Everyone likes new, fresh ideas and looks. The latest Pixel phones by Google running Pixel Launcher have great new features and a cleaner look to the home screen. But what if getting a new phone right now isn’t possible for you?
One way to get some of the new features of Android Oreo is to install a launcher such as Action Launcher by Chris Lacy. It mimics the new features in Android Oreo with Pixel 2 and creates a similar user experience without purchasing a new phone or rooting your current one.
These are some of the features you can get without the upgrade.
Notification Badges and Previews
Notification badges or dots on an Android Oreo launcher display a small dot in the corner of the app icon to let you know that you have a notification. The badges match the colors of the icon and give it a more sophisticated look.
To activate notification dots in Action Launcher, go to the Settings menu and choose “Icon Appearance & App Shortcuts.” You can set the colors for notification indicators to the automatic colors like in Android Oreo by selecting the first option, “Icon.” Then it will look like it does on Oreo.
Another new feature for notifications in Android Oreo is Notification Previews. When an app shows a notification badge, long-pressing it will activate a preview of the notification. It’s just a snippet of the information indicating the sender and titles. If you tap on the preview, it will open the app, and you can take action on the notification. In Action Launcher, this works the same way.
You can see that Action Launcher can mimic Oreo with a glance at the screen. There is more flexibility and consistency with the look of the icons because of the use of the adaptive icons. Adaptive Icons are a new way of formatting your app icons so that you can change them into a variety of shapes. It creates more uniformity in the appearance of the icons. So on your phone there will be a consistent shape to your Google icons, Samsung apps, and third-party icons. Adaptive icons are unfortunately an extra cost.
At a Glance Widget
In the Android Oreo launcher, Google introduces a new top-of-the-screen “At a Glance” widget. This transparent widget displays the date, current weather, calendar items, and traffic information. Action Launcher has this same widget where you can quickly see the date and the weather. Long-press on the widget, and you can set up your preferences and integrate information from your calendar. In Action Launcher you can move this widget anywhere on your page, but in Oreo it is in a set position.
Google Now, which has gone by many different names over the years, displays different cards of information that may be useful or interesting to you. This program is operative by default on Android Oreo phones. If you want to have it on Action Launcher, go to “Settings -> Desktop” and activate the Google Now Integration. Installing Google Now will disable the “Quickdrawer” on Action Launcher (a condensed alphabetical list of your apps), and you can open Google Now by swiping from the left side of your screen.
The shutters on Action Launcher work like Android Oreo to allow you to use widgets without cluttering your home screen. Widgets often take up a great deal of space, but with shutters, you only need one slot, the one for your icon.
For example, on my home screen the icons have a small square in the bottom-right. The square indicates that there is a widget available.
Touch the icon and swipe up to see the choices for the widget. Then the next time you swipe up from the app, the widget will appear. You can change the widget the shutter uses by swiping up and tapping the three dots in the bottom-right corner of the shutter.
Since you may have to wait for a while to get the newest Android update pushed to your phone, and some phones won’t be getting it at all, using a third-party app like Action Launcher can be a pretty good substitute.
Once you have set it up, your phone will have a very similar look and feel to the most recent version of Android. It will also make a smooth transition into Oreo when you receive the update or purchase a new phone.
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