During Google’s Oct. 4 event, Google announced two new smartphones, the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. As is the case with the Pixel line of smartphones, while they do come with a very stock-like version of Android, they also do come with a few tweaks that are considered specific to the Pixel lime. In fact, those tweaks culminate in a full launcher experience, the Pixel Launcher. While this is a launcher mainly designed for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the APK has now become available and as a result owners of the first-generation Pixel and XL smartphones can now add some of the Pixel 2 goodness to their devices. As this is an APK, non-Pixel device owners can try their luck with it, although early indications are that it might not work on all non-Pixel devices, or at least not to its full capacity.
As for the changes, the biggest two are ones that appear on the home screen. Firstly, the Google search bar (which is now a bar again and not a pill) has been moved down to the bottom of the display. With the assumption that this is a location which is easier to reach and especially if you are using the phone with one hand. The second big addition/change is the introduction of “At A Glance.” This is a small widget that appears at the top of the home screen and provides information on upcoming events linked to your Google Calendar. Besides only largely pulling the details from the Google Calendar(s) associated with the account, At A Glance only shows you meetings or events that are happening within the next 30 minutes. So prior to that 30 minute time the same widget will just highlight the day, date, and local weather conditions. Once that 30 minute countdown has been reached – in addition to getting a notification – the At A Glance feature will automatically kick in and continue to count down the time until the meeting/event takes place. As to be expected, there is also a new section added to the settings which allows the user to toggle on and off aspects related to the feature. Interesting, it doesn't seem as though you can actually toggle off the whole feature.
All the new wallpapers seem to be there, although these also seem to be rolling out in general to the Wallpaper app for Pixel and Nexus device owners, and there is likely to be a few smaller additional changes included as well. However, at the moment these seem to be the sum of the most notably ones. As for the actual experience, the interface seems to work pretty well with no clear or obvious bugs noted as of yet – although do keep in mind this launcher is being tested on a first-gen Pixel XL and other devices might encounter some bugs/issues. Either way, for those who would like to give the latest Pixel Launcher a try with bottom-positioned Search bar and At A Glance, download and sideload the APK from the link below.