Android M’s second developer preview was sent out into the wilds of the Internet not long ago, and already a huge change is to be seen: the launcher. In Android M’s first developer preview, we were given an entirely different app drawer and widget-picking interface, moving from the historically horizontal, paginated to the new vertical, one-page setup, where the apps and widgets were set apart by letters and dividing lines. It looked really rather odd, and many people were hoping for this change to not be permanent, and those wishes have been granted.
The second preview features an updated Google Now Launcher with a (you heard right) different scrolling interface. Whereas in preview one, you had the letters contrasting with the apps as labels and dividers, we are given a clean, single-page look with a much cleaner aesthetic about it. We have the quick scrolling feature, using the scroll bar on the right to jump to specific letter apps, and we also see this in the widget picking interface as well. This, especially for those of us that have hundreds of apps installed at any one time, will make scrolling or finding just the app you wanted that much easier.
Not just is the interface cleaner without those letter dividers, the app search bar is separated from the four most recently active apps, giving search and apps a distinctly separated feeling, which is both better looking and feeling than the previous iteration. The new search bar is just the Google search bar repurposed with a new overlay interface, which keeps it looking clean unlike the last time, the app drawer is now just a container of apps, which is what it has been all along, so it’s good to get back to what it was meant to be. And with the app search bar being separate from the app drawer now, the four most recent apps now scroll away with the top of the list of apps, since that’s where they are, even though there’s a dividing line between them and the alphabetical list. This bit of tweaking alone is making Android M all the more tantalizing, and it’s only the second preview. Expect more coverage of the changes and improvements packed into Android M’s second developer preview as we find them.