Android 4.4 KitKat to feature a “Google Experience” launcher, report says

October 13, 2013
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Android 4.4 KitKat

A new report says that Android 4.4 KitKat will bring a “Google Experience” launcher, a feature that previous reports digging through an older KitKat build log file have also hinted at.

Android Police has it that Google is working hard on a new launcher for Android 4.4 KitKat which will be called Google Experience. That’s the name found in an earlier build, where the launcher’s packages was called com.google.android.gel, which Android World identified then either as a launcher or a “hub” for Google services.

Android 4.4 KitKat Google Experience launcher

Cropped image reportedly showing the Google Experience launcher in Android 4.4 KitKat | Image Credit: Android Police

According to Android Police, gel is the short version of Google Experience Launcher, and the fact that its name is com.google.android.gel instead of com.android.gel seems to suggest that the launcher will be available in the Google Play Store – the same Android World pointed out a few days ago the same thing about the name of various Google apps which will apparently have a .google in their name, indicating a possibility that those apps will be available as independent downloads from the Play Store.

Finally, Android Police points out to KitKat’s motto – “to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody” (see top image) – which seems to suggest that with KitKat, Google may want to offer users that won’t immediately have access to the latest OS update some of the latest versions.

Android 4.4 KitKat Mockup

Mockup: Transparent navigation and status bar (left) and folder containing “infinite apps” (right) | Image Credit: Android Police

The publication also offers a cropped image showing a “Google Experience” notification, but also a few mockups of the new launcher, as you can see in the images embedded in this post.

If you remember an older Wall Street Journal report about Google’s “K release” version of Android – which turned out to be KitKat instead of Key Lime Pie – you’ll also remember that the report suggested Google’s next major Android update will be compatible with older devices.

Android 4.4 KitKat Mockup

Mockup: Google Search/Now Home screen (left) and “Google Experience” notification (right) | Image Credit: Android Police

Maybe Google’s way of doing things is to simply offer users the possibility to download some of the Android 4.4 default app as independent Google Play apps that would work with older Android versions – but we’re just speculating at this point.

That would be one way to get a “Google Experience” handset, and that’s why getting a new launcher, one that has its own branding (previous launchers didn’t have their own names), would make sense.

Android 4.4 KitKat Mockup

Voice input in Android 4.4 (mockup on the left) vs Android 4.3 (right) | Image Credit: Android Police

Android Police further confirms some of the Android features offered by a recent leak – just a few days ago we showed you a variety of pictures reportedly coming from a Nexus 5 running Android 4.4 – offering other details, as follows:

  • The transparent navigation and status bars are present while in the launcher, not in apps, at which point they return to their regular black color
  • Google Search/Now is integrated with Google Experience
  • The left screen is dedicated to Google Search/Now
  • Google Search/Now has a “one-touch button to set a reminder”
  • Google Search’s voice input is “kind of transparent on the bottom and floats instead of occupying the whole screen”
  • Users can setup more than five home screens (there’s no limit in sight)
  • There’s no app limit for folders, which can now get over 16 apps
  • Widgets can’t be added from the App Drawer anymore, but from the home screen menu by long-pressing menu

That said, this is just another rumor related to Android 4.4 KitKat, and things may change by the time the final version is launched. Meanwhile, we’re certain we’ll see even more leaks in the days/weeks to come – depending on how soon Google will unveil this new Android update.

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