Those who have fallen in love with the new home launcher and app drawer introduced in Android 4.4 might not have to wait for a distant or even non-existent update just to enjoy it. Popular Nova Launcher has just announced a new beta that attempts to emulate some parts of the brand new look and feel of the latest Android version.
Nova Launcher developer Kevin Barry last week gave a sneak preview of his plans for an Android 4.4-compatible version of the launcher. Now that the first beta is finally out, testers and users can enjoy such changes. The launcher now uses the KitKat-style circular scroll indicators for switching multiple screens. Folders of apps can now also sport a light circle theme, though the older dark style is still used as the default. Users on Android 4.1 or higher will automatically be using condensed icon fonts to match the look of Android 4.4.
There are, however, a few things that users need to remember. While the next Nova Launcher will try to best imitate an Android KitKat look, technical reasons prevent it from giving a full experience. For one, transparent system bars will not be available on all devices but only on those that support the new feature, or on some Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S 4, via an API exclusive to the device. The so-called Google Experience Launcher, which gives quick access to Google Now through a swiping gesture and the “Ok, Google” phrase, will also not be available since the feature is tied to a couple of Android 4.4 apps. The developer is still trying to figure out the best way to copy these features when technically possible.
Those who are not daunted by these limitations can try out the new beta from Google Play Store, though one first needs to join the Google+ community to participate in the opt-in beta. Alternatively, users can download the APK directly, though the file might need to be renamed with a “.apk” file name extension first.