10
May
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Yesterday, we shared detailed mockups of what we believe to be a UI in testing that will likely come alongside a new release of Android. This UI basically seems to be a replacement for the existing Google Experience Launcher - and it is differenty. As we all know, change tends to spark controversy, and this story sparked like a Fox body Mustang riding on rims down the highway at 60MPH full of illegal fireworks and cheap power strips. Take a look at the main video of the launcher again right here:

Google may get rid of the app drawer (opting for an iOS full grid layout), widgets are nowhere to be seen, and the notification bar is all Google Now-y. Oh, and the home button is gone.

nexusae0_image1

This would mark the single biggest change the Android UX since, well, ever. Even going back to Éclair, it's rather easy to the evolutionary progression of Android from 1.6 to 2.1, to 2.2, to 2.3 [to 3.0 sorta], to 4.0, to 4.1, to 4.2., to 4.3, to 4.4 Looking at Donut and KitKat side by side, there is still clearly a relationship here, even if it has become quite distant.

t-mobile-g1 unnamed

The new launcher, though, is a radical departure from core Android features like the app drawer and widgets. Even the notification bar is radically different looking, and appears to hide passive notifications in a separate, lower region of the UI.

Our speculation is that Google would brand this not as Android, but as Google's Android - that is, the core OS would still look basically like KitKat underneath, and Google's launcher experience would be something for devices Google approves of. That's definitely going to make things interesting when and if these changes come to pass.

So, based on what we've seen (no app drawer, no widgets, no home button, stronger reliance on multitasking key), what do you think? These mockups have already drawn strong opinions, so be sure to discuss your reasoning in the comments section.

What do you think of the alleged changed to the Google launcher?

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David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Daniel Traynor

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE AND LOVE :)

  • Sam Lam Chin Pong

    I'm not sure yet

  • http://ridukkokun.wordpress.com/ Dukkokun

    Really liking the notification drawer, classy and cool. However, since I don't use the stock launcher at all, I'm wondering how will this impact custom launchers like Action Launcher & co.
    Since the multitasking screen now hosts the dock and it seems there's no way to go to the home other than that.... well, it's weird.
    I just hope that Google isn't killing custom launchers. I REALLY hope it's not.

    • John

      The notifications are now closer to the centre, more accessible!

    • Bird

      only reason android still works for me is because you can root and work around all the crap google is pulling recently. custom launchers are going to join that elite group of must-have-or-no-deal things (old google launchers were worse than custom launchers, but were tolerable, this isnt)

  • Steve Jobs

    Absolutely hate it. Its overcomplicated, looks messy, and a step back from the current one.

    • Simon Belmont

      Well, since you're Steve Jobs, you probably would prefer iOS 7 anyway. Just a guess.

      If that's really your name, then so be it. Haha.

    • xmattjus

      "Bomb Android, bomb Android like you never did before!" cit. Steve Jobs.. lol

  • someone755

    Where's the "I just want to vote" option? D:

  • yihtang

    i personally think it can get quite messy. If the notification is already "Google now" styled, why do we need another Google Now pull up from the home button? Most google now cards have a lot of useless whitespace and can be made more compact (and then expandable like notification), so they should have merged them together rather than creating another screen for it.

    I'm an android user since 2.2, and I agreed with Google's design philosophy so far; but if this new design happens, I'm not so sure anymore...

    • John Liggett

      Totally agree. This mock-up design seems too much to me. The current way to get to Google Now and the notifications are both great and making them look like each other would be a crazy decision.

      • John

        What if they merged the two and got rid of one though?

  • nawa

    I like the notification part (it does really need an upgrade), but I dislike home screen – give me my app drawer and widgets back.

    • John Liggett

      Home button too* :p I would not want to trade a home button for a Google button. That kindof would defeat the purpose of custom launchers and the like.

  • Simon Belmont

    I'm cautiously optimistic. Mostly because none of this is real until Google ships it.

    Anything can change, and any minute variation of what's been mocked up can be the final product. In the end, I use Android because Google has done a good job with it so far (with a few bumps here and there, obviously), and I have faith that they will endeavor to continue that streak. If it stinks, it stinks, and if it's great, it's great. We won't know until we're consumers of it.

  • godutch

    It sort of reminds me of Aviate. The idea of aviate really sounded cool and I really tried to get access to the betas for weeks but in the end I used it for about an hour and removed, it made simple task just too complicated and the home screen look messy and more like being in an app than the homescreen and I get the same feeling when watching these mockups. I do like the notification area mockup though....

    • thelionk

      I'd recommend Smart Launcher instead of Aviate.

  • giriz

    Awful UI design

    • Aspire5550

      It is just a mock up,not a real or actual design by Google.

  • miri

    It's interesting to say the least. Some details seem like they'd only be workable if they're exclusive to 'Google devices' which is both exciting and mildly disappointing as targeting pure Android may not be going for ideal experience anymore. Curious as to how much of that could make it to AOSP. Let's call it cautiously optimistic with a high probability of loving it when it comes to fruition.

    • Simon Belmont

      Well said. Pretty much how I feel, more or less.

      I'm interested to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. It's an interesting time for Android users.

  • Wellington

    Goodbye app drawer

    • jm9843

      Why are people saying this?

