Google is rolling out the red carpet for the upcoming Pixel phones, ensuring that its core lineup of apps are dressed the part. An update to the Play Store began rolling out yesterday with a new round launcher icon for the Pixel Launcher and an app shortcut (formerly known as launcher shortcuts) for Android 7.1. Also joining the list of upcoming features will be support for purchasing 4K movies and TV shows, a marker to indicate if a device is certified, and a new icon for promotions and gifts.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
I won't say much here for just an icon, but if you haven't already read the teardown about Google's new round icons for the Pixel Launcher, it will explain this completely. Anyway, here it is:
Also in preparation for the Pixel Launcher and Android 7.1, the Play Store also gained a launcher shortcut, now officially known as App Shortcuts. Again, there's an earlier teardown about Android 7.1's app shortcuts that covers this subject in much greater detail.
The Play Store isn't adding a ton of shortcuts right away. There is only one, but it's probably what most of us have wanted for a very long time: a direct path to your installed apps. The label reads "My apps" and the icon is somewhat reminiscent to the app drawer icon on a rounded green square.
<string name="my_downloads_menu">My apps</string>
<shortcut android:icon="@drawable/ic_library_apps_homeshortcut_48dp" android:enabled="true" android:shortcutId="VIEW_MY_DOWNLOADS" android:shortcutShortLabel="@string/my_downloads_menu">
<intent android:action="com.google.android.finsky.VIEW_MY_DOWNLOADS" />
It's far from a big revelation, but for those of us that don't allow automatic app updates or have any other reason to drop into this screen frequently, this is definitely a welcome feature.
4K / UHD support
Talk about a déjà vu, here's another item from a teardown of Play Movies & TV just three days ago; and it also happens to be in preparation for a product announced at Google's October 4th event, but this time it's the Chromecast Ultra. The headline feature of the Chromecast Ultra is that it can push true 4K (a.k.a. UHD) video to a television. Naturally, there are strings for both renting and purchasing content, but not much else.
<string name="rent_uhd">Rent UHD %1$s</string>
<string name="buy_uhd">Buy UHD %1$s</string>
<string name="list_price_rental_uhd">UHD rental list price: %1$s</string>
<string name="list_price_uhd">UHD List price: %1$s</string>
Google already announced Play Movies & TV would begin offering 4K content when the Ultra begins shipping, so this is hardly a revelation. Nevertheless, it's new and there's no harm in mentioning it with everything else. At least there's no doubt that the apps will actually be ready when UHD content becomes available in November.
Device certification status
This one is a little more cryptic, but probably going to turn out to be relatively innocuous. There are new strings related to "device certification." The only two possible types of status are certified and uncertified.
<string name="certification_status_label">Device certification</string>
My first inclination is that this status indicates whether a device is legitimately supposed to have the Play Store and Google services built-in or if it has been sideloaded, a common practice with competing platforms like the Amazon Kindle tablets. On a similar, but slightly different angle with its own implications, it could reflect the status of a SafetyNet check to determine if a device is running truly original firmware or has been modified in some way. Of course, these possibilities assume the status is for the primary device, but it may reflect the status of connected devices or something like a Daydream VR headset. We'll have to keep watching for it to appear at some point.
New promotion / gift icon
This doesn't appear to be a very big thing either, but there is a new icon for promotions and gifts. It's a larger and more colorful version of the very tiny icons already symbolizing rewards in the app, and it sits on a dark, round background.
The one thing that feels special about this icon is that it doesn't match the style of some other icons that it might otherwise be placed next to. It certainly doesn't match the icons found under the Account screen, which stick very firmly to a white icon on a tinted background. It's also fairly distinct from other icons in the navigation drawer, though each section is already a bit scattered. Perhaps this is a hint that we'll soon see more features related to promotions or gifting things to other people, as we've heard about for many years.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
Version: 7.1.11.I-all  [PR] 135312875sion