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Google Now Launcher hits the Play Store, only supports Nexus and GPE devices, unless you're into sideloading

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google Now Launcher hits the Play Store, only supports Nexus and GPE devices, unless you're into sideloading
Google has been working on the Google Now Launcher (formerly known as the Google Experience Launcher) for a bit now, and has slowly been expanding availability of the app to more devices. Today, Google finally released the Google Now Launcher into the Google Play Store, but unfortunately, you'll still need to have either a Nexus device or a Google Play Experience device, unless you fancy a bit of sideloading.

The best two features of the Google Now Launcher are, not surprisingly, ways to access Google Now/Google Search faster. If you have a supported device, and you were to install the Google Now Launcher, Google Now itself would permanently fit itself to the left of your default homescreen. And, if you want to get at Google Search, you just have to say "OK Google" when you're on your homescreen. The launcher can even import your homescreen setup from your current launcher if you want. 

As we noted, if you have either a Nexus device or a GPE device, you'll be able to install the Google Now Launcher directly from the Play Store. Otherwise, you can try sideloading the APK and hoping for the best. Sideloading doesn't necessarily work with every device. We can say that the launcher works on the Moto X, and reports say it works on the LG G2, and the HTC One. However, it doesn't seem to work on the Samsung Galaxy S III or S4. So, let us know if it works for you.

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posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:07 1

1. bradley8795 (Posts: 21; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)


It does not work on the GFlex

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 02:14

17. garz_pa (Posts: 153; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


"...but unfortunately, you'll still need to have either a Nexus device or a Google Play Experience device..."

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:08

2. Augustine (Posts: 606; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Google Now does not permanently fit itself to the left of the home screen. It can be disabled from its own settings, along with the battery-killer to listen for "OK, Google".

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 18:14 2

11. magnanimus (Posts: 214; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


I wouldn't count it as a battery killer. How long do you spend on your homescreen. Its pretty insignificant I can assure.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 20:53

15. Nexus_bear (Posts: 32; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)


Its not a battery killer if the device has a SoC with a companion core. Qualcomm 800 and newer. Or the X8.

In the future Qualcomm will release a kit to customize the companion core so that an advanced user can decide what feature they want set to be used by the low power chip.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 11:43

19. Augustine (Posts: 606; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


I noticed longer battery life on my Nexus 5, which has the QCOM 800, when I turned it off.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:12 3

3. Bootutu (Posts: 184; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


Works fine on Note 3, but i prefer touchwiz.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 18:20 1

12. hurrycanger (Posts: 762; Member since: 01 Dec 2013)


not sure hw it is on the Note 3, but it Google Now Launcher is not as smooth on my Galaxy Mega and my Galaxy Light. Touchwiz launcher is a lot smoother.
So yeah. same boat. I prefer Touchwiz, too.
But man... I really hope my phones will get the new Touchwiz launcher with "Okay Google" feature like on the S5. I doubt they will ever get it though.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:15 1

4. scsa852k (Posts: 274; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)


What's the point of having it on playstore if it only works on Nexus and GPE devices?
Those devices already have google launcher preloaded if upgraded to KitKat!

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:47 2

7. Augustine (Posts: 606; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


No, they don't. The launcher is the one evident thing that's glaringly kept from Jelly Bean.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 20:25 3

14. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3869; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


No, only the Nexus 5 had it, even when other Nexus devices were upgraded to KitKat

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:24

5. Ikechukwu (Posts: 133; Member since: 03 Oct 2011)


I don't know why I can't leave this sony ui for I second LOL

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:31

6. prophet (Posts: 10; Member since: 15 Jul 2010)


Doesn't work on my HTC One X (evita)

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 08:55

18. SellPhones82 (Posts: 472; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


Sideloading is your friend.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:55

8. Sesameopen (Posts: 105; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)


works on z30

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 17:56

9. cheeseycheeser (Posts: 373; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


It does and has worked fine on my GS3, but its lacks the widgets, options and a sense of continuity found with the stock experience on my phone. I dont like using it as much

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 18:10

10. smacsteve (Posts: 36; Member since: 16 May 2012)


I installed a version from a few weeks ago and it works great on my VZN Note3! I don't understand how it wouldn't work with the Galaxy S4?

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 20:22

13. bwhiting (Posts: 157; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)


I wish I could install in on my Droid Ultra without a side load of the launcher. That would of been a bit better or at least change the launcher of the droid launcher and let me keep the droid command center

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 01:38

16. 1701nino (Posts: 227; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


Just installed it yesterday on my nexus 4,finally,this is totally awesome.Woohoo and its tottaly different from stock kit kat before.

posted on 09 Mar 2014, 17:45

20. AJtheAndroid (Posts: 25; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


Not working on GN2

posted on 20 May 2014, 13:58

21. garlic456 (Posts: 149; Member since: 24 Dec 2012)


Works on Galaxy Beam (Jelly Bean version)

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