      The "app drawer" is still there, it just requires tapping the "task switcher" button and swiping to the left. Contrasting with the current method of tapping the home button and then taping the app drawer button.

      • Allen

        Exactly. We haven't even seen what the Google button does. Seems to me it should bring up Google Now. And if they add a dock to GN and let the (customizable!) launcher be a swipe away like they're showing, this could be an extremely efficient launcher.

        • Aaron Hafitz

          That would be cool

  • Blendi Krasniqi

    There needs to be this option : "If they add widgets and home button, I'll love it!"

    • yihtang

      I am guessing they might keep widget on the lock screen, although I am doubtful that's the right way of implementing it.

    • fzammetti

      Exactly! Preserve widgets and the app drawer and I think I'd be pretty happy with the rest... even losing the home button *might* be okay if there's a gesture to get to it... for example, I use Next Launcher right now and to get to my app drawer I simply swipe up... if I could also swipe up again (or maybe down) to get back to my home screen that'd be pretty good I think.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

        Sure, swipe to get to the homescreen is extremely useful while browsing or scroll through any other app.

        • fzammetti

          I know what you're saying, but you have the same problem with swiping to get a side menu now and people manage... they'd need to tune the algorithm to only catch when the swipe starts from off-screen...

          ... or better still, rip off what was done years ago on the Palm Pre with the capacitive area off-screen because it nailed this mechanism. You'd think Duarte, who was around for that, would remember :)

          • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

            There are already a lot of apps that lets you configure gestures, like the whole GDM suite for example. Android is modular and you can already achieve almost anything through 3rd party apps.

            Don't have so much faith in Matias, he took a big step with ICS but the rest is just crap, half-finished and non solid ideas.

          • fzammetti

            True, but to really do it right you'd likely need to do it at a more core level (think home button and task switcher now) and may even need OEM hardware help.

            And you're preaching to the choir about Duarte. I've always thought he was a bit overrated. There was an immense circle jerk about him when he came onboard, but that was premised on him bringing a lot of what he learned working on webOS with him. What I think we've seen though is a guy intent on NOT duplicating that work as much as possible and we've gotten mixed results because of it. WebOS was ideal in a number of ways, task switching being at the top of the list, and I wish he'd just cold rip those parts off and stop trying to be original because it's not working as well as it could be.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

            In the last two years he's just been paid for adding a bit of trasparency here and there, do the quick settings the wrong way, trying to manage the waste of space that on screen buttons leave in the UI and make the tablet experience worse. Let's see the next steps..

    • maysider

      No, google should just copy CyanogenMod and 100% will be satisfied instead of this 50% failure

      I don't like the time with Sundai Pichai in charge = everything made for idiots instead of real innovations

      The times we don't need to buy a phone every year is coming, the times Android is stuck like Windows is close thanks to Pichai times

      • KingofPing

        "No, google should just copy CyanogenMod and 100% will be satisfied"

        ...you're kidding right?

        Right?

  • godutch

    I think killing the app drawer would be a big as mistake as MS killing the start menu on windows 8

    • Jah

      Ull get over it if they do. I'm Always up for something new !

      • https://plus.google.com/+TroyLeonard Troy Leonard

        No I won't. I'll just use a third party launcher. I like the current now launcher a lot because of now integration, but would be fine with apex or Nova too. Anything but touchwiz!

      • pfmiller

        You seriously don't care at all about how good or useable something is? As long as it's new? I don't understand that at all.

        • AS

          And you don't care about usability, as long as it doesn't change?

          • dude

            There is a reason why it doesn't change. Same reason why fundamental design of a chair or a pent doesn't change.

          • AS

            Chairs, tents, pens, whatever else, are constantly being redesigned, new materials and processes are being used to improve aspects of pretty much anything you can name.

            Fundamental design is a completely different argument to the changing of how the Android Launcher works.

          • ProductFRED

            That was a pretty dumb comeback. You're saying, "screw usability, I just want something new."

          • AS

            No, what I was saying is that without trying new things, you will never know if usability is improved. Its not that hard to understand.

          • James

            "without trying new things, you will never know if usability is improved"

            Or you can predict that removing the app drawer, will result in all apps placed on the home screen, resulting in a cluttered home screen, using simple common sense.

          • AS

            There is nothing in the examples showing the app drawer has been removed. Common sense requires you to actually understand what is being shown.

          • q

            And you are a moron.

          • AS

            Wow! That comment is just simple mided.

        • saf1927

          If you can replace it with a third party launcher, there really isn't any issue, is there? I never really used the stock launcher anyway.

          • pfmiller

            Can you use Google Now with third party launchers? I thought you couldn't still.

          • saf1927

            You mean the full integration on the far left of the homescreen? No, I don't think you can, at least not with Nova. Though I don't really like that integration on the Google Experience Launcher.

          • pfmiller

            Do, I don't like the full integration either. But I remember having to disable Google Now entirely to go back to the old Android launcher, which I didn't like either. I assumed all other launchers had the same problem.

          • saf1927

            Ah, I see. If you switch to other launchers like Nova, you basically have the old "pre GE launcher" experience. Of course, you can still use Google Now the traditional way by launching the app or by pressing any of its notification on the notification drawer.

