LG has been criticized for its decision to remove the app drawer on the G5, but its UX 5.0 demo video a while back said the app drawer option was returning. The best it could do in the short term was publish the old UX 4.0 home screen in SmartWorld, but now an updated home interface for the G5 is rolling out that adds the app drawer option.
LG took a lot of heat (deservedly) for its decision to remove the app drawer from its stock launcher on the G5. It eventually showed off a different version of the home screen in its recent UX 5.0 video. That one had an optional app drawer, and now that version (named Home 4.0) is available for download.
A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.
App Drawer Changes
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer.
One of our readers spotted this neat trick in the latest update to the Google Now Launcher (which is part of the primary Google app). A single tap on the app drawer icon will open the app drawer as usual, but a long-press will open it and immediately highlight the app search field. It will also automatically open your default virtual keyboard, quickly and easily allowing you to type and search for apps.
This is especially handy for those users who keep dozens (or hundreds) of apps on their phones. Check out the animation below to see it in action:
The long-press function is only available in the latest versions of the Google App.
Google continues to tweak Android 6.0's visual interface with the latest Developer Preview, in ways both big and small. The default Google launcher has been seeing subtle changes since the M Preview was introduced, and the latest one is... interesting. The Preview 3 version of the app drawer includes a little "pop" effect when scrolling, highlighting the first app that begins with each successive letter in the alphabet. It's a little hard to describe verbally - check out the video below from YouTube user Zaid Salem.
If you'll recall, Developer Preview 1 separated apps by beginning a new drawer row for each new letter of the alphabet.
Nova Launcher is easily the top pick for conventional Android home screen replacements, and a "daily driver" for a good chunk of Android Police's staff. The latest update added a Material Design user interface, but there are other goodies hiding just below the surface. For example, version 4.0 includes a simple app search function hidden in the app drawer. It's especially handy if you've got hundreds of installed apps (like Artem) or just don't like organizing your apps into folders (like everyone else).
To activate the search bar, just drag down from anywhere in the app drawer. It's the same gesture used to refresh the page or service in some Google apps.
One of the things I love about Android is the way it allows fantastic customization of its user interface, even without root or other major modifications. Take App Swap for example: this handy little app drawer replacement can launch either from a standard shortcut on your launcher (or alternative methods like SwipePad) or it can replace the default Google Now swipe-up-from-the-home-button gesture.
The latest update to this tool adds an even more useful feature: Quick Swipe. This allows users to swipe left or right from the pop-up app drawer to instantly go to the apps of their choice. Essentially it's an even faster way to get to your two most-frequented apps.
I've never been to Vietnam, but (after seeing the earlier hands-on photos and now this video here) I'm tempted to check out airplane ticket prices for the country. I hear they have gorgeous landscapes, an interesting culture, and a bunch of geeks loose with Nexus 9s. One of them is parading in a coffee shop with a chocolate drink, a couple of books, and our coveted tablet. But I might be mistaken.
No, I'm not. SChannel, which seems to be the YouTube channel of Vietnamese Sforum, has published a rather lengthy video of the Nexus 9 giving us our first peek at what the tablet feels like in real life and how responsive it is.
Themer wowed us with its introduction a few months back, and today's update to the powerful homescreen replacement and customization app is the largest yet. The biggest change is a redesigned app drawer, which allows for both the standard scrolling view and a new Categories screen. Categories are basically folders, but they're displayed like Google Now cards, and automatically populated with apps. You can manually tweak them if you want.
The rest of the app drawer is pretty conventional, split up into Favorite or All Apps views. Because this is a visual-heavy homescreen you can change a lot of the settings, including hidden apps, the number of columns, background color and transparency, and icon size.
App drawers suck. Okay, that may not be universally true, but for the sake of this hands-on, lets all agree on this premise. Once we install apps from the Play Store, it takes way too long to find them, and once we're done, it can be bothersome trying to remember which app we installed before that one. After a couple of months, that clean app drawer can grow to become six, seven, and even eight pages long. Most launchers now come with the ability to organize these apps into folders, but coming up with a manageable system of organization can be quite the pain.