY

    Stock android experience for everyone?

    • http://lmgtfy.com/ István Tóth-Király

      Yap, they're doing that. It's still a really great idea imho.

    • Larizard

      Looks like that's what they are aiming for in the Kitkat release.

      http://www.android.com/kitkat

    • challenge_accepted

      Maybe that's what they meant by the 4.4 tag line

    • nexusplay

      The Google Now "Screen"/"Widget" looks like a card. It fits perfectly in between the nav and status bar. Android 5.0, Card UI time.

      • Geoffrey Gunter

        Yuck, too much white. I think this is a good balance between the two, or they could always just add a dark theme option to everything. Don't get me wrong, I do like the card theme, I just think they could make it overkill.

    • Thomas’

      Well, not completely.

      I wonder if they'll decouple the status bar and the quick settings into an app (however this should be implemented). In this case one could remove most of the manufacturer crap.

      • Paul Henschel

        basically it is an app. systemUI. its wired into the system, though - in a chaotic way. if they manage to clean it up, there might be a chance.

      • Weston

        Hey not all manufacturer mess up the notification shade or the quick settings. HTC and Moto for example.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      The thing is anyone has always been able to do this with a third party launcher. The part of a custom rom that really gets screwed up that there is no fixing is the Notification panel. That needs to be an app.

      • Zak Taccardi

        Yes, a thousand times yes. I saw the touchwiz notification bar today, my god is it awful.

        • Alex

          The stock notification panel with the "long click to toggle, short click to change settings" seems a step back from Touchwiz/Cyanogenmod etc. to me. Off topic, but the biggest turnoff for Touchwiz from me is how much memory it uses (I regularly get the widget redraw effect when returning to homescreen on my 1GB International Galaxy S3 after going through a couple of apps, which doesn't happen on slimmer ROMs).

          • Chapa

            Remember to disable the double-click-home-button to access SVoice, since that destroys performance on returning to the home screen.

          • Zak Taccardi

            I agree there is room for improvement in the stock status bar, but I would take it any day over the bloated touchwiz one (ugly, and takes up half the screen). Yes - it could learn a lot from cyanogenmod's.

          • Zak Taccardi

            I agree there is room for improvement in the stock status bar, but I would take it any day over the bloated touchwiz one. Yes - it could learn a lot from cyanogenmod's.

            I really hope there's a way to toggle mobile data in the 4.4 stock status bar.

          • Alex

            Why do you think the Touchwiz one is bloated? It looks fine to me -- perhaps the device you saw hadn't configured what icons to show in the button bar? I only have 5 buttons in mine, which makes it non-scrolling: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile data, Sync and Power Saving. (I use Mobile data and Sync when roaming, and the others fairly regularly).

        • Lexster

          I like the TouchWiz notification tray, actually. Of all the skins I've used, I've found I like the TouchWiz one the best. Of course, it could just be that I absolutely love the Note 3 right now.

      • neastws

        Would the notification listeners in 4.3 make a notification shade app more plausible?

      • jm9843

        Don't you think that Google will also release something of a "Google Experience" helper app that automatically installs all of the necessary stuff for the user? (e.g. keyboard, dialer, camera, launcher, etc.)

        • Luiz Henrique

          It would be amazing.

      • Plazmic Flame

        Actually, no. If you have a Note 3 from Samsung, even if you install a launcher and change the icon, if you open the SMS app, you're still greeted with ugly TouchWiz look.

        I look forward to Google offering all the parts of stock Android as separate pieces so I can replace them on the Note 2/3.

      • mikeym0p

        Sadly it's the hard to fix. HTC and Motorola are the only OEMS that dont completely destroy it.

      • Fred Bed

        Good point +

      • Cody Curry

        But wasn't there some API strings uncovered (in 4.3?) that pointed towards the ability to alter the notification shade in the future?

        It could be that 4.4 will bring the ability to replace or imitate the notification bar, and the functionality will be handled by Launchers.

      • Kurleigh Martin

        Would the new notification listener API in 4.3 allow for a replacement notification drawer in any theoretical Google Launcher?

      • Crispin Swickard

        Even though I don't see myself with a non nexus, or at the very least something that has a near stock ROM experience I would love to see Android be able to be modular down to the notification panel/contacts/dialer etc. The keyboard, and all was a good start, but all the apps would be amazing. We all know there is multiple benefits including faster bug fixes. It would be HUGE for android.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

      Except not even Google Now is available for Android 4.0...

      • Keegan Choffat

        Update?

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

          Except many devices can't go higher than 4.0.x because of the OEMs??

          • Cael

            I think he meant an update to Google Now to make it available for Android 4.0 ...

  • Pablo

    I'll say it again"Google take my money! " lol!

    • Justin Foster

      "We're sorry. Google servers are currently unavailable"

  • Jay Wilhelm

    My phone is ready.

  • LockesKidney

    i think what im most excited about is all the apps being separated from the build and being updated in the play store. More importantly the camera app being worked out outside of major releases. IT NEEDS HELP!

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      That, and SMS FOR HANGOUTS! YAY!

      • Plazmic Flame

        Google Hangouts as default SMS app and available to handle SMS on other devices!! Google, help me get rid of ugly TouchWiz sms!!

        • Babs Oyed

          TouchWiz sms is infinitely more functional and versatile than stock Android.
          I don't understand what all this TouchWiz hate is all about.

          • Javier Maria Casares

            I do understand why a lot of people despise TouchWiz, but I also understand that a lot of people like it. That is bloated, there is no discussion, as it needs more RAM and uses more CPU. But that also comes with more functionality. It is debatable if people need (or use) those new features. I would go the Motorola way and let users decide what to install in their phones by publishing the apps to the store and letting users decide to remove them from their new phones or install them at a later date.

            And yes, stock SMS is really plain and feature less.

