Kevin Barry, the founder and developer of the popular Nova Launcher, has released tons of information about the new Nova Launcher 3.0 beta that we have an APK link to below. Also covered in this report is a brief that he posted to his Google+ page that tells us everything there is to know. I will go into detail about many of those points after the jump.
This update will be available to download and install from the app appearing on the Google Play Store. However, he has stated at the bottom of his post that times will vary for when it shows up depending on what part of the world you reside. For example, some people residing in Poland might not see the updated app until several hours later than people in the US.
As long as you are operating Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or above then you will have no problem installing this customized home-screen for your Android-based device. By default, your OS gives you a stock launcher, but with Android being an open source nature that it is, many developers have created custom launcher and Nova is arguably the best out of them all. Some people who have root find that their stock launcher crashes or no longer works. Adding a new option like Nova, can also make the device usable again for those people. Speaking of custom, if you like the look and style that AOSP brings to ROMs then you will love this here because it is based on the same design.
There is another Google+ page that Barry has made called Nova Launcher Beta and if you are signed up to Google+ social media you can add it to your circles and follow the latest news.
I included a screenshot that shows the new tabs. To me it looks metro that is in fashion right now. If you peruse around the web you will see many sites that have this metro-style design. The app icons look amazing also and keep the shape that the logo has instead of changing them to all has the same dimensions.
Being a beta release, we know that it is not a final product and there will be some bugs in it that need fixing. There may also be other aesthetic changes in the final version when it comes out. For now though this is something to feast your eyes on and remember to stay tuned for future releases by checking back to our page.
Keep reading to have some of the standout features explained in detail. The app drawer is the gateway to your apps and it, along with the desktop and dock now gives you the chance to use colors of your choice. Colors will be limited to the pallet they have given, but it still provides more flexibility than ever before. Most drawers are horizontal, but this app also comes with a vertical drawer. With the one that goes from top to bottom it will scroll under the transparent navigation bar. That feature gives it a more modern look.
One of the main reasons for the update was to make it better suited to Android KitKat software. In this version, we can now backup and restore using the KitKat documents from external SD card, Google Drive and Drop Box. While focused on getting new it has also gone back to some old school Honeycomb software with the search bar design.
Even though this is a Beta and likely to need fixes of its own, it also brings in fixes for other problems. The Bluetooth short from Samsung devices using Kitkat 4.4-4.4.2 had issues as did the Home button for people on the Verizon Motorola.
In the last 24 hours, Kevin has updated this app to beta 2 already after several users reported in with problems. One person on the Google+ page said that he was having problems with the icons in half grid and another man says he can only change the icon sizes in Dock. However, Kevin states that this fix is purely for fixing of the isolated tabs and another fix brought in to fix the slowness associated with drag and drop with grid sizes. It is what I mean by bugs are going to be there and to judge by the people’s responses we are still going to be seeing more updates in quick succession.
Subgrid Positioning allows a lot of possibilities. We all want lots of control over our desktop, but using big grids to carefully layout widgets makes icons awkward, and grid less launchers are often unwieldy. Subgrid allows much greater control without the negatives. Along with the toggle for widget padding, there are a lot of new possibilities to layout widgets.
Nova Launcher has evolved considerably since I started it in November of 2011. I’ve mostly avoided removing settings or making changes that conflict with previously possible configurations. However this adds a level of complexity to updates and there have been some features that were barely used since their introduction that need pruning. I don’t believe many users will object to these changes, but I do apologize to those that don’t like the changes.
• Tab configuration is a bit stricter. Previously it was possible to remove the All Apps tabs (in which case newly installed Apps would be inaccessible) or add multiple All Apps or Widgets tabs (duplicating content). Now one and only one All Apps tab is required, and zero or one Widgets tab can be used. These tabs can be renamed and recolored. Unlimited App Group tabs can be added as always.
• All Apps tab dropdown menu no longer includes filters for New/Downloaded
• The dropdown menu indicator has been removed from the tabs, though the menu still exists (with some modification)
• Persistent Search Bar is either enabled or disabled, the landscape only option has been removed
• Persistent Search Bar style is consistent between landscape and portrait
• Icons are now centered vertically in their cells, rather than being top aligned
• Phone landscape mode fills available space horizontally, rather than reserving space for the search bar/dock even if those elements were hidden.
• Honeycomb style search bar no longer includes the menu button (which was not authentic to honeycomb anyway)
Download the APK here.