Just last week Google officially unveiled the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL. Hardware wise, there’s not much that would entice existing first generation Google Pixel owners. For anyone looking to upgrade their phones, though, the second generation Pixel phones are shaping up to be compelling purchases (if you can afford it). Though not all of the Google Pixel 2’s software can reasonably be ported to other devices, some things like the Pixel Launcher should be possible. We’ve already seen an app replicate the new Pixel Launcher’s calendar/weather widget (called ‘At A Glance’), though some are hoping to see the bottom search bar too.
Thankfully, it appears that the Pixel Launcher from the Google Pixel 2 can be installed right now on many Android devices. Theoretically it should install on Android Lollipop and above according to the minimum SDK version of the app, though none of us have an Android 5.0 device to confirm that. We did install it on more modern devices—the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 running Android 7.1 Nougat and the Google Pixel XL running Android 8.0 Oreo—to confirm that it does work.
We should note that the Google Now panel will not work if you install the official version below on a non-Google Nexus or Pixel device as the Pixel Launcher needs to be installed as a system app in order for it to show the Google Now panel. We have added a modified version of the Launcher, however, which adds support for the Google Now panel.
Google Pixel Launcher on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Android 7.1 Nougat)
We noticed a subtle animation when you swipe up on the dock where it bounces a bit after hitting the top. This feels reminiscent of an iOS-style animation, and is something you may not even notice unless you are paying attention. Here’s a video of it in action:
Install Google Pixel Launcher from the Pixel 2
Interested in grabbing this launcher update? All you have to do is download the Pixel Launcher that we uploaded below and install it onto your device. It doesn’t need to be installed onto the system partition (meaning it doesn’t need root), and if you already have the Pixel Launcher installed then it will just install right on top of it. Enjoy!
Alternatively, you can install this modified version of the Google Pixel Launcher by XDA Senior Member paphonb. His version works on non-Google devices and allows you to use the Google Now panel. Here’s a video of it in action. Note that many Samsung users are reporting that it doesn’t work for them.
Here’s the Pixel wallpaper app as well. Note that it will only install if your device is running Android 8.0 Oreo. The Pixel wallpaper app seems to crash for many people and also doesn’t seem to allow you to select the new live wallpapers. If so, you can try following these steps (requires root) which might make it start working.
Stay tuned to the XDA Portal, because we have a lot more to share with regards to the Google Pixel 2 after spending some time with it in the Verizon store.
Update 1 – Magisk Module
Redditor /u/lehoo_zeher has whipped up a handy Magisk Module that incorporates some of the changes we recommended here. This is only intended for users whose phones are rooted, so if your phone is rooted using Magisk then this Module will help you install the Pixel Launcher systemlessly. This may also get some of the new live wallpapers working on your device.
Update 2 – More Details
This also adds the animated clock icon which will match the Google Clock’s icon with the current time.
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
Check out his personal gallery here