          • Nicklas

            TouchWiz is ugly. That's it. I wouldn't mind 80% of the features if they designed it better. It's not the 90's anymore, Samsung.

          • Plazmic Flame

            It looks like garbage. While there may be functionality, it should look like complete ass. Samsung is in desperate need of a UI designer.

        • Sahil Chaturvedi

          Why don't you get on Cyanogenmod or something? Trust me, you won't regret it. Anything is better than crapwiz LOL

          • Plazmic Flame

            That is true but I'm not a tinker'er, want to get the best experience out the box or be able to fix the issue with an app. From all the research I've done, there are no perfect ROMs, everything has issues and in some cases if there is a very stable ROM, it lacks a certain radio support or some other vital function of the device.

          • Sahil Chaturvedi

            Yeah, I know what you mean, man. I recently stopped flashing ROMs, and went back to stock on my Galaxy Nexus, and WOW. It's so much faster.
            I'm willing to give up a bit of functionality for simplicity and speed.

            Get a Nexus next time, and you're set ;)

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      We already have Focal in the Play Store. Shouldn't that be enough?

      • Frettfreak

        Not hardly. Focal is kinda crap.

      • Steve B

        Is this a joke? Focal is complete garbage.

      • ceserasera

        Focal still needs to be upgraded...
        For now, It is totally garbage. It just sucks.

    • Alex

      I'd really like to see a Photosphere compatible camera in the Play store. I might not use it for everyday photos, as the native camera on devices often has better customised features for the hardware, but I'd really like to have the ability to do Photospheres.

  • eliseo

    We want a(ll) digit of the date...

  • rizkisrq

    I think there will be major change at the icons, considering Google taking direction to Flatter Design (see the new phone icon, the new Google logo, and many small flatter icons on G+). Personally, I liked it that way.

    But one question : What will happens if I set my wallpaper to all white in 4.4 ?

    • Dylan Williams

      I'm sure that on the actual leak shots, the statusbar looked as if it wasnt 100% transparent.
      On the custom ROM I run on my Nexus 4, I tend to have it 80% transparent or so, which helps with visibility.

      • haroonazeem638

        Can you please tell me which custom rom has this feature?

        • Nick

          Carbon has it, you can change the status bar icons to white also to match 4.4 if you want. There's probably others but that's what I use.

        • Oğuz Can Ayverdi

          I'm using this feature with Paranoid Android.

          • haroonazeem638

            I used Paranoid Android and was never able to find this feature. Plus CM felt a lot more stable and functional on my Nexus 4. I was hoping there was some kind of app that could do this!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think there's still a bit of opacity at the top and bottom, so you'll still be able to see things, but just not very well.

    • bse88

      IMO it should change the icons to black/dark gray or have a small shadow like Whatsapp´s date printed over photos.

  • Lirodon

    Hopefully this doesn't mean that even the home screen will be a Google app that needs to be installed separately on roms (thenagain, Trebuchet is a thing)

    • Matthew Merrick

      Trebuchet as compared to nova or apex

      • Lirodon

        No I meant; I hope that this doesn't mean that the Android launcher will be decoupled from Android and no longer open source

        • tym0

          I'm afraid of that too, google seems to do that more and more often.
          If Hangouts is replacing messenger will it disappear from AOSP?
          What happen exactly with AOSP Browser?

          • Lirodon

            There's a Chromium Android too

          • tym0

            But is it considerer part of AOSP?

          • Lirodon

            Its in with the main Chromium codebase, though. Browser, though, is.

    • fri13

      This means Google will release own Launcher for Android, nothing to do with Android itself.

      Every Google app and service doesn't belong to Android and it is free from Google. Thing what people don't get is that gmail, chrome, Google maps, Google search etc etc are third party apps for android like anyone else apps are for Android.

      You have as default a android own launcher and apps (email, browser, dialer, messaging etc etc).
      and you can choose what to use.

  • Nomaan

    Gel = Google experience launcher

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, I said as much in the post.

      • kekkojoker90

        Apple fanboy says the new GEL is great for the hair :facepalm:

  • Willie D

    Looks good. I mean, its a brighter version of Holo thats for sure, and I know a lot of people will claim it copies Apple with the colors and brightness and white aspect, but lets be honest, Google used bright and bold colors in Android way longer than Apple has.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Make sure you're not confusing our mockups and the reality - I wouldn't pay attention to exact colors in them - they are, after all, approximate mockups.

  • Dycius

    I predicted that they would have a way to go to stock a few months back with downloadable content from the play store. :) I posted my prediction on G+ and it wasn't well received. :(

    • Thomas’

      Because this will only bring the launcher to stock, but not anything else.

  • jesuguru

    "The right home screen is always empty. If you add something to it, it creates another one to the right of it."

    This made my brain hurt a little... are you sure you don't mean it creates another screen to the *left* of it, so that the empty screen remains the rightmost screen?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      No, I mean exactly this. If you have 3 screens and add something to the 3rd screen, Google Experience adds a 4th empty screen automatically, to the right of the 3rd screen.

      • jesuguru

        Got it... though one could consider the altered screen as having moved to the left, and empty screen remains rightmost. Either way, no remaining brain pain, can sleep peacefully now.

      • Sean Powell

        I imagine it'll work the same as the lockscreen widget panes do now

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      Nah, I think he's right. The rightmost screen is empty, and when you add something to it, it creates a new one to the right one if, and that new right one is the new 'blank' one.
      Lol it's confusing.

    • Darkbotic

      Actually, is the same thing.

      [ ] [ ] [ ] +> [ ]

      [ ] [ ] [ ] <+ [ ]

      • jesuguru

        Yeah, my brain processed the latter, without considering the former as equivalent. Maybe I'm right-brained or something.

