There have been quite a few interesting variations and different takes on the Pixel launcher formula, from straight-up copying the APK, or using a third-party launcher with Pixel-style features like Nova Launcher or Action Launcher, to releasing forked, modified versions of the launcher with additional functionality such as Lawnchair. Now, another interesting fork has been launched by a developer over at XDA, based on the Pixel 2's launcher; and it brings quite a few additional features.

XDA Senior Developer sharkie405 has released this build, and it adds quite a few features that you wouldn't expect to see on a vanilla variant of the Pixel 2 launcher. It's aimed primarily at devices running the Taimen Android 8.1 Developer Preview 1, and you'll need root access to take advantage of all of its functionality.

What's available to users includes:

  • Always coloured Google G in home screen search bar regardless of wallpaper (optional)
  • Slightly smaller icons
  • Removed text from home screen icons
  • Removed text from app drawer icons (optional)
  • Removed page indicator
  • Removed home screen app drawer up arrow
  • Added two more rows of icons to the home screen (this automatically adds those extra rows to the app drawer as well)

Installing the launcher is not as easy as just tapping an APK file; however, it is a fairly simple and straightforward process. Do note that you will need a root-enabled file explorer to proceed:

  1. Extract the APK from the zip file
  2. Use your root-enabled file explorer to make the directory
    /system/priv-app/NexusLauncherPrebuilt rw (read-write enabled)
  3. Copy the APK from the ZIP into
    /system/priv-app/NexusLauncherPrebuilt and allow it to overwrite the existing APK
  4. Reboot your device and you're done!

And there you have it! Enjoy your new launcher experience, and be sure to tell us what you think of this modified launcher for the Pixel 2 in the comments below, or post over on the forums with your thoughts.