When the Nexus 5 debuted alongside Android 4.4 KitKat, new Nexus owners found that they had a special treat to go with it: a new launcher that was exclusively for their device. In February, Google finally brought this experience to Google Play, though with one caveat: it only worked with Nexus and Google Play Experience devices.
More recently, ZTE announced plans to pre-load the Google Now Launcher on many of its devices by default, signaling that the launcher would finally be making its way to even more devices. Now a new update is rolling out to the Google Now Launcher that finally ditches the Nexus/GPe requirement for good, allowing any device to run the launcher, provided they have Android 4.1 or higher.
Here’s a video showing off the launcher in action, though keep in mind this original review was written before it was available through Google Play:
Honestly, this really isn’t too surprising, especially considering the launcher had previously worked with many non-Nexus devices through sideloading. So what does the launcher bring to the table? With Google Now Launcher you can now find your cards by swiping to the left of your homescreen, and can also easily access Google Now with the awesome “ok, Google” voice command.
You can grab the Google Now Launcher through Google Play right away, though you may also need to update your Google Search if you haven’t been keeping it up to date. What do you think of the GEL, glad to see it on more devices or prefer another launcher instead?