  • Mark Slavin

    I've heard rumors that the Nexus 5 and KitKat will be unveiled on the 15th. What makes me doubt it is that press invites haven't gone out (unless they have and everyone is Embargoed/NDA'd).

    I would love the launcher (plus other apps) to be unbundled and available to 4.0 up.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I am like 80% sure 15th is total BS.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        But when will the Google Event take place then? I'm waiting fro them to unveil a new Nexus 10, else I'd get the current gen

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          To play the devil's advocate, who's to say they will have an event at all? It's possible we'll all (maybe except for TheVerge that always gets inside access) be surprised one day.

          • Joey Colclough

            I'll go with the 23rd of this month it, as it was the release date for the original Android phone the G1

      • angel_spain

        Any chance that you let us know why you think that? Just to get rid of this hype we are feeling.

  • Kishan

    15th is not likely.

    • jimv1983

      I agree. The 15th is only 3 days away and there hasn't been an official announcement about the event yet. Many people are usually invited to these events and invitations haven't even been sent yet. I'm thinking the 21st at the earliest.

      • http://www.efetech.com.ar Federico

        I think the element of surprise is what Google is searching for. Take the Nexus 4 as an example, nobody thought it would be announced after the event cancelation.

        • jimv1983

          The Nexus 4 was announced without an event because the event was scheduled to take place on the east coast and hurricane Sandy was happening and unsure when it was going to let up. That doesn't change the fact that an event WAS scheduled.

          The press attends these types of things. Invitations are set out. They make a big deal out of it. Last years event was scheduled for 10/29/2012. The invitations were sent out 11 days earlier on 10/18/2012.

  • gheban

    Just two small requests to google:

    1- please give us the option to have a numerical battery percentage in the status bar.

    2- please make the number of icons in the dock infinite like it is in the drawer. "swipe left or right for more"

    • Justin Foster

      Number 2 is a little ridiculous....That's what the drawer is for xD

      • PHOENIX

        not necessarily, I rarely ever open my app drawer, when i do its usually to uninstall something. I find swiping through the dock to be a more pleasent way to get to my most used apps.

        I think this is what the homescreen system was designed for: easy navigation. With the app drawer being more for maintenance, or at least that's how I treat it.
        Maybe I'm ridiculous.

        • pfmiller

          That's what the home screens are for. If you have to scroll through the dock too, it has no purpose anymore.

          • Andrew Morales

            For me, home screens are for widgets. The dock is for app icon access. Using Nova Launcher, I have two dock pages that contain folders for all the apps I use grouped by type. My main home page is completely empty for aesthetics, and the other four pages are packed with widgets for quick access to useful functions.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    This looks awful, even copies iOS7 is some parts

    • Justin Foster

      Rofl. Where u think the design for iOS7 came from? ;)

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        And now Google strikes back with the same move?
        Judging on these mockup, I like 4.3 more than 4.4 in the UI aspect

        • Justin Foster

          How can Google strike back with ITS OWN design trend??? This is the path Goog has been moving towards since Google Now Cards

          • Larizard

            I think he's talking specifically about the "interactions", not just the aesthetics. For example, swiping all the way to the left brings up Google Now. This is the same functionality as in my2nd Gen iPod touch, and I believe has been around since the original iPhone-- where your leftmost home screen is a search function.

            The dots on the bottom as page indicators are very iPhoney and TouchWizzy as well.

          • Justin Foster

            Ah, I see. I think that's pretty time consuming when you can just use the widget or hold the menu button.

  • Zak Taccardi

    Please have up/down/double tap swipe gestures. I'd love to go stock over nova launcher!

  • fonix232

    Everybody seems to like these changes, but I'm sitting here, scratching my head.
    - The changed icons make it feel a bit like iOS7. Of course with more elegance, but still.
    - This feel is increased by the increased amount of status circles. Before, we had that really nice bottom slider on the homescreen/app menu, and now it is going in the iOS direction.
    - The iOS7 feel might be because of the static blue background. Can we get some mockups with the new Nexus 7 wallpapers please?
    - The leftmost search page is ugly. Either make it cover everything, or make it like the voice input prompt: a small edge, a minimal margin, where it shows the wallpaper.
    - Moving the widgets was a baaad idea. This was the most welcome change in 3.0 for me, and I was the happiest when I heard they will keep it in 4.0 too. Something innovative in UX, easy to access, yet simple. And now they're throwing it away. Launcher3 is pretty much an early Launcher2 (2.2 maybe?) with minimal features (folders, horizontal scrolling) added to it, and some graphical overhaul.
    - I get that moving the launcher to a Google package and keeping it updated via the Play Store is supposed to be good, but we are heading towards a locked down system, aren't we?
    Also the dialer and Messages apps are now Google-packaged, meaning that non-Play certified devices won't get Google updates, but those devices are usually the ones released with a firmware then forgotten about.

    Apart from these small issues I have, the UI is indeed evolving. Question is - in what direction?

    • Brandon Jiang

      if these are the biggest issues for you, nova and apex and icon packs still exist.

      welcome to android.

      • fonix232

        Because what can give a more complete feeling on first start than needing to download a few apps to have a device working as it should?

        Besides the availability of 3rd party apps won't make the lawsuits go away - Apple will DEFINITELY sue for the leftmost-search-panel, if not for other things. And that I can partly understand, indeed they were the first manufacturer to embed that into their OS.

        • Brandon Jiang

          Apple is done with lawsuits. Tim Cook does not want any more of it, as the previous ones were all leftovers from the Steve Jobs era.

          The launcher on Android has never been great. It is there because Android needs a homescreen for the average consumer to use. Basic functionality is present, but for any sort of power user, the first app to download is a replacement launcher. Also, "working as it should" is completely different for different people. You may not think it is "working as it should," whereas other people will. I'm sure there are people who hate the current launcher and welcome this change. Please bro, complaining about a changeable feature is pretty pointless. If you were bitching about the iOS homescreen, there is much more reason to.