          • RTWright

            If they do away with the App drawer, then why not just go ahead and buy and iPhone? I mean seriously, that's all they're turning Android into at that point. We all know it works, we all know Apple's been doing that from the start, but we all know we chose Android for several reasons. None of us wanted an iPhone.... So my answer would be, no, I'll stick with Nova or other third party launchers that offer something new without taking things away that I already love using. I've never liked the Google Experience Launcher in the first place, it's just crap. Very little customization at all to it. Screw Google and their Apple ways....!

          • impulse101

            Maybe they dont want a girl size phone with no customization

          • impulse101

            No you can't hence they are useless. You get Xposed GEL and nothing cantouch stock launcher

      • Angelo

        Remember when they removed long press to add widgets to the home screen? Everyone just started using Nova which had the feature, until now that I believe (could be wrong) Google put back long press to add widgets and the like in 4.4

      • a

        LOL. Thats exactly what MS said about Win 8, didnt work out too well for them.

    • black

      But why? What's wrong with having all the apps accessible via the home screen? It doesn't mean there can't be a place for widgets as well.

      • godutch

        It makes the home screen look messy and makes it harder to find your favorite apps (which you can put on a home screen)

      • tpolen61

        It'll mean I have 7+ full homescreens instead of 3 with only a dusting of apps, and I might as well forget about the background since I won't be able to see it. It'll be like using my old iPhone again!

  • Badouken

    If they seamlessly integrate the notication drawer and Google Now, as well as keep the app drawer / widgets then I'd be happy.

    • John

      I agree, it would be more convenient since the Google Now notifications in the notification drawer brings you to Google Now currently.

      • kirk

        Integrate google now with app drawer? I think that might be really great. Might. It might not, it could get a bit cumbersome with a whole bunch of important (personal or work related) notifications getting mixed in far lessor important things (sports scores, etc) and having to sort through too much unrelated things all in one place.

        But I'm kind of a minimalist in my home screens (and it is beautiful), so I hate the iOS clone idea. I use 2 screens only (and those are very sparsely filled). I have only 2 apps on those two screens (K-9 Mail, groove-ip). I have 4 widgets (calendar, clock (which goes to alarm clock when tapped), weather, music). And I have one direct dial shortcut (call wife). Then I have 5 things in the dock (phone, file explorer, app drawer, hangouts, browser). I have a gesture shortcut to launch a folder with nested category folders holding my commonly used apps. Lauching my commonly used apps all take exactly 3 touches (or faster), and is completely thoughtless process (main folder, category folder, then app ,in the three touch worst case scenario). The app drawer (with it's grid of 140+ apps) is only used to get to apps that get used infrequently.

        Everything I use a lot is instantly accessible. Everything else takes a back seat. Yay.

        I cannot believe google would want to copy the experience of screen after screen of grids of apps (and almost no constantly needed information always visible). Scratch that, actually I can.

        Technology is following the pattern of our educational system, it is being designed for the dumbest kid in the classroom. And opportunities and challenges that might expand everyone else's potential (or productivity) is squandered in the quest for least common denominator.

        grrrrr. Don't do ruin this google. Don't.

    • El Presidente

      Widgets, I could potentially live without. My only widget at the moment is the APW Contact Widget, but I could probably have an Appsi shortcut or a folder full of contact shortcuts that would do the same job.

      I'm be pretty miffed if they got rid of the app drawer and went with a design similar to that of iOS.

  • irtechneo

    Terrible. App drawer and widgets are essential. This looks like a clone of iOS.

    • Dominic Rotberg

      You mean WebOS clone

      • Mark Curtis

        Who did the UI for WebOS? Who does the UI for Android now?

        • http://www.ellianth.com Ellianth

          A team of people.

          • David Sousa

            He means Matias Duarte.

      • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

        webOS had a app drawer

    • Chroniq

      I'd say it looks more like Blackberry OS 10, open apps as a default homescreen and app grid on the right. Nevertheless, I like having widgets, maybe there is a place for them, like on the left?

  • siddude11

    THERE SHOULD BE AN OPTION FOR SEXY

  • Gator352

    It's possible that this was leaked to get a user response. I don't think though that this will be the final version.

    With that said, the notification center/bar looks awsome! But the home screen and removal of the app drawer is just down right awful. If I want screens full of apps, I would buy an iPhone.

    • jossh

      And if you were an iPhone user, you would buy android ? Maybe its the aim?

      • pfmiller

        Why would an iPhone user switch to Android if Android became a clone of iOS? If iOS was what they wanted the original will always be better.

      • http://www.ellianth.com Ellianth

        Let's put it this way: I'm an android user, and if this foolishness came to fruition, I'd move to another platform. Is it worth losing long time users in hopes of pulling in some iPhone users?

  • billykent1972

    keep the app drawer, I like seeing the background, not a bunch of icons everywhere. My windows pc, macbook and android device are all icon free, i want to keep it that way.

    • needa

      same here, and then i toggle the dock on and off with a double tap. keeps me from butt dialing and such.

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      Yep, Icons all over is ugly as hell. My desktop isn't clear but it isn't blocking the important part of my computer wallpaper. The difference between a 17 inch screen and a 4-6 inch screen.

  • thelionk

    I don't think the app drawer was ever a real thing. It's always been a subset of the launcher, so in terms of Android, the launcher is the differentiating factor. Widgets, on the other hand, live outside the launcher, but they need an app that can host them.

