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Google’s Reported ‘Nexus Launcher’ Just Became ‘Pixel Launcher’ (Updated: Download)

In early August, word was out that Google was renaming and redesigning its launcher experience, now carrying the name of Nexus Launcher. An .apk file for the launcher was even leaked, allowing all to enjoy it if they so chose to. Today, known HTC leakster @LlabTooFeR has provided images of the same launcher, but Google has apparently changed the name yet again, this time, to Pixel Launcher

What details can we pick from the screenshots provided by @LlabTooFeR? Quite a bit, actually. Seen in the images, the launcher appears to handle landscape pretty well, it still supports an app search directly in the drawer, and the sliding arrow at the bottom of the screen is still present to access the app drawer. Beyond that, it still looks like the same experience Google offered with the Nexus Launcher, including the little Google toggle to access Google Now.


I suppose we should also discuss the implications of this name change. As of one week ago, we are now under the impression that Google’s 2016 Nexus devices won’t be “Nexus” at all, but instead, will be marketed as Pixel devices. Because of this, it makes sense for Google to rename Nexus Launcher to Pixel Launcher. Beyond that, what is there to say?

Below, check out all of the screenshots posted to Twitter, then provide your hot take in the comments below.

Are we still happy about this Pixel > Nexus move by Google?

UPDATE: You can now download the new Pixel Launcher HERE!

pixel-launcher-3 pixel-launcher-4 pixel-launcher-8 pixel-launcher-9

pixel-launcher-1 pixel-launcher-6 pixel-launcher-5 pixel-launcher-2

Via: @LlabTooFeR [2]
  • Jeremy Turnley

    Bah, we’ve had pixel launchers for a while now. Here’s a bunch of guys with them,

    • Daniel Thomas


      • Jeremy Turnley

        The difference here is one was recalled, and the other should never have existed. 😛

  • steadymobb

    My mom wants this phone.

  • seattle tech

    Pixel master race

  • SewWhat

    UHHHH… Android and all things android related have turned into a slow turd rolling down a long hill since Rubin left the Android team. Pichai has brought a few neat things but at the steep cost of dealing with all the crap of dolling the up OS sacrificing simplicity and function. I feel my fan boy giddiness waning with each new release….. 🙁

    • Jeremy Turnley

      It’s not just you, we’ve hit “maximum phone” is all. There no more low hanging fruit as far as new features, so now even the most innovative phones are pretty much incremental improvements and refinements instead of being showcases. Even the people who are known for feature innovation (Samsung, LG, Apple) are only adding one or two new things to a new model while making everything else work a little better. Maybe the Galaxy X with however they implement their folding screen tech will shake things up some, but otherwise it’s really just a little better version of more of the same.

      • marcusmarcus2

        “Even the people who are known for feature innovation (Samsung, LG, Apple) are only adding one or two new things to a new model”

        Or removing things
        *Cough* headphone jack *Cough*

        • Jeremy Turnley

          Hey, now, they also added IP67 and “force touch to the start button”! It’s not like they aren’t still “innovating”! 😛

  • DanG

    What is the design purpose of the black area on the back of the phone, besides being a major turn off?

    • Scott Ricketts

      NFC. Goes better through glass than metal.

      • holdthiscat

        So does wireless charging…Hmm…

        • Scott Ricketts

          I’m not holding my breath on that one.

          • jimt

            Be nice if it had the internal magnets like the Nexus 5 also.

    • seattle tech

      The main design purpose is so that it doesn’t look like an iphone clone. If it didn’t have that glass back it would be an almost exact iphone rip off

    • Jeremy Turnley

      It also allows the antennas to get through better than those thin lines around the edge Apple and HTC use. Metal looks good, but it has some major drawbacks.

  • KleenDroid

    I would like to know if the Marlin will be available at T-Mobile.

    If so I would wait a couple weeks then return my Note 7 and the loaner S7.

  • Josep Reyes

    Google: Introducing the Nexus 7. Oh wait, shoot.
    Introducing the Pixel

  • Rich Robinson

    Nexus 6 here … where’s the 7.0 Factory Images Google???!!!!!