        • Oğuz Can Ayverdi

          AFAIK, Apple hardly sues Google. They prefer trolling the hardware manufacturers instead.

          • fonix232

            Who said anything about suing Google? Of course they'll go after Samsung, LG, HTC, etc., but they will adapt the new functions to an extent.

            Though now that Google actually provides them as a service, Apple can get on them. So far the problem was that the violating apps/code were all open sourced and used like that, and only distributors could be attacked directly. Now this changes, if Google pushes the launcher on Play Store.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, the background definitely takes away from the effect and beauty. Liam's on a plane to NYC to pick up his Glass though, so I'm not sure when he'd be able to spend some time mocking up the new wallpaper.

  • nebula

    I think 4.4 will also have a new multitasking animation, since it doesn't have one in 4.3 and an instant turn of the navigation and statusbar color from transparent to black wouldn't be nice. Paranoid Android fades from transparent to black, but it also looks a little odd, because it fades to black when the multitasking background is already black.

  • angel_spain

    If it doesn't have gestures, I'll stick to nova launcher. I swype up to get QS panel, down to get notifications, it's essential to handle your phone with one hand.

    Anyway I assume that things like transparencies or floating windows will belong to framework, not launcher.

    • Guess

      I'm sure Nova Launcher will adopt all of the features of this launcher in the future.

  • Matthew Mackes

    It all lines up. "Give me a break.. give me a break... Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat (Bar)"

  • LiamBryant

    But having a transparent nav bar and status bar is that it makes it impossible to have a white or light background. I'd like an option to colorize these icons because any background that shows a landscape will undoubtedly have clouds which will make it impossible to see the icons.

    • nebula

      The status and navigation bar has a black shadow. So it will probably always be dark enough to see the icons. I'm sure Google is aware of this. Maybe we'll finally get some settings for the stock launcher

    • Imparus

      Not a problem, the shadows at the bottom and top is enough to show the white icons.

      source: custom rom with transparent status bar and navigation.

  • Hal Motley

    Yuck, iOS 7 aesthetic coming to Android? I am glad this is a rumour because I can't stand the look of iOS 7. Johnny Ive should have stuck to hardware.

    • Imparus

      This is the direction Google have been moving since 4.1. You are even using keep as your avatar that follows those "new" guidelines to the mark >.>

      • Hal Motley

        I guess I have been oblivious to this. Holo UI is one thing, but overkill amounts of semi-transparency is another.

  • ithehappy

    Nova, Apex any decent launcher allows these things for a pretty long time. Sorry I don't see the big news, nor I'm interested in Plain Google Experience.

    • BrandoHD

      So why are you here?

  • DJ SPY

    I see a lot if iOS in there. Let's see if Google doesn't follow the trend of making things shiny shiny and pretty while taking out a lot of functionality. Can you imagine a locked down, restricted Android? "We don't want people to get confused" that's was kind of they're official statement about axing memory card support and USB mass storage.

  • Frettfreak

    "the very left homescreen is reserved for a permanent Google Search/Now screen."

    Is google trying to give apple and their fan boys ammo? Really! C'mon google let's change this before release

    • Seraph

      No doubt. The infinite home screens is just like the iphone as well. And the infinite app folders look a lot like the WP8 home screen. Is there any real innovation here at all?

      • elvisgp

        How the hell do the folders look like wp8 at all? They don't even look like metro in the slightest.

      • CerealFTW

        Yes, of course, because WP8 created scrolling. How could I forget?

    • CoreRooted

      I partially agree with you on the left hand screen being dedicated to search is going to cause the iSheep to cry foul and copying. But, where it differs is that it's not just the search, it's the full Google Now. So, unlike iOS where it was strictly Spotlight, this will be informational ALONG with a search bar. Is it going to be enough to dodge the "copying" bullet, probably not. Most people still do not harness the full power of Google Now.

      • Larizard

        But Isn't a quick swipe UP from the bottom of your phone a perfectly fine solution to bring up Google Now though?

        • tym0

          Exactly, most people have their default screen on the center going all the way to the left to get google now seems kinda annoying to me.
          It makes more sense on IOS because the default screen is all the way left.

        • Simon Belmont

          Yep. Glad they left that because I use it a lot.

          I want to be able to access Google Now/Search from anywhere. Not just within the home screen.

        • CoreRooted

          For some, sure. But, there are other things that should be done with the bottom swipe up. Like, auto-hiding the nav bar on devices that don't have hardware buttons.

  • Mike

    Im loving these changes I can't wait. Please get the Nexus 5, Sprint.

  • Darkbotic

    I'd like to see the Notification bar opened.

  • Rehan Ahmed

    Stock Android is Love <3 !

  • CJ

    break me off a piece of that kit kat..... android experience!

  • DeadSOL

    Wow. I'd love this!

  • Go Fish

    "The right home screen is always empty. If you add something to it, it
    creates another one to the right of it. That way, you never have to
    create homescreens manually."

    yes, nice one - you save One additional action in maybe every 6 months, and have to swipe one additional swipe (to get to the first usable screen on the right) every few minutes.

    Obvioulsy Google has engaged quite a few of Microsfot's "designing" geniuses

    • jm9843

      What?

    • naysayer

      Please take a minute and think about what you just said. Hint: It's the other way around.

  • bL4Ck

    Imagine if Google promoted Google Now from simple search app to notification area app, completely taking over the notification drop down, that would be really cool, and could enable devs to create their cards and give more information in a compact and easy to read format.

  • Ray Sunghwa Woo

    I'm kinda disappointed in G2 video capability, losing focus and audio being too meh... So I'll be looking forward to see this Nexus 5 whether it will be better investment and worth switching if it costs me money.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      If it makes you feel better, I'm equally as disappointed with the camera losing focus on the Note 3.