    What I feel is going on here, is that they are making Recents and Notifications an App, like the Launcher was. This way, they can simply make it so the home button links to Search, the Recents button links to the "Google Recents app" and the Notification shades also links to the recents google app. I also hope that Google Now slide up can be replaced by another app.

    If that's infact the change they are bringing to Android, then it is awesome. Whatever they decide the Google versions of launcher, recents, notification, and slide up apps will be don't really matter, since you'll be able to change them from the Play Store anyways.

  • thelionk

    There has to be a screen the phone goes to once you close all the apps... Does it go to an empty recents, or will it go back to a launcher?

    • Christopher Mason

      If imagine itd go back to a launcher - it already does now.

  • Fred G. Vader

    I don't know about this new look, I love having my apps hidden away in the drawer. I only use 2 widgets and I would really hate to lose them. One is a simple calendar widget that displays the current month. I love being able to switch home screens and quickly view it. Other is music player controls. Comes in handy.

  • mike

    What if the put widgets in the notification shade. Swipe left and right to reach rhem

    • Aaron Hafitz

      Interesting thought ...I like that idea

  • mlj11

    Once upon a time, features like removable batteries and expandable storage were de facto standard on all Android phones.

    These are now no longer guaranteed to come with your Android phone of choice, and products that Google itself produces (ie the Nexus line) have zero support for them.

    Now with these new alleged changes being revealed, I'm really worried for the fate of the homescreen widget, which is also one of the original differentiating (and my personal favourite) features of Android.

    If it comes to pass that widgets are to be deprecated, then how long before even live wallpapers - which will be the sole remaining survivor of Android's original lineup of defining consumer-facing features - will be gone too? :(

    • pfmiller

      Live wallpapers were actually a pretty late edition to Android. Definitely not an original feature.

  • ShawnDWalker

    Widgets, on the other hand, live outside the launcher, but they need an app that can host them. http://num.to/904.970.893.852

  • Christopher Mason

    I love it. What I'm really worried about is that Google might lock this down to Nexus/GPe/Silver devices, or make it exclusive & hard to port.

    • duse

      Can you explain what you love about it? What about it will make your phone easier to use than today?

      • jossh

        The aim seems to have a view with everything about multitasking together, bringing real multitasking to android...
        ...a little bit too much.

      • Christopher Mason

        I love that we finally have a new UX. Android has always pretty much has the same UX. Things have been overhauled, moved around, & added but in the end, it's been kinda the same. Not saying KitKat is the same as Cupcake, but look at a screenshot at the two. You've got the same App Drawer, status bar, icons, & widgets. A change is nice. Besides, how do you know if it will be "easier to use than today"? This is a MOCKUP, not a RELEASE. Things change.

        • duse

          "Android has always pretty much has the same UX...You've got the same App Drawer, status bar, icons, & widgets."

          That's not a bad thing. Change is not good for the sake of change. You need to have reason for it, an identified problem with today's setup that the new solution will solve, and it needs to be tangibly and provably better. Otherwise it's a waste of time. Yes this is a mockup, but if it's indicative of the final behaviors, I'm not seeing any value in it compared to today.

  • USiT

    Is it only for me the video dosnt work?

    Its only black and shows runtime to 00:00

  • Deckard_Cain

    Hate it. No widgets and home button????

    • Android Developer

      Maybe the widgets are only missing from the mock, since they wanted to show other things.

  • http://www.twitter.com/italofigueired Italo F.

    I will love it only if my 2012 Nexus 7 receive it.

    • Simon Belmont

      That would depend on when it's launched. If they launch this big changing update at I/O, then there's a chance.

      But if they wait until the fall to launch it with the "Nexus 6" phone, then I'd be pretty worried that it won't get it. The 2012 N7 is already beyond its 18 month cycle, but Google has updated a few devices in the past if when they were only a couple months late. I own a 2012 N7, myself, and I hope to see at least one last major update for it next month at Google I/O. I guess we'll know soon.

      • http://www.twitter.com/italofigueired Italo F.

        I'm already reading how to put ROMs on it. Lol

  • Ryan O’Neill

    Does anyone else feel like they're changing stuff just to change it? I LOVE the way Android works right now, and while I see plenty of things they could update or improve, I don't think a whole UI change is necessary or even wanted by most Android users.

    • duse

      "Does anyone else feel like they're changing stuff just to change it? "

      Yep. That's how I feel with most of their changes. The Google+/YouTube UIs are constantly in flux. Things don't necessarily "improve", they just become "different" for seemingly no reason, and normal users have no care to try to keep up with that.

    • Simon Belmont

      It's probably less about just changing stuff for the fun of it, and more about pushing more Google services front and center and trying to make their own "OEM skin" for people to use. I mean, look at that GOOGLE home button. ;)

      I have a feeling that a lot of the stuff mocked up won't end up being as horrible as it seems right now. Google hasn't pulled the wraps off anything yet, so it could be drastically different by the time it sees the light of day. We aren't getting the full picture, and we won't until Google ships it. It's difficult for me to hate something that doesn't yet exist in a tangible form for me to try out.

  • KINQQQQQQ

    I would Miss the Cutomization. But I kind of like the alleged projecthera-design

  • Tyler

    I would need to try it for a week or so to be sure.

  • fallenyogi

    This would be asking users to learn a whole new navigational paradigm, and I don't see the benefit, besides change for change's sake.

