Shortly after the release of Android Pie for the Google Pixel series, we discovered that Google was testing a newer version of the Pixel Launcher on an unexpected device: the Android Studio emulator. While the Pixel Launcher found in Android P DP5 and the subsequent Android Pie releases lack a voice search shortcut in the search bar, the Android Studio emulator’s launcher had a Google Assistant shortcut on the search bar. Since we first discovered this updated launcher version, press renders for the Google Pixel 3 have shown this same Assistant shortcut on the search bar. Now, you can download the latest Pixel Launcher version with the same Google Assistant shortcut.
This updated Pixel Launcher was discovered by XDA Senior Member paphonb, a member of the team behind the Lawnchair launcher and the developer of the Rootless Pixel 2 Launcher. He had initially planned on releasing his modified version of the launcher ripped from the Android Studio emulator image, but some outstanding bugs and his university work caused a delay.
Now, we can share the APK that has been ported to work on Android Oreo and Android Pie devices. Since the package name is unchanged, it should work with Google Feed but that also means you can’t install this APK on the Google Pixel 2 or Google Pixel 2 XL since the packages will conflict. Lastly, keep in mind that some features like the smart shortcuts in the app drawer won’t work on your Android Oreo device since the App Actions API was introduced in Android Pie.
Pixel Launcher version 9-4889482. For context, the latest version on the Google Pixel 2 is 9-4836503.
We’ve had a lot of requests to release this APK, so here it is. We tested this APK on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 running Samsung Experience 9.5 based on Android 8.1 Oreo and a OnePlus 6 running OxygenOS 9.0 based on Android 9 Pie. Now that we also have the Google Pixel 3’s Live Wallpapers, you can enjoy the Pixel 3’s launcher experience ahead of the device’s launch on October 9th. Once the Pixel 3 launches, we’ll check to see if there are any new features that can be backported to older devices. I’m sure that paphonb and the many other developers of Pixel Launcher ports will quickly port the Pixel 3’s launcher after release.
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