Looking for a beautiful, pure Android experience without the basicness of stock Android? Google's got you covered.

The latest version of Google's Pixel launcher that is launching with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is now available for download. The launcher, which Google tailor to the user experience on their flagship Pixel series of smartphones, typically builds upon a stock Android base; adding additional features, functionality and an aesthetic Midas touch to ensure that those buying the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL are getting the best from Google, hardware-wise and software-wise.

As you can see upon installing and setting up the launcher, it has really matured since the first generation Pixel. The pill-shaped Google search icon/Google Feed tab has been removed and replaced by a translucent, rounded search box at the bottom of the home screen. While it functions in the same way as the pill icon (the exception being with Google Feed, for which now you just swipe right), it's arguably better looking and definitely much more reachable. The bar remains at the bottom of each home screen page you create, allowing easy access to Google Search whenever you may need it.

What doesn't remain at the bottom of each home screen, however, is the new "At a Glance" calendar widget at the top of the page. This widget shows the date, weather outside and the next event in your calendar, making it much more informative and arguably more useful than the component its replacing; the mini weather widget on the right side of the old Pixel Launcher's home screen. All things considered, it's a solid evolution and maturing from the first Pixel Launcher, and we're fans of what it has to offer.

It is available for all Android users with devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or above; although the Google Feed will not work on any non-Google device unless you've mounted the Pixel Launcher as a system app via root. Interestingly enough, the story does not stop here, as the Pixel Launcher has a few extra tricks up its sleeve for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners.

XDA have uncovered that there is a hidden, disabled dark theme overly for SystemUI, powered by OMS, the theme overlay management system that Google implemented in Android Oreo (which we talk more about in our rootless Substraum guide). The app is simply named "Dark" and its package name is:
com.android.systemui.theme.dark.
It is stored in:
/vendor/overlay/SysuiDarkTheme/SysuiDarkThemeOverlay.apk.

This is definitely an interesting feature which we're excited to learn more about when the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL make their way to the hands of users soon. You can grab the Pixel 2 Launcher from APKMirror.

What do you guys think? Will you install this on your device? Are you interested to see Google experiment with themes for the Pixel suite of devices? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.

via AP