  • Nick Cannon

    Don't take away my widgets

  • Lamm

    pfffff.. I guess it's time for a fork to keep android recognizable or we will have another windows 8 on our hands.

  • http://forum.xda-developers.com/member.php?u=5266287 EnricoD

    mine is a little bit better! :D
    I don't want to see google :)

    Anyway, I prefer the current app drawer

    • Tony

      See you've already improved google's work by simply putting the time in the center of the notification shade, thus balancing the UI on top.

      • impulse101

        I disagree, i think center clock looks unbalanced and misplaced

        • Ferdinand

          Agreed. The space on the left should be reserved for notification icons...

    • Grahaman27

      nice concept, all indicator status including time should be on the far right to allow room for notification icons.

    • impulse101

      I rather it say google or a google logo or then just some other icon than "home"

  • Godspoken

    iOS-like app grid = instant no.

  • John Liggett

    Looks to be a downgrade to me. Everything seems to be working perfectly fine now. I would much rather prefer Google to spend time making their current Google Now better and more relevant than this. KitKat looks great now. I don't think I would be able to stand this, though I do like Google a lot. #SenseSix

  • Goopple

    one step closer to iOS.
    just as they planned.

    bullshit, i hate this so much.

    • John Liggett

      I hate it too, way too much of an unnecessary change. Lucky for us though, Google probably won't do something as crazy as this. They prefer to do small changes that evolve over time.

  • duse

    To anyone who is voting love it or optimistic, please name one thing this appears to do better than the current setup. Nothing is easier or quicker to get to, and it appears there would be a distinct lack of customization options with no traditional "home screen" or widgets. So what exactly are you excited by or optimistic about?

    Many people have already said this...the way it works today is great. It's perfected and decently evolved. Your home screen represents the apps you want to see, alongside live information in the form of both widgets and Google Now one swipe to the left. You can have as many home screens as you want and tuck away as many apps as you need in the app drawer, so it's scalable. What problem does anyone have with today's setup that they think will be solved by this? Do you feel this is the best use of Google's time instead of tackling things that people actually care about? You know, like battery life, excessive wakelocks, privacy controls, things that would actually make it a better platform. I'm glad Google has their priorities straight.

    • Simon Belmont

      I agree on the wakelocks. I still get this weird wakelock that only seems to happen if I don't reboot my Nexus 5 after it's fully charged.

      It's not a CRIPPLING wakelock, but it's noticeably draining on the battery. If I reboot, I can get almost an extra half day off charger, so I really hope Android 4.4.3 is addressing this (and it'd be nice if it was released soon).

    • primalxconvoy

      You have to remember that Google is staffed by stoned hippie geniuses with A.D.D. They make some great stuff, but usually that stuff is unfinished and broken until someone else fixes it. Meanwhile, Google is off, trying to invent spy glasses, KITT and other cool stuff.

      They haven't got time to improve their Office app for Android, all fonts to be installed, add bookmark folders to Chrome on Android, fix permissions for apps www edit internal and external memory, etc.

      Thank God for third parties, eh?

      • duse

        You sum it up pretty well.

    • blah

      I love how you get no real responses :). I think people just want to hope google will fix it and make it better by launch and thus "optimistic". But there's no redeeming thing about that UI preview. Although I will say even though I hate the new notification functionality(the swipe down/up for less/more important tasks) and the fact it takes up more screen real estate, on side note would say I'd say notification shade does maybe need a UI update to make it sexier just not like shown.

      • duse

        "I love how you get no real responses :)"

        Yep, I think it proves my point.

    • John Q

      Seeing as these are just mockups, I see no reason at all to not stay cautiously optimistic. The notification shade may be enhanced and I'm glad that Android may be adding more animations. I would be very happy if Android did implement multitasking better or differently. I would not like the app drawer or widgets to disappear but I know these are just mockups and Android Police's information may not be entirely accurate. Hell, it could be and everything could change before then. Many seem to be complaining as if this is exactly what Android is like or will become. We're speculating wildly for no reason at all. Therefore, I am able to dismiss many of the shortcomings in this MOCKUP since it just that and based on speculation. I am cautiously optimistic because I have no reason not to be.

      As for your other questions, change and innovation is very important not only for the progression of an operating system but also for the developers and the company. Just like an operating system can become stagnant, so can the development process. Therefore sometimes it's necessary to shake things up. That doesn't always end up with the best results but is ultimately better for the operating system to lead in innovation. I am sure that Google has more than enough manpower and resources to tackle multiple projects at once, as they have proven before. Thus, I am sure Google is still working on fixing the issues you mentioned while having part of their gigantic and extremely talented team work on innovating Android.

      • duse

        I know things can change or could be wrong, but the mockups we have in front of us today show no tangible improvements to workflow at all. So to be optimistic about it because it might not turn out like this is really the same as just having optimism for what Google will do in general, even with no rumors or mockups in consideration. KitKat is good, but I really don't have that unquestioning faith in them.

