Nova Launcher 3.1 Beta1 Gets New Features With More Android L Style And Options

Android L has faded to the back of some of our minds, while it remains a theme to emulate, match, and recreate on our own devices, L-clad or not.  Nova Launcher has taken hints from their beta community before, and released an update that added some L-flavored taste to your custom homescreen and launcher experience.  We covered the update a while ago, and today we'll do it again, but with more and new features added in an update that came out for the beta people today.  Having, using, and loving Nova myself, let's see what they've added for us. The version to look for and see if you have is version 3.1 beta 1.  The update brings a fix for a problem that people have been having, where you couldn't manually change the icon for the app drawer.  With a bug fixed, let the features commence!  The new additions to the #4 paid Android app in the Play Store are small but very noticeable and nice to see.

First, there is the addition of an app drawer opening animation.  No, not the addition of the animation period, but the addition of three more on top of what was already there, and your choice of which to use.  You can use the normal zoom animation, or choose from the circle, slide up, or fade as well.  Circle creates a circular ripple with the epicenter being the app drawer button or whatever you pressed to open the app drawer.  The slide up is what we've seen in Android L, where the desktop sort of goes backwards and the app drawer comes up into view from the bottom edge of the screen.  And fade is self-explanatory, where the desktop fades out and the app drawer fades in to.

The last of the two new features can be found in the app drawer itself.  The search feature has been in place within Nova Launcher's app drawer for a while, but now it has a new trick hidden inside.  If you're like me and have a Nexus or your phone has no physical menu button, tap the three-dot menu button in the top right corner.  If you have a hardware menu button,(or soft key menu button)then press that, and select search.  Right there, that's the feature.  Without having to type a thing, you are greeted with a list of recently installed and updated apps, with the search bar and white bar underneath it being all L-clad and Material Design-y for those of us that have to have Material Design on our devices. Have you gotten the update yet?  If so, do you like the new features?  Did it fix the app drawer icon bug, for those of you that experienced it?  Does this update, as well as the coming updates leading up to Android L's official announcement and naming this fall, make you want to use Nova if you don't now, or switch back if you moved away from it?  Let us know what you think!

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About the Author

Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.
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