      • Ray Sunghwa Woo

        However, with this OIS thing, it makes me feel dizzy watching videos taken with G2. One thing I want from i***** is the 120fps video capability without losing focus.

  • dhruva

    but what else does google experience have? just google now?! then they would have called it google now experience. maybe i missed something.

  • Guest

    ...is that music note in the google now screenshot new? Im on android 4.2 and dont have it, but always a chance it came in as part of 4.3.x. looks like google now is getting shazam/midomi perhaps?

    • Nathaniel_G

      Uh that's been there for a while. It appears when you speak or type "what's that song".

      • selonmoi

        But you won't see it if you're in one of the many Music-deprived geographies.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Or it hears music playing, then it shows up automatically and you can tap it for the ID process to start.

        • gspida

          It would be nice if the google sound search widget would let me add the music to my google music library instead of just taking me to the play store to buy the song. Does the google now music search allow this?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            It'd also be nice if it kept history like Shazam and SoundHound do.

          • gspida

            Not sure what you mean because if you tap on the clock face looking thing on the right and it brings up your history. It's the only saving grace to me.

          • Alawn

            The sound search widget does keep a history

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I am taking about the one built into Search/Now, not the widget you get from the Play Store. Does Search keep history of ID'ed music?

  • Chidozie Emelue

    The new dialer icon reminds me waaaayy too much of the voice icon... i think theres something to it..

  • Chidozie Emelue

    Hangouts merges Messaging.. Voice merges Dialer..

  • JonJJon

    I'm not sure if this has been posted before or I just missed it in one of the articles, but what is Liam using to mock these up? They are really good :)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think just Photoshop - he's great at mocking things up for fun all the time, you should follow him on G+.

      • JonJJon

        Will do thanks :)

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Thanks! Just Adobe Illustrator and a lot of patience!

      • JonJJon

        Cool, I imagine it does get frustrating at times, especially from what I see when watching my sister use that program at times. Thanks for the reply will take Artem's advice and follow on Google+

  • chris125

    I like how google is adding more to the play store as a means to circumvent the carriers and manufacturers. I think this is huge and is almost better than anything that is just for 4.4 since most will never see it anyway. Plus with more people having access to the core google services, that is the main part people miss out on anyways.

  • DirkBelig

    Darn. It looks like they aren't going to fix the worst part of the UI since they did away with hardware buttons: The screen-gobbling, needlessly tall soft button bar at the bottom. I was hoping they halve the height to match the notification bar size.

    Put a Nexus 4 next to a Galaxy S3 and you'll see that while the N4's physical screen is an imperceptible 1/10th of an inch smaller, it LOOKS tiny compared to the GS3 because it's sacrificing 96 px to that bottom bar. It reduces the usable space to a mere 4.3" compared to the GS3's 4.9" and it doesn't matter if the Nexus 5 is 5" tall in 1080p when you're still coughing up about 9% visually to an unremovable bar. They really should've shortened it.

    • naysayer

      Who cares?! The S3 is on the big end. The Nexus devices have a more usable size. The softbuttons are more of a problem on tablets, where they take up more space than necessary, but that's not true for phones.

      • DirkBelig

        What the heck are you talking about? Do you even understand what I'm saying?

        The N4 and GS3 are almost the same size, but because Samsung moved the navigation and home buttons beneath the screen (flipping off Google in the process), the GS3 screen looks ENORMOUS next to the N4 because it's all being used instead of wasted on that bottom bar?

        Also, "the S3 on the big end"? How do you figure that? Look at this photo with the measurements on it: http://images.gizmag.com/inline/nexus-4-vs-galaxy-s3-3.jpg The GS3 is .11" larger. I just measure my N4 which has a simple TPU S-curve case on it and it's the exact same size as a naked S3. THEY ARE PRACTICALLY PHYSICALLY THE SAME SIZE!

        The reason you think the S3 is bigger is because within the same-sized outer dimensions, they're using every pixel of the display to show stuff while the N4 trades away a half-inch of viewable space to soft buttons. The picture and the measurements don't lie. The GS3 looks larger because of the screen appearing larger, not that it's actually larger. (Please don't try to say that 1/10th of an inch makes so much perceptible difference. It doesn't.)

        • Chidozie Emelue

          you maddddd bruh?

          • DirkBelig

            U illiterate, dood?

          • Kenton Douglas

            is the active area (that you actually press) on the S3 capacitive button smaller? Or is it the same "half inch" as the N4 on screen buttons? I'm assuming it must be based on your post. If so, very roughly (%), how much smaller are they?

          • DirkBelig

            Look at the photo. The buttons on the S3 are in the area beneath the screen, so they take absolutely nothing from the display area. There's plenty of room on the Nexus 4 for buttons, but Google doesn't want hardware buttons, so they have to eat into the screen.

            I had capacitive buttons on my EVO 4G and GS2. I just measured the icons on the S2 and they're 1/8" high. All I'm saying is that they should cut the bottom bar's height to the same as the notification shade. All it does is return home, go back, or bring up the recent apps list. How come they think we need twice the height for these things than we need to toggle the notification shade? If you tap the top, it expands to show the time and date and hint that you can drag down.

            We're still wasting space with the mandatory Google search box on every home screen, but at least it wouldn't look so tiny because of wasted black space. The same issue between the N4 and S3 will happen with the N5 and S4 because they'll be the same size screens, but the N5 will appear smaller because Samsung keeps the buttons off the screen.

          • Chidozie Emelue

            Hahha why would you say i'm illiterate? I simply assumed you were upset or enraged since you decided to write in all caps a few times there. Ill assume you are mad though. Why? ill never know. I actually agree with you but it would be nice if you calmed down since your "rage" does nothing on the internet and you wouldn't dare insult my intelligence outside the comfort of your computer screen. SO excuse my use of a common colloquialism and enjoy your existence. I did think the "dood" thing was funny but i guess one of us can take a joke and the other needs to reevaluate what he's (assuming you're a male upper 30s to mid 40s) doing on the computer.

