If you've been paying attention the last several months, you're probably aware that since we posted our early look at Google's revamped launcher icons, users have been yearning for the "materialized" versions of their favorite apps' icons. This new design direction even spurred custom icon packs to replicate the look and feel of the rumored Google goodies. For developers and designers on Android, it's easy to see the attention the new icons are getting and start thinking about redesigning your own app's launcher icon.
August is over, and as a resident of the southern United States, I say good riddance - we're now beginning the slow slide into the more bearable part of the year. But Android apps know no season, and while the crop of new apps from August was a little light, there are a few that you should definitely check out. Below are the Android Police writers' picks for the best new apps from the last month, plus a few honorable mentions.
I don't think the developer behind the Xposed Google Experience Launcher Settings (XGELS) module will be satisfied until he's made the stock Google Search launcher every bit as flexible as Nova and Apex. The latest update to the popular module adds even more customization options. Premium users can now assign custom icons to a single app or the app drawer icon, with or without a full icon theme applied, like most of the more advanced launchers allow.
The folks over at TeslaCoil have been hard at work. Just a week or so after testing a ton of small but significant changes in the 3.0 beta release of the popular Nova Launcher, they've expanded them to the full Play Store version. Check out our breakdown of some of the more significant additions for more details. But there's one more trick up its sleeve for the general release: the "OK Google" hotword.
For my money, Nova Launcher is the best of the AOSP-style launchers available in Android. Developer TeslaCoil Software has consistently updated the launcher for the better part of three years, and one of the biggest updates is coming soon. Nova 3.0 won't add any earth-shattering changes, but there are a bunch of little changes that will thrill the customization-obsessed in small ways.
On the homescreen, you can now customize the text below shortcuts to a greater degree with color and shadow options, and widgets can now have individual padding settings.
In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.