It sure took a while, actually just over a month, but the latest Nova Launcher is finally here. Those itching for some Pixel 2 action on their non-Pixel phone can now at least replicate the new launcher experience, even if they’re not even on Android 8.0 Oreo. Nova Launcher brings many of the features found exclusively on Google’s latest phones to other models and, sometimes, even older Android versions.
Adaptive icons is the buzzword among Android launcher makers and themers. In a nutshell, it allows a single icon to adapt a different shape, usually depending on the OEM’s skin. So instead of having different shaped icons for different phones or themes, you can just have one and it will conform as needed. This platform feature was added in Android 8.0 but even those with on Android 5.0 Lollipop, can now enjoy it with Nova Launcher 5.5.
The update also brings a somewhat controversial from the Pixel 2: the Google Search bar in the dock. Putting the search bar at the bottom makes it easier to reach and, in a sense, makes it more prominent. If you are one of those who do like that position, Nova Launcher now offers it as well but does one better by letting you replace that searchbar with any widget of your choice.
Some new options, like the Android 8.1 style popup for app shortcuts, are mostly aesthetic and will mostly work on any supported Android version. Others, like having notification badges or dots, will require you to have Android 5.0 or Android 7.0 at least. Either way, you will be able to get a lot more features and functionality from your older, non-Pixel phone using this new version of Nova Launcher.