Rootless Pixel Launcher is dead, long live Rootless Launcher

Who would have thought making an Android app launcher would be this much trouble. Amir Zaidi probably didn't think so when he tried to make users' lives easier and safer by putting the popular Rootless Pixel Launcher up on Google Play Store. But trouble he did encounter and a bit of drama did ensue. The good news: Rootless Pixel Launcher is now back on Google Play Store. The bad news? You will need to do a bit more to make it work perfectly.

It's one of those cases where neither Google nor the developer can really be blamed, though Zaidi does accept responsibility for overlooking an important policy. To protect users from potential malware and scams, Google forbids apps distributed on the Play Store from prompting users to install something outside of the Play Store. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the Rootless Pixel Launcher did.

While the launcher can function without it, you will need to install the Rootless Pixel Bridge to get features like the Google Now Feed and At a Glance. The nature of that package, however, prevents it from being made available on Google Play Store. The Launcher previously would prompt users to install it because few might now they have to. And that's what got the Rootless Pixel Launcher banned from the Google Play Store.

Now it's back, somewhat. It's using a different name now, just Rootless Launcher, without the Pixel. Probably just to distance itself further. And you'll still need to install the Bridge but this time you won't be reminded to. The option just won't be there and you won't even be told where to look.

You can, however, just download it from Zaidi's GitHub page. It's practically the same as before, but everything has to be done manually and explicitly by users now. Hopefully, that's the last we'll hear of the issue.