    • jimt

      I suspect it is in a month. I just got the Sept update today for 6.0.1 on T-Mobile. The Factory images will be out before that of course.

    • bkosh84

      Thank god you posted this here, where Google will SURELY see it…

      • Daniel Thomas

        agreed. I am sure that Google has all the bugs worked out and just forgot to post the factory image. I think Rich’s post will remind them that they forgot.

  • Ilya Kolodiychik

    I’m partial to the Nexus name (one of my machine’s is named Nexus, after all) because it means ‘to connect’, etc. But whatever.

    • person

      I think it’s also a pretty great Bladerunner* reference. The OS is called Android (and the major revisions were initially to be named after popular Androids) and the first device was a called the Nexus One (eventually to reach Nexus 6)

      *Bladerunner was a cyberpunk noire about hunting Androids called Nexus 6s

  • Daniel Thomas

    Pixel doesn’t relate or resonate more with consumers more than Nexus does/did, in my opinion. I still think calling it something that non-tech people can relate to, like the Google phone, even though it sounds ridiculous, would have been a smarter choice.

    Plus to me, Pixel sounds a bit on the feminine side. Too me the name doesn’t matter as I have purchased almost every Nexus phone, but i am thinking more about how the typical person relates to the name?

    • Agreed, Pixel sounds super feminine to me too. Not exactly sure why, it just does. While Nexus feels more masculine and “techy”. I suppose Google wants to hit more of a mainstream audience, so I understand. But yeah, just using a name like “Google Phone” seems more neutral.

      • Daniel Thomas

        I can see myself hanging out with my friends (that have mostly iphones and Galaxies and know nothing about Nexus’s), and when they ask me what’s the name of my phone, I can hear them now calling it the cute Pixi phone.

        • jimt

          Could call it the latest Google phone made by HTC.

      • Daistaar

        Pretty sure it sounds feminine to you guys because the sounds like Pixie. Your brain is associating the two and you’re probably picturing something like Tinkerbell, a Pixie, or fairy.


    • Joshua Parnell

      > Pixel sounds a bit on the feminine side
      Did you just assume that brand’s gender? [triggered]

      • Daniel Thomas

        crap…i just did a big no-no for 2016.

        • Joshua Parnell

          I’m glad you took that in stride. I worried you might take me seriously, hence the sarcasm tag.

      • michael arazan

        Pixel sounds like a new type of Bath Salts for people to snort

  • Zack

    i’m just waiting for Google to put that 7.1 maintenance release out to those enrolled in the android beta program….pixel launcher and all!

  • Jérôme Besnard

    RIP Nexus. Looking forwards to Pixel. No big deal for me. I like that they will be consistency in to Google hardware offering, at least with names. Can’t wait to see if next year Pixel phone will resemble more of the Pixel C though.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    I can honestly say that I don’t give a sht about the name change. Just give me the phone and call it whatever you want. We all know Google is horrible at branding/naming anything , it is what it is.

    I don’t like the Google tab sticking out like that… Otherwise it’s fine. Still a Day 1 purchase for the Pixel for me… no more XL phones for me.

  • TypoCorrecto

    The “Nexus” name has more meaning, “the central and most important point or place.”, but for me it’s all about the device itself.

  • Suicide_Note

    Google could name these new devices ‘Turtle Poop X and XL’ and i wouldn’t care. I’ll be buying the big phone, regardless of what its name is.

    The calendar icon in the app drawer differs from that in the widget picker. Are they two different apps, or perhaps the date in the app drawer icon changes daily?

    • Daistaar

      Trying to preorder the Turtle Poop X now… Strangely, can’t find it.

      • Suicide_Note

        You’ve got to poke around a bit.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      The app icon in the drawer is the one for Google Calendar. The widget one is for the samsung calendar. The screenshots are from a samsung device, i know because im using the s7 edge and there are no on-screen buttons and the battery/clock/wifi notification icons are from samsung’s.

  • Snowbo13

    I wish they where out now… I would swap my Note 7 for one in a heartbeat

  • Steve Wright

    I just want the devices announced. I don’t care what it is named. I just want to know what it does.