        I disagree that change and innovation are "important" in terms of the OS UI. It's certainly important in terms of features. Drastic UI changes are sometimes necessary, but not "important." No one needs change for the sake of change and I think developers would tend to agree. They just need a stable, reliable platform to develop against and constant UI "progression" isn't helping that. iOS's UI hasn't changed from day 1 (I don't even count iOS 7 as a change, it's just a fresh coat of paint, all of the UI fundamentals and app design are the same), and no one is really suffering for it. Users are familiar with the platform and developers can count on it. Really, unless there's a strong reason to suspect such a UI change at the OS level is going to increase sales of the platform, there's just about zero reason to do it.

  • Simon Belmont

    This page crashes my stock Android browser. Chrome seems unaffected.

    I think it's the animation. I can only get it to show up in Chrome (not even Firefox shows it).

    • primalxconvoy

      Actually, the animation doesn't work well in Dolphin either. The play bar still shows across the screen, meaning that I can't see the (portrait?) video.

      Maybe someone at Ars was trying to be clever, but failed?

      • Walkop

        Ars…? Ron is at Ars, but I'm pretty sure this is still AP 😉

      • Simon Belmont

        Yeah. Well Dolphin uses the old AOSP webview (or at least it's based on that), so I think that might be the culprit.

        It's just funny that it shows up perfectly on my Nexus 5 in Chrome. Yet, fails on my laptop with Firefox.

  • ElfirBFG

    I don't care what it looks like as long as I can keep using Nova and ignore the stock launcher.

    • Android Developer

      Nova fan here too.
      I just don't get what's so special about the stock launcher that so many people like it

  • Doc_Steedly

    If I wanted an interface like that. I would have just bought a blandos phone or an icrap device.

  • Android Developer

    I have no idea what I'm seeing on this mockup.
    Doesn't look familiar enough to Android, but also not sure what exactly they try to show.
    I think i'd decide if it's a good thing only when I try it out, or when it's presented better than this.

  • primalxconvoy

    I don't understand why Google is ADDING another layer to Android. Surely, the whole point of Nexus devices was that users got the original and pure Android experience? Isn't this like opening a packet of ready salted crisps and finding someone has added pepper as well?

    Regardless, I couldn't care less as I always use a custom launcher.

  • t4exanadu

    What do I think? I hope you are horribly wrong, so I can laugh, and also because whatever I am seeing I don't like. Also, I don't get what's so great about the available customizable launchers. I've tried a few and wasn't impressed by any of them, tbh. I'm not sure what I would be impressed by, I'll know it when I've seen it, and I have yet to see it.

    • NathanDrago

      There a customisable launcher, called Nova, which allows you to assign actions to swipe movements: swipe up from an icon, or swipe up/down on the home page, or double tap, or pinch the screen. You only have to decide what to do: I for one have decided to open system settings when I swipe up from the home screen: really practical!
      You can also backup and restore as many configuration as you like, you can hide apps in the drawer, you can add counters to app icons to show the number of unread notifications, you can customise the dock and so forth.
      That's quite a lot to be impressed for. At least, I am so impressed I could say this is one of the two best purchases I've ever made on Android. If you've never tried it, give it a chance and report back ;-)

      • t4exanadu

        Thanks. I am checking it out now. I'm already liking that I can import my settings from TouchWiz, and it's faster than Samsung's horrible TouchWiz. Starting to see why it has so many fans.

      • t4exanadu

        OK, I'm sold on Nova. Much better than Apex, Now, Aviate, etc. I can't believe this is free, actually. Google could learn a thing or two from these developers. Love that I can import my old homescreens. I never use the app drawer, everything is organized in folders on my homescreens, and Nova did a decent job importing all of that (was organized strangely but simple to correct). Plus the options... oh the options.

    • GraveUypo

      they're not amazing, they just work better and have a few extra core functionalities.

  • CaptainFSU

    If they get rid of widgets I'm not upgrading my nexus, I mean if you don't want widgets get an iPhone

    • Matt

      The thing that kept me from saying I hate it is that I can't believe they'd actually do that. There has to be more that we aren't seeing.

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    So I'm one of the people in an interesting camp: I use App Dialer as a widget on my homescreen, and NEVER open the app drawer. This means that I can focus my phone on the people I love (ala. photo widgets and aesthetic changes) as well as have everything I need app wise at my fingertips.

    I love the Google Experience Launcher because it strays away from the idea of traditional launchers, but still has some dynamic of normalcy to it. I don't want to lose the customization I get from GEL, even if that means I have a more "Google Now" style appearance.

  • WindumbPhone8.1

    All I know is that the shitdows phone fantards are a bunch of bitches.

  • Shahadot Ali

    Truth be told, I hardly use widgets anymore though I do like the lockscreen widgets like dashclock.

  • alamarco

    The only thing I hate is the Google keyword instead of the home button. I want a home button, not a Google button.

  • fredphoesh

    No widgets would be a MASSIVE step backwards.

  • hot_spare

    No wonder why Nexus is a flop!

  • nice

    Side note, you guys make really good mock-ups.

  • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

    As long as we don't have a app drawer, I don't like it.

  • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

    I know people joke on iOS about how ascetically it has not changed since the day of the original iPhone, and while this is true Apple has been able, to varying degrees of success, add more and more features. Why I welcome change, I can't help but to think that all of the changes Google has made to Android has to be annoying to keep up with from a developer POV (as well as a user POV). I think the changes and tweeks that have been made to Android are part of what makes it awesome, but at the same time its like Android hasn't found its design "voice". I can't help but to think that they're just making it up as they go, but then again.... aren't we all.

