Google assassinates the older of its 2 launchers—will the Pixel Launcher substitute it?
The Google Now Launcher has been the go-to option for Android users looking for a simple, stock home screen since its general accessibility in 2014. If you had a skinned phone and wanted somewhat that looked a little more like “Google’s Android,” you might hope down to the Play Store, install the application, and display the home screen with Google’s predictive Google Now cards integrated.
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Unhappily, the Google Now Launcher will probably it may go soon. According to Android Police, Google is sending out letters to OEM partners ensuring that the Google Now Launcher will be retired in Q1 2017. Devices that have the launcher installed will be able to endure using it, but the app wills no longer show up on the Play Store.
Google actually has 2 home screen apps on the Play Store, the Google Now Launcher—which is broadly available and the stock launcher on the Nexus phones—and the Pixel Launcher, which is exclusive to the Pixel and Pixel XL. Neither application actually contains the code for the home screen; they are just minor “enabler” apps.
The code for together home screens is actually contained in the Google Search app, with only a few internal configuration flags separating the two launchers. Is slaying the Google Now Launcher a move to make the “Google Android” look more special to the Pixel phones, or is Google just working to combine its two launchers, with the Google Now Launcher going away and Pixel Launcher opening up to any kind of mobile that wants it?
By stabbing the launcher code in the Google Search app, Google has allowed deep integration of Android’s first interface and Google Search. Since the Google Search app is already functioning as the home screen, the voice response system is always prepared to handle a command. On the Google Now Launcher, this is the regular Google voice command system, but in the Pixel Launcher, the voice command system is the Google Assistant. We’ve heard gossips that Google will at last open the Google Assistant up to more Android phones than just the Pixels as soon. A report from CNET states the LG G6 will be the primary non-Google phone with the Assistant, and 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall entitlements the Assistant is coming to Nexus phones with the next “major” update. Feasibly the passing of the Now Launcher and a Pixel Launcher rebrand would be a part of a wide Google Assistant rollout.