With the release of the developer preview of Android O comes a shiny new version of the operating system. However, if you’re stuck on Marshmallow and want to get a taste of what is to come, you can. Via a version of the Android O launcher that came with the dev version. Here’s everything you need to know.

Android O Launcher APK
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Android O Launcher APK

Over on the XDA Developers community, there are people adept at providing new features for Android smartphones. As such now and then elements of future releases become available early, some which are intended exclusively for certain handsets. One such being the Pixel Launcher which is for Google’s Pixel handsets. However, thanks to some forward thinking developer you can now get a cut-down copy of it.

As an unofficial version of the Launcher, it has been provided by Android developer, linuxct. Developers like he/she love nothing more than to tinker with new software. It gives them the opportunity to see how the cutting-edge features work, giving them ideas for their own apps. If you’re a none developer device owner, this Android O launcher will allow you to test compatibility warts and all.

However, if you would prefer to get your hands on it, and experience a little of what’s coming you can.

Requirement

Called a Backport probably due to its unofficial nature? You can make use of the launcher on any Android device, be that smartphone or tablet. However, it must be running Marshmallow 6.0.1 or later to do so, if not we’re afraid you’re out of luck. Available via the XDA Developers forum here, you should also have the option to Install Apps from Unknown Sources enabled.

Getting A Taste

Now, if you are hoping for a fully-fledged Android O launcher experience, that’s not what is on offer. Yes, it’s nice and will give you a look and feel for what is coming, but it is lean. Meaning, it’s not the complete Pixel Launcher, although you can interact with it seeing gorgeous looking animations. What you have to remember is, this is a small part of the next Android experience. One that has been ripped out of the developer preview, and as such is limited compared to the official version.

Unfortunately, this version and its limited nature, is for those who want to see something now. It’s not meant to be a fully-fledged offering. Instead, it’s something that will enable Android O want to haves to take an early look.

To get it up and working, you’re going to have to sideload the APK file. For which the developer Linuxt shared some tips:

“First is that, since I signed the APK with my own key, you need to remove all previous versions to be able to install it. Placing it as a system app also enables you Google Now in the left panel.”

“Second is that most of the time, the first time you try to open the app it needs to generate a file called reflection.engine, which is required by Pixel Launcher. Since it doesn’t exist, the app forcefully exits. Give it one minute and try to open it, then it should be working. (and if not, a log would be awesome.”

And that’s it, we hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions please feel free to ask via the comments section below.