    • JRomeo

      it makes phone calls, and does everything the Nexus 6P on android 7.0 does.

      • Tyler

        Wrong it does everything the nexus 6p on Android 7.1 does.

    • MattG

      Exactly, I don’t care about the naming. I just want a good phone that Google will market.

    • ASYOUTHIA✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Compliments your 30 color make-up pallette

  • MReprogle

    I just want to know if those ugly htc mockups were true or not. If so, I will be holding onto my N6 for awhile longer..

    • rodney11ride

      N6 IN THE HOUSE!!!

      • Chilly O

        Might be holding on to that whale a little while longer…love that fish

    • Guest

      Same here. Or I will pick up a used 6p.

    • Daniel Thomas

      the mock up looks real from 360 degree leaked photos over the weekend for the 5in sailfish phone. Not much leaked images on the bigger Marlin yet.

    • DanSan

      I’m just waiting to get 100% confirmation of their look….. then waiting for the first fire sale of new nexus 6p’s lol

      • Chilly O

        Exactly my thinking too…but would be tough to replace the whale…that big a$$ screen and those front facing speakers

    • Daniel Thomas

      Here are pictures from a leaked company for a protective bumper. This is said to be the bigger Marlin

    • DanSan

      oh they are true.

    • James Cooper

      Yeah, that oversized chin and no front speakers of the leak are not making me interested. Hopefully the smaller one will hav premium components.

  • Artune

    All I want to know is price and availability. My Nexus 6p would like a brother

    • marcusmarcus2

      You don’t want to know about specs or features?

      • Mike

        Nah, most Nexus fanboys don’t care about the actual phone, just that it’s a stock Google phone.

        Pretty sure they could release a Nexus with a 4xx Snapdragon CPU and Nexus folks would buy it anyways because it comes from Google.

        • Daniel Thomas

          Well, when most of the recent Nexus devices have had the latest snapdragon chips, and mostly above average specs, i do not think “Nexus fanboys” have anything to worry about.

          Today most flagship phones share the same internal specs that the only real discernible differences come from the skin/software, and cameras.

          • Jeremy Turnley

            True, but the nexus phones ship with those specs 6-9 months after most of those phones launch. Not that that makes them worse, it’s just not really anything to brag about by the time they show up, and makes them look obsolete faster then they could if Google pushed the release timing up to summer instead of fall.

        • marcusmarcus2

          Not just Nexus. Just fanboys in general.
          Basically, X fanboys don’t care about the actual phone, just that it is a phone from X company
          X can be Google, Samsung, Apple, LG, or any phone company

  • DanSan
    • Suicide_Note

      I get the sentiment, but Key & Peele annoy me to no end.

      • inklenotrump

        I, for one, agree. subpar bubblewrapped BS.

      • DanSan

        honestly, never watch their stuff. was the first gif i found lol

        • Suicide_Note

          I’ve tried watching them, but i find their shtick annoying and completely unfunny. My wife likes them, but they do nothing for me. To each their own, however.

          • Super Pete

            I agree… except for their batman sketch, that had me crying. I’ve never seen anything else of theirs that even warranted a giggle, though.

      • TypoCorrecto

        They’re alright. Chappelle’s Show made it difficult for comedy sketch shows.

        • Chilly O

          Chappelle show definitely elevated the standard beyond reach…every other show now seems uncivilized (said with the dudes voice from that commercial hahahahaha)

      • terrorist96

        lol you got 6 downvotes

        • Suicide_Note

          I’m surprised i don’t have more.

    • cdm283813

      More fitting if they were putting out a Note 7 fire.

  • Nexus > Pixel

    • master94

      I kind of prefer the Nexus name too. A lot of my non-techie friends finally started to think about getting a nexus and than Google goes and kills the name. None of them heard of pixel brand.

    • inklenotrump

      they always almost get a good brand or thing going.. hangouts – nope allo!! – nexus… nope pixel.. ect ect into forever. Google’s product mgmt is constantly schizophrenic and frustrating for fans…

      • michael arazan

        Android Market > Google Play

    • calculatorwatch

      only because Nexus($) < Pixel($)