Just after the release of its first beta for the next major version update, Nova Launcher has today rolled out version 3.0 of the popular Android homesceen replacement. This new version brings all the new features mentioned in the beta, plus one more that seems to be gaining popularity among third-party launchers: the "OK, Google" hotword.
This new Nova Launcher feature works the same with the Google Search app and the Google Experience Launcher. Anywhere you are in the homescreen or app drawer, uttering the now iconic phrase will launch the Google Search app in voice recognition mode. There are, however, a few requirements to Nova Launcher's implementation. First, it only works on Android devices running Android Jelly Bean or greater. Second, it also only works if you're using a language or locale that is supported by the same Google Search feature. In other words, if "OK, Google" in Google Search doesn't work with your device's settings, it won't work with Nova Launcher's feature either. The feature is disabled by default so you will have to go into Nova Settings to activate it once Nova Launcher is updated or installed.
Other than that, most of the Nova Launcher 3.0's features have already been covered in our beta test run. This includes subgrid positioning, which lets you somewhat arbitrarily position widgets on the screen, support for 4x1 widgets on the dock itself, more color options for various parts of the user interface, and support for dynamic Calendar icons, which will change the icon's number to reflect the current date.
Nova Launcher 3.0 is now up on Google Play Store and is free to use. Users new to this homescreen alternative should however note that many other useful, but not exactly critical, features are hidden behind the Prime version, which will cost you $4.00 to purchase.
Download: Nova Launcher 3.0 on Google Play Store