        • naysayer

          You are the one who doesn't understand. With the S3, the space you have to touch is larger, which makes it harder to reach every point with one hand.

      • tym0

        What??? I never understood that thing about soft-button being more of a problem on tablet than phone...
        I personally prefer soft-button everywhere but soft button makes more sense on a tablet. You mostly hold you phone the same way and there is less screen real estate on a phone.

        • naysayer

          Right, but more screen real estate gets wasted on a tablet, because the screen is bigger.

    • CoreRooted

      TBH, I never understood why Google has not implemented an auto-hide feature into the nav bar. Something like a swipe up from the bottom (like we have now for Google Now), the nav bar slides into view. Complete your task and it goes away. Would solve the lost real estate issue easily especially if they made it float over any app when it was requested with the swipe.

      • Andrew Morales

        I use this feature in CyanogenMod, where it's called "Expanded Desktop." The nav bar is completely hidden, and to access it you slide up from below the screen and a radial wheel pops out like the one that can be enabled in the stock web browser. Long-hovering over the home button will open Google Now.

        It can be a little frustrating if you don't catch it right, and it's slower than having dedicated on-screen or hardware buttons. But the status bar and nav bar both managed to burn-in on my screen so when watching full-screen videos on my phone, the left and right edges of the screen (held horizontally) have weird bars where the color is messed up. Having both the status bar and nav bar auto-hide would prevent this from happening.

        • CoreRooted

          Yeah, I knew about Expanded Desktop. It's a feature that should be implemented in ASOP, imho.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Lol, the navbar does not eat 0.4" of screen space and GS3 does not have 4.9" screen

      Double fail

  • glein

    I'd actually prefer it if Google made all the manufacturers modifying the stock launcher (Sony, Samsung etc), to add their stuff as extra modules instead of outright replacing Google's code. The whole thing of reinventing the wheel with every release is rather dumb.

  • Romeil

    I believe this is the best change in 4.4 for users like me who just want to use the custom rom but would love to have a better launcher!

  • Chidozie Emelue

    This stuff will all come standard on the Nexus 5 which I think Google has spent most of their resources on the pure OS and not the apps to make sure it is 1. Fast and 2. Seamless.

    Google is probably making all its apps backwards compatible up to Gingerbread so that older phones can not feel left out. So the apps will be optimized for older phones which means that from now on..Android on new phones will fly past the competition.

    To be perfectly honest.. Google is tackling Androids biggest weakness and iPhone's greatest strength... iPhone just works.. it works how Apple tells you to..but it works.. Android doesnt always do that.. my experience with early android was just bleghh and you're a liar if you say otherwise..

  • jonzey231

    Its just like when they released the keyboard to the play store. It uses com.android as well. Tgsi is so people that buy a subsidized non-nexus/skinned phone can get the Google Experience. Good can't control what OEMs do with phones but they can give the consumer the option to replace skins and addons with stock if they want. Go Google! :)

  • edisso10018

    Google bought adw launcher...

  • Matt

    i like the mockups, looks cleaner and simpler. the masses will also approve if iOS has shown us anything, the whole card system is a bit undervalued at the moment i think. nothing wrong with holo mind you, just think it is time for a lighter/cleaner change

  • heat361

    This will be great for other users who want the Google experience. I posted about this a while back, I think they might bring the phone app and possibly the camera app also to the play store see here https://plus.google.com/109093952089078202748/posts/Nrsjc8bMM13

  • heat361

    Artem did you hear anything about kitkat being more optimized for lower end phones?

  • DingieM

    The icons looks disgusting. Beyond comprehension.

    Jesus christ.

  • Tony

    I hope if they separate the phone app into the store they then fix voicemail notifications not going away. Have to force stop the app to get rid of them right now.

  • j¤n Gårrëtt [5,000+]

    they need to do something about those icons., they're quite ugly and in need of a makeover.

  • Guest

    Googles icons are sooooooo bad

    • Phil Oakley

      Only the Android ones are. The normal Google icons aren't.

  • Vikramaditya Rai

    Among all the excitement, I'd just like to say thanks. This is great work, commendable! Now, make sure I win your next int'l giveaway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lookitzjohnnyy Johnny Nguyen

    I really hope google does something better with their camera app. nexus 4 galaxy nexus both with really slow capture speed, hopefully faster shutter speed & burst mode maybe slo-mo video capture in 720p or higher. the nexus camera software is lacking bunch of general features.

  • scarth

    Google Experience Launcher = Goog's version of Facebook Home? But I do like the ability to "stockify" bloated OEM skins that is more accessible to the masses.

  • Keegan Choffat

    Sad to say, but the biggest proble,m that I have with this is the white clock. I really like the cyan accents. I hope they don't get rid of them.

  • hot_spare

    Just over hyped, I never thought and found this to be a major talking point.

  • Kenton Douglas

    Ecosystem politics come into this is as well. It looks like this will only be (easily) practical on devices that use on-screen buttons (Motorola, LG, Sony) since trying to accommodate the varying implementations of capacitive buttons (Samsung, HTC) might be a bit messy via a Play Store download. Signs of a split in the OHA? Or, are Samsung and the others likely to move to on-screen buttons in the end anyway?

    • Cuvis

      Every launcher on the Play Store handles hard and soft buttons equally well. What makes you think this will be different?

      • Kenton Douglas

        Google's own preference for on-screen buttons. Simple as that.

        • Cuvis

          Just because Google prefers on-screen buttons, does not mean they're going to ignore the realities of the market. They're not Apple; they don't have one way of doing things and force everybody else to conform. Hell, they sell two phones with hard buttons on the Play Store (the GS4 GPE and HTC One GPE), so not making their launcher support hard buttons simply out of some design ideology would be extremely foolish.

