News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday February 26, 2014.
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The home screen on the Google Nexus 5 was the first to introduce larger icons and swipe gesture to get directly to Google Now from the launcher. Now that same launcher is available on more devices following Google's idea to expand to Nexus and Google Play Edition smartphones. The update went live today, which should make any Nexus or GPE device running at least Android 4.4 capable of running the phone or tablet launcher.
Google's reluctance to open up its launcher to all users is somewhat disappointing considering that so many people wish to use the app. Google's inclusion of other apps like its keyboard and have made it feasible to replace some of the elements of non-Nexus phones with other features that users might enjoy, so it would have been nice to be able to have the Google experience to launch apps. It certainly wouldn't have hurt to be able to say "OK, Google" from anywhere on the home screen and trigger a voice search. Perhaps Google believes that enough people interested in the Google Now Launcher happen to be the people who also own Google experience devices.
If you have a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Google Play Edition of the Samsung Galaxy S 4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and LG G Pad 8.3, head over to Google Play to download the new app launcher.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.