One of the best features of the Nexus 5 — or any Google Play Edition device — is the Google Now Launcher, which is a stripped-down homescreen that puts