Chris Lacy's Action Launcher got a massive update recently, introducing new branding, more free features, an animated Android O style clock widget, and more. Together with its already useful feature set, including shutters and covers, it's cemented its place as one of Android's best launchers. The latest Beta is now available, as announced by Lacy on his blog, and it includes a number of features that Google has added to the Pixel Launcher in Android O, such as notification dots and a new UI for app shortcuts and widgets.

I agree with Lacy that the new long-press UI for app shortcuts is not as attractive as before, but it is more useful as it can also display notifications and available widgets, too. You can edit an app's icon or name with the Quickedit option. The Android widget picker was only to be found in the launcher overview menu before, but now you can see widgets for each app in its own long-press menu, which makes a lot more sense. These changes have been brought over to the Action Launcher v26.0 beta, and they look pretty good.

 New app shortcuts with notifications.

Notification dots will appear in the top right of the app icon, though the position can be changed in the settings. The app shortcut menu shows a small preview of a notification, as you can see above. Clicking it will take you directly to that part of the app, or you can dismiss it with a swipe. Smaller enhancements include altering the scale of icon indicators and other interface changes.

The new widget picker.

Check out the full changelog below:

NEW: Full notification dots support! Notification dots display on icons, and long-pressing a shortcut will display a preview of app's notifications and allow notification to be dismissed ala Android O. Requires Lollipop or later.
NEW: Android O style App Shortcuts panel. Requires Lollipop or later.
NEW: Android O style widget picker, which displays all relevant widgets for a given shortcut.
NEW: Directly engage Action Launcher's Quickedit panel via a shortcut's long-press pop-up UI. Requires Lollipop or later.
NEW: Dedicated "Icons & App Shortcuts" settings page, which is home to all icon related settings.
NEW: Option to adjust the scale of icon indicators.
NEW: Revamped interface for selecting the apps that are hidden from app drawers.

These additions all work with Android Lollipop and above, so you don't have to have the latest OS version to sample the new features. Lacy promises more new features as the v26.0 beta progresses, so if you want to stay on the bleeding edge you should become a beta tester, or you can download the file from APKMirror. Alternatively, if you want to play it safe you can get the stable version from the Play Store link below.

Action Launcher: Pixel Edition
Action Launcher: Pixel Edition