          • Kenton Douglas

            They won't be forcing anybody to do anything. I'm pretty certain most manufacturers will still produce their own launcher. The GPE phones from Samsung and HTC exist precisely because they don't have on-screen buttons and Google's new launcher won't support them (in my theory). As mentioned Moto, LG, Sony (and anyone who uses on-screens) will have a download available from the Play Store. Of course this is all conjecture.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Well, I don't think the launcher is coming to play store. It might, but I'm not betting on it. probably Google is just trying to give all its apps a consistent package name format; instead of some having com.android and some having com.google.android.

    One thing ios7 did right was statusbar color change effect. When the background is white, everything in statusbar is colored black and vice-versa. Hope KitKat also has something similar.

    • Toblerone

      I see one reason why they might release it to Play Store; they can update it without launching a new Android version.

    • sdcoiner76

      I absolutely think it will come to the play store, if not with 4.4 I believe it will come eventually. Google has slowly been taking core apps out and placing them on the play store and the launcher is one of the ones that Android users have been asking for.

  • someone755

    Wow, a launcher causing so much excitement...

  • Michael Fontenot

    I see we're going with the iOS swipe to the left search option. That's great. I obviously use android because I like iPhone features.

    • Héctor

      THIS.

    • Dennis Ulijn

      Yes, obviously it's a bad feature because the main competitor used it too. iOS is not all bad.

      • Michael Fontenot

        OK. Let's say it's bad because it serves no purpose since you can get to search in two ways already. It creates an additional "home screen" that does nothing. I can see a swipe left from the lock screen, but in the home screens? It works in iOS because there are no home screens, just an app drawer that already goes from right to left. Stock android starts in the center. If you want to use this search screen you will have to go through two other home screens. If they move they move the central screen all the way to the left, they are essentially ruining the functionality of the left home screen. Why would you want that when you can just swipe up to launch or tap the search bar. Now that I've given a proper explanation, I'd like to conclude by saying everything is wrong with iOS.

        • Dennis Ulijn

          Then let me start by saying you are ignorant by saying iOS is all bad.
          The Google Experience Launcher is probably Google's way of making sure everybody gets to be able to use the Google way of Android. Even phones that don't have software navigation bars, so no swipe up to go to Google Now. Next to that, there's a big difference between the Search bar and the complete Google Now app.

          To be honest, i use Nova and delete all search bars, using only the swipe up for Google Now, so i won't need the left Google Now panel, but some phones just don't have this option, including all Samsung phones. To my eyes it seems like Google is starting to phase out all manufacturer skins, and make them replaceable, showing manufacturer's that people prefer not to use their skins.

  • Tim

    If I measure with a 4,96'' screensize, the outer dimensions are 136x68 instead of the leaked 132mm... I know 4mm isnt that much, but you can def see AND feel the difference when typing in portrait mode. (based on htc one vs one mini test in shop)

    The 132mm spec came from an official FFC document, so it HAS to be correct, right? but a real picture is also correct... dont know what to think

  • Panchito

    Hopefully they replace the need to flash Gapps and be able to just install the PlayStore with an apk file and download google apps from there

    • Wesley Modderkolk

      Because that is easier than flash all those apps together?

      • Panchito

        Because now we will be able to install the PlayStore in any android device not only in google approved devices. Also be google free if we desire to

  • xda

    I'm calling BS.tThat phone dialer icon looks wrong to me, and unless they are changing all icons(doubtful) I think these leaks are fake. None of the other icons changed so I find It a.bit odd

  • jimv1983

    There are a few of these rumors I hope don't come true.

    1. According to the mockups and other screenshot leaks I have seen(could be fakes) it shows the notification icons(clock, signal indicator, wifi, etc) as now being white. I REALLY liked the blue.

    2. Adding widgets has been removed from the app drawer and are again accessed by a long press on the home screen. I don't like that. At the very least I hope they don't go back to the long scrolling list that gives no indication of what the widget looks like.

    3. The infinite number of home screens is nice(although I don't really care about having more than 5). What I really don't like is the fact that it adds a new one automatically if you add something to the right most home screen.

    4. I don't like the fact that one home screen is always taken up by Google Now. I'd rather just get to it from swiping up from the home button.

    • Fellwalker

      4. I get seriously irritated by scrolling through long lists of Web page only to find one launched that damned Google now. Even having switched it off, it still pops up like a bad penny. I will be delighted to have it on a left hand screen.

  • Héctor

    Where's the "don't like" button?

    • Anders CT

      Write a comment, express what you dislike with acual arguments and words?

  • Slawootsky

    Well, now the white status icons make sense!
    Also, making the status bar the same color as a current app's header would seem nice. I've been doing it with PA's per-app colors before it became mainstream (i.e. appeared in iOS).

  • whispy_snippet

    Brilliantly done. Super excited!

  • Marceldy

    Guys i was thinking, maybe this is how Google will "fix" the "fragmentation" issue, if all packages are in play store,and all rom is based on apk from the store then updates would be universal :D

  • MrWicket

    that is brilliant! and something I have been wishing for a long time (if true). putting the launcher along with the other Google services is a brilliant move on Google's part and I think the best solution against the lack of updates so many OEMs and carriers put on their customers.

  • Phantom

    So if i understand correctly, the "google experience" is like... a google launcher?

    So the nexus will have the google launcher for default (or maybe will have the AOSP launcher and the google experience one?) and me with a samsung or motorola will be able to download the google launcher?

    • Bjajjull

      Correct. Except that Google Experience probably will be the only launcher on Nexus devices.

  • pyroguysf

    In regards to the navbar/status bar transparency only on the launcher, I feel like they might be going for the effect where they blend in better with the homescreen as a source for bite size peices of information since thanks to widgets, that's often what's on there anyway. On the other hand, going black in an app blends them more into the phone, bringing the foreground app into a tighter focus.