    • duse

      Exactly, I think they've finally found a "voice" with KitKat and GEL, and they should stick with it for several years, not toss it so soon.

  • Stanley Chan

    As Ive said in the other comment...

    IF all this become truth google need do let people choose what launcher to use.

    If u want the classic interface or the GEL one. Ok Google?!

  • mark boyle

    i don't want a google search button. I want a home button.

  • Dakota

    Why would they get rid of widgets which is a differentiator that many seem to like. I just want Android 5.0 with some major changes by the time the larger iPhone 6 is released. I'm being tempted to give ios a try since everyone I know uses an iPhone

  • Shrey Handa

    For me frankly no widgets and no app drawer is a deal breaker. I love the fact that with the app drawer I can hide away apps I dont usually use and I use a ton of widgets. Also, maybe its just me but the whole thing seems a bit much. And while I do think google now is cool, its not something I use much anyway so I can do without it.

  • steelew

    Can we get more functionality not less?

  • Marsg

    Everyone does know this isn't official right? It's just a rumor so it might not even be legit, might just be a mockup someone made.

  • Cory Wilson

    When you actually put a g1 next to a nexus 5...uhhh no there is nothing similar between the phones whatsoever. safe to say this would be the biggest change since honeycomb but honeycomb was just as drastic of a step

  • pocketdrummer

    If they iOSify it by killing widgets and cluttering up the home screens with apps, I'm done. If I wanted an iPhone I'd buy one.

  • Rob

    I'll say it. I don't like change. I don't see anything wrong with the current notification shade, and my preference is that Google just leave it alone. The "Google Now" style notification mock-up is not better IMHO. The other parts I could probably adjust to, but the N.S. changes strike me as unnecessary and a definite step backwards.

  • JT3

    Assuming this is real, which is a HUGE assumption... My first question would be: What would be the benefit of making the UI more IOS-like? You're not going to sway IOS people to Android by copying the UI they already have. Apple people are going to stick with Apple, even if the next version of IOS was all psychedelic colors and seizure-inducing strobe effects. Android's strength is in what IOS can't do, namely widgets and the ability to customize the UI to whatever you want. Android's market share isn't so low as to make Google that desperate, and even if it were, surely Google wouldn't be so stupid to make an IOS clone. Why choose a clone if you can have the original? Make a device that's exactly like an iPhone/iPad, and it will simply drive more people to chose the iPhone/iPad.

  • Premsuraj

    As long as widgets are available, I'll love it..

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    Please enforce design guidelines more strictly Google...............I hate when I feel iOS'y using stock android

  • alexromanets

    Where's the choice for "if I wanted a damned iPhone I'd buy one". I think the app drawer needs to be kept as is, ridding of the home button might be ok but please keep my app drawer and all my widgets otherwise it'll be just like what that fruit company puts out...

  • lou

    I voted hate.

    The pull down notification shade is the only part I can see being potentially improved, I need widgets and an app drawer I don't want them on my lock screen for anyone to peep at and I don't want ios or blackberry 10 style forced app pages I have to search through as I use folders on my home screens along with the widgets and it makes me very productive (so home screen 1 has all my university apps in a folder, my calender widgets, coursework due in widgets, timetable widget, home screen two has all my shopping,app stores , internet and cloud, home screen 3 has all my media and home screen 4 has all my games as it's the least important).

    Now I wouldn't care about the above but that stupid google button that replaces the home button looks like it's going to break a lot of custom launchers and how will that work with phones that have hard buttons? Will it force them to remap? Hopefully xda would come up with a mod to remap that google button into a home button again. I want an android phone know for it being able to let you do anything and style it however you like not forced to have google written across it .

    I also hate this new rumour about google limiting the sd cards function in the future, I want removable storage in case the phone dies, I don't want my info in the cloud where I need an internet connection, I don't want to have to pay an extra 100 for every 16gb of storage I want adding to internal storage.

  • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    I don't want the app drawer removed... I was hoping they add the ability to create folders in the app drawer... It's the only reason I'm not using the stock launcher on my N5... I really don't keep much on my home screen, but a widget or two... All my apps are in the app drawer out of the way, and organized In folders... Less clutter This way... As for the home button... Not sure yet... Got to see how they implement It first...

  • Michael Gladstein

    Love it

  • Kenty

    I've already saw that software buttons on xda, one guy even post screenshot with them..

  • NBM

    I don't want to lose homescreens and such

  • mLogician

    Improvements in notification and integration with Google Now look promising but removal of app drawer is a step backward.

  • Michael M.

    So big "Google" button is not so good looking idea IMHO. I'd rather prefer to see classic home button there. I think that voice activation and swipe activation plus long-tap activation is enough for Google now service. Especially if they add voice activation in all the apps. And the last one thought - it's better to use icons not words in the buttons.

  • João Oliveira

    I love it. Android is a design mess and what I see on this is an opportunity for Google to bring it together and refine the Android experience.

  • thartist

    I still don't get it. Seems really weird and harder to explain to a 50 year old.

  • Andreas Brandenborg

    Why would they go for a design that is so old? iOS has had this for ages. I like configuring my screens myself, and not have them cluttered with app shortcuts. I get it, the system must evolve. But seriously? Copying Apple? I thought Google were innovative.

