The Pixel smartphones come with the Pixel launcher, which is exclusively available for the Google smartphones. However, the Rootless Pixel Launcher app is one of the best alternative options available for experiencing Pixel like software on any other Android smartphone. The launcher is now officially available on the Play Store. It pairs up with the Pixel Bridge companion app that enables a host of features for it. The launcher is based on Android’s open source Launcher3 and as the name suggests, no root permission is required for the Rootless Pixel launcher app to work.
The app is still available on Github, along with its Android Go version but users now have the option of installing it officially via the Play Store. After installation, the launcher adds a bottom search bar to the home screen, along with support for adaptive icon packs, wallpaper based theme selection, icon shape selection and more. However, users will be prompted to also install the Rootless Pixel Bridge app that enables Google Now Feed, event and traffic information notifications. It also enables the “At A Glance” feature for weather updates on non-pixel smartphones. The Rootless Launcher is based on Android 8.0 Oreo and there is also the possibility of it supporting Android 9 Pie when it's officially launched.
The Rootless Pixel launcher’s UI is nearly identical and it’s as close as one can get to the stock Pixel launcher. One will be able to access the app drawer by swiping up on from the bottom and ‘app suggestions’ are also at the top. The launcher is compatible with devices running Android 5.0 and above. You can download the app from the Play Store here and check out its Github page here.
An earlier report tipped that Google is testing a new version of the Pixel launcher, which could debut with the Pixel 3 series of devices. The key change in the new version is reportedly the replacement of Google Voice Search option in the Google Search bar with the Google Assistant icon. Additionally, the Google Assistant icon is said to remain even when one selects Alexa as the default smart assistant on their device. Pixel launcher is only available for Google Pixel and Android One certified devices. The new launcher version was found in the official Android Pie image for Android Studio Emulator.