  • Igor Farago

    What? Google XP? :D

  • Fred Bed

    As people say, 3rd party launchers do all this. Why can't they make matching icon sets? It's untidy having a camera pic, circles, squares, etc. I'll try it then put nova pro back on :-)

  • ocdtrekkie

    Sounds like Android 4.4 may be shaping up to be the biggest "Eff You" the open source community has ever received, from anyone.

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      Um, how exactly?

    • Anders CT

      What? Why?

      • ocdtrekkie

        Google focusing on putting it's shiny new features on closed source "Google Apps" only?

        • Anders CT

          Well, yes and no. Google is a commercial corporation, that generates revenue by monetizing usage of their free services with targeted adds. Google uses some of that money to work on an open-source distribution of Linux, Android. That Google inserts their commercial, closed source bits of this deal as an optional part of userspace, on top of the open source OS, makes sense and is good for the user, AND for the open-source community. It would be bad if the open-source foundation depended on closed-source Google-bits, but I really don't sees this.

  • Mikell Czermendy

    I can see the appeal of this look and functionality for some but I honestly truly don't want any of this. Might be the first time I'm happy to have a carrier subsidized phone that probably won't see this update for some time. And when I do see it, I hope I can opt out because my phone is perfect just the way it is right now.

  • http://www.westagemusic.com/ Marc

    This is Google's take against fragmentation. Gorgeous!

  • bmwgtav

    Could it just be a launcher made by
    Some one. That message comes up with a new launcher installed.

  • ash71ish

    I've been dying for that kind of voice input prompt. finally yay

  • Andrea Cristiano Maietta

    Can't wait leff my nexus 4 for a SGS4 and miss the crap out of it. Buying this nexus first availability!

    • Cuvis

      Have you thought about just flashing the GPE ROM on your GS4?

  • Kevin

    I think that the way he is describing this new launcher is very similar to iOS. Swipe left and you get the search app and infinite homescreens to the left... Yuck. I'll stick with Nova launcher

    • kevin

      Edit: infinite homescreens to the right

  • Simon Belmont

    Like I said before, I hope their new widget paradigm isn't like Android 2.x. I like being able to see the widget previews in ICS and Jelly Bean and a list of widgets in text form would be a step back.

    As for the permanent Google Now/Search on the left a la Spotlight in iOS, I hope they make that optional. It's really kind of redundant considering how easy it already is to pull that up in several ways.

  • EvildaddyRBLX

    Those dots on the home screen disturb me...

    • artsr2002

      Yep

    • NBM

      It makes sense if you can change the number of home screen panes. Dots have already existed on devices that can do such, like Sony or Samsung.

  • Alexei Watson

    Will be a great step toward getting all people using android as google intended it, shoudl they want to.

    Wonder if Google could ever find a way to swap out the systemUI. For example, a play store app that could swap touchwiz notification dropdown to stock android behaviour.

  • master94

    That phone icon depresses me. Otherwise very nice

    • artsr2002

      Agreed

  • Lexster

    Is this even something that can be done via app, such as changing the notification tray and stuff? Playing around with Light Flow on the Note 3, I noticed it asked me to set it up in the Notification settings and that gave it additional permissions. Is this what they might use to allow a Google Experience homescreen replacement to take over for other skins, perhaps? Unfortunately, I don't think it could really change the menus of the skinned roms, such as the Settings. But, being able to have the stock Google homescreen would be cool, at least.

  • Vinay N S

    If true this is an amazing step taken by google to reduce fragmentation...
    I can enjoy most of the goodies ( if not all ) while I'm still on my ICS phone.. If they can somehow port google now also to ICS it'd be great..
    This will also help in getting rid of the manufacturer Launchers.. God bless you google..

  • jamesfuston

    I'm not too concerned about that dialer icon. It looks like the icon WebEx uses, just recolored.

  • Mobie

    The fact that Google has to even make a tagline that says "The most amazing Android experience available for everybody" means there are challenges with the UI. If you find it challenging too, definitely check out Mobie - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.innopath.mobilemd&hl=en

  • Henrique Melissopoulos

    I hope they build a way to the app developer choose the color and alpha of the navbar and statusbar of his app.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

    Sweet, Make Every phone a Google Edition. Well sorta.

  • Kenny Strawn

    The dedicated Google Now home screen almost reminds me of the bloatware that is BlinkFeed... then again, unlike BlinkFeed, Google Now actually does provide users with relevant information, unlike BlinkFeed which just sends users their friends' tweets and Facebook posts.

  • Mahmood Faysal

    not a big deal Buzz is the most Best Android Launcher
    many perfect launchers are mentioned in this article it may be useful for every one here
    http://www.bestandroidtabletapps.com/2014/02/Best-Android-Launcher.html

  • Guest

    #4 Nova Launcher

    Nova Launcher was selected as one of Top 5 Apps in January 2014 it is known as just powerful app that can make your device look clean and elegant for long time. It is highly customizable, flexible and performance driven home launcher from your device. You can simply add different color themes, icon packs and other stuff that make your device unique. Nova Launcher is compatible with tablet and phone devices.
    Nova comes in both paid and free versions where in the free versions advanced settings and features are locked.

    Here are some info about Smart Launcher From Google Play Store :
    Developer : TeslaCoil Software.
    Last update: December 10, 2013.
    Overall rating: 4.6 of 5 (Total Votes: 177,862).
    Size: 3.4 MB.
    Downloads Range: 5,000,000 – 10,000,000.
    Requires Android : 4.0 and up
    Price : (For Free on Google Play Store)

  • http://www.canzonepubblicita.com/storia-della-pubblicita/ Mario B

    Great Article! Guide per Computer

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