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.