Nova Launcher’s developer talks about upcoming KitKat-inspired makeover

by: Andrew GrushNovember 7, 2013

nova launcher

Android 4.4 KitKat is here, and with it comes the Google experience launcher and plenty of other unique new features. So what does this mean for custom launchers? Obviously the demand for customization isn’t going to end just because Google does something new.

On the other hand, it does mean that programs like Nova Launcher will be looking to make some changes that bring over some KitKat and GEL-inspired features. With that in mind, Nova Launcher’s Kevin Barry recently took to Google+ to speak a bit about the future of Nova.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Barry has already begun work on an unstable development version. In the image we can see that the Nova Launcher does a pretty decent job of emulating KitKat/Nexus 5 features such as transparent system bars and even gives us KitKat-like icons and folders.


Of course there are some challenges with providing an experience that’s fully in line with the new Google Experience launcher. For one thing, transparent system bars will only be available on reasonably high-end KitKat devices due to hardware and API issues.

Barry also mentions that there is no way to provide the exact same Google Now experience as found in GEL. He did mention that he is actively looking into possible alternatives such as including a full screen Google Now widget.

The Nova Launcher may also introduce KitKat-like changes to the app and widgets drawer, and Barry is currently exploring possible workarounds that will make things like SMS integration with Hangouts play nicely with unread badges in Nova Launcher. In other words, plenty of changes are heading our way sometime in the future.

Keep in mind that all of the KitKat and GEL features will end up as options, and will simply be rolled into future updates to the Nova Launcher app. Barry also clarifies that existing Launcher Prime members will not have to pay again to get their hands on these new features.

So when can we expect to see the “new” version of Nova Launcher? Barry says he isn’t giving a specific ETA for when KitKat-inspired features will be arriving to Nova Launcher. He does mention that the features will more than likely bleed over through multiple Nova updates as opposed to just arriving in one massive new update.

To learn more about Kevin Barry’s plans for Nova Launcher, check out his official Google+ page for further details.

  • Benjamin

    Shoo shoo Go Launcher :D

  • davehiggins1985

    Look forward to the changes!

  • Kelly Caffrey

    Looking forward to this, I loved the transparency in the stock launcher for my nexus 5, but personally the icons are such an eye sore

    • DownWithApple

      wait are you talking about ios7 here or android? :P

      • Kelly Caffrey

        Gosh I’m just used custom icon packs, pretty sure its hard to go back once youre used to them.

        I can suggest you click ui and inex

    • xHabeasCorpusx

      I agree. Many icons are fugly, and most developers do not follow Google’s guidelines creating an eyesore of a mess.

    • Timmy

      Ever try DCIconZ? TONS of icons and very well done.

      • IDontKnowMyName

        Totally agree. I have used many paid icon packs and some have rating of above 4.5 on the play store. but some how i keep coming back to DCIconZ. Amazing pack.

    • TjaldidTjaldid

      really? they seem to be crisp and sharp.

    • AndroidShiz
    • AndroidShiz
  • Alex

    Very happy they are updating

  • pjlk

    Yes please! And also, hopefully they would improve text readability in App Drawer as its hard to read texts depending on wallpaper esp on 100% transparency.

  • AndroidShiz

    To get a small taste of KK download the KitKat theme from BRIONICthemes, and the official Google keyboard if you don’t have a Nexus. Have this on my S4, which came with a transparent notification bar anyways. Tried ADW, Smart Launcher, and Apex with this theme, but Nova, even though it’s still JellyBeany simply blows them away with features and ease of use. Looks clean and bee ee ay you-tiful.

    • Paul Taylor

      Does Nova really have a drastically different feature set from Apex?

      • m1l4droid

        Apex does offer a few minor features, like menu options customisations, but Nova is pulled off better, in the terms of cleanness, and performs better and faster. Holo launcher is also another good one, but it offers less features compared to both Nova and Apex, but in terms of speed, it’s on par with nova.

        • Paul Taylor

          LOL the menu options customisations is the last thing I would use. All three launchers you mention run at top wack on my N4, so I wouldn’t be able to say which was slower.

      • AndroidShiz


        • Paul Taylor

          I have tried both, but the only features I really use are the gestures, particularly on the dock, occasionally the scrolling multiple docks, and the cosmetic stuff like deciding what transformation you want between pages or what icon size. Both seem on a par from that point of view. The lack of dock gestures are what keeps me from appreciating most of the other launchers, and particularly the stock launcher. What killer feature(s) does Nova have that Apex lacks and make it a deal-breaker for you? Perhaps I should be making better use of it!

  • guitarguy23

    I’d just be happy with one simple transparent notification and navigation bar update. :)

  • Richard Borkovec

    And this is why I only use Nova: it’s customizable like pretty much no other launcher I’ve used. It’s stable, and the dev is always working on it. I can’t wait for this update!

  • Grant Van Brunt

    Can we plz get facebook and fb messenger counter added to the tesla unread counter?? Very annoying to not know when you have unread fb msgs