    I would genuinely be pissed if they removed the app drawer and the widgets. Well, good thing I can still find the stock launcher pre android 4.4 as an apk.

  • Luke Edwards

    I recently switched from iOS to Android, but if Google are just going to copy Apple I'll probably move on. I'm waiting to see a Nice Ubuntu phone tbh.

  • Noel

    Home button must stay for the not so tech savvy ppl out there...yes u and i can easily use gestures to get back home. In my view it makes sense to use the Google logo as Home.

  • Luqmaan Mathee

    I surely hope this comes true! I also think that even if Google removed widgets and the app drawer custom ROMs would still have it.

  • Gator352

    Just noticed the bottom "squares" do not flip when he is flipping screens. That tells me that those are the Phone, Messaging, app drawer, and Chrome icons. I'm sure they are there and not being booted. Although, the screens full of "squares" bothers the crap out of me.

  • NathanEvans

    Its an interesting approach, however, if the do away with the app drawer there won't be much to diferenciate its first glances from iOS.. Be careful Google..

  • xxTheGoDxx

    I deny to believe that people really prefer a giant Google logo to access Google Now - which is more of a gimmick right now than really that useful, espacally outside of the US - instead of a home button.

  • Brandon Watkins

    lol, they must be working with HTC, it looks like Googles Version of the M7s capstive buttons!

  • Rauel Crespo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-tqSqOng34#t=412

    Is Google just saying this to Apple with this update?

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I like the look of the experience. You did all that and didnt touch the navigation bar. To get to

  • vgergo

    As long as they don't turn it into a ui disaster like ios. There's a reason 90% of people get Android.

  • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    What exactly makes us think there's no app drawer... These muckups?... There's no icons being showed... And the home screen is a grid technically anyways... The 4 icon spaces At the bottom?... At the moment, there's 5 icons on the android UI, but one of them is the camera... Those 4 icon spaces could be phone, hangouts, app drawer, and chrome with out the camera app...

  • Trysta

    What makes me sad is that Google is sooo close to perfect with the current UI. All that is needed is the ability to customize quick settings and a dismiss all option for multitasking (and an improved camera ui which they are working on). But I guess I will just have to custom ROM to get there while Google experiments...

  • master94

    So Google is dumbing down Android and making it more like ios? I guess it makes sense to those who arent power users and would make it easier for newbies but still.....

  • JMonkeYJ

    The lack of widgets and the multitasking UI (where it is difficult to quickly see many previous apps) are my big hangups with the rumor.

  • tay

    Just having the home button replaced by a google button.. How can people atually be okay with that???

  • Marian-Mina Mihai

    There's always an alternative if you don't like something. Just get another launcher, what's the big deal?

  • DefinitelyAbsolute

    The back button is taken directly from Windows Phone.

  • Stanley Chan

    Whait for this laucher. Theres nothing that an expoded module cant do...

  • AnthonyRyan89

    I kind of like the new icon but getting rid of the App Drawer would be a big mistake.

  • BlackT5

    Over the years I gotten used to using the recent button to jump between apps. Very rarely will I hit home then pick an app I use on a regular basis. I'm holding off judgment till I see more.

  • SebastianHelset

    I'm glad they are killing the app drawer. It's just a messy place for apps you never use.

  • David Vargas

    I think Android need a little bit more accesability and fluency to move (subjetively). I mean, do more things with a lower number of movements (more gestures available across everywhere in whole system). And maybe this could be the answear for that.

    Nowadays, all movil's OS have this problem (I repeat, is my subjetive opinion).

    English is not my maternal lenguage, so, be tolerant.

  • Mauro

    Come on people, Google killing widgets within their launcher? seriously? I really don't think they would make such thing, it's like making more than 50% of the Play Store apps half usable, I think it's completely dumb to think that.
    What I dislike is the no app drawer thing and every app smashed in the homescreen.
    What I really liked is the notification drawer design, really clean and colorful.

  • Karan Shrof Karan Shrof

    If widgets are available than i am gonna buy it. http://www.theskysoft.com/bulk-sms-caster-standard.html

  • Oobiewan

    no widgets? only the full app grid that I never use if I don't have to because it sucks to find anything in it? They really want my next phone to be an iPhone...

  • jack Koch

    The only thing i have problem with is the removal of the app drawer/widgets and the Google logo instead of home. i like the multi tasking

  • Misanthrope

    "From the information available to us, it looks like Google is experimenting with eliminating the app drawer in favor of an iOS-style app grid."

    Please.
    No.
    Never.
    No.
    Please.

  • JChiranjeev

    Killing the app drawer and widgets would be a huge step backwards. Widgets are the one thing that keeps Android differentiated from iOS or WP

  • tdurden64111

    Can Google just read my thoughts already? The NSA does, why can't Google design a smart phone to do this?

  • Jerome Chen

    what do you think of this Launcher called"MoboLive"?https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nd.android.launcher91&hl=en
    there are many themes I like in this app.

  • Blondiegirl

    I do not like this new app on ios on the iPad. Everytime I type a question I now get the answer"check internet connection" even though my internet connection is fine. So, double and triple the work. This sucks. Please fix this!

  • Marcy White

    If you're looking for tools to help you with iPhone app mockups, then check out Lucidchart! They have some great tools and features. https://www.lucidchart.com/pages/examples/iphone_mockup_tool