If you’ve been planning to download the developer’s build of Android O, you’d probably be glad to know that you can get the Pixel launcher alone starting today. Yes, the Pixel launcher has already been APK’ed, but unofficially, a week after Google rolled out the developer preview of the next Android update.
This version of the Pixel Launcher for Android devices has been lifted and backported to the masses for anyone to try. The site describes the launcher as “new and fabulous” that works without root access, although the Google Now sidebar won’t work unless it’s installed as a system app.
Since it was made available unofficially, it’s still quite buggy. While most users who’ve installed it reported no problems, there were a few who did run into some issues. Fortunately, most of those were immediately resolved by rebooting their devices.
The Pixel Launcher APK is now available for download to those who own any Android device running at least v6.0 Marshmallow. It should be entirely safe to make use of, but as we would always say, do it at your own risk.
For the APK download, simply head to XDA Developers and tap the DOWNLOAD button. There’s a note there to help with development if you have the ability – if you try to run the app and it does not work, capture a log. Users that try to run the app and it force-closes: just wait a minute and try again.
Android O Developer’s Preview
As reported earlier, Android Nougat’s successor made its first foray into the public eye with the launch of its initial developer preview last week. Google has not yet revealed its official name, but it did give us a glimpse of the coolest changes it would bring to Android devices.
Most notably, the tech giant added a notification channel that breaks notifications into segments so that users can select, on a more granular level, what they want to hear about. Google also expanded its picture-in-picture (PiP) feature from Android TV to phones and tablets. PiP allows users to take video content from one app with them while they browse another app. Check out the rest of the Android O features here.
Google has yet to provide an exact Android O release date, but we can expect its roll out to start sometime in the third quarter of 2017. The new operating system will be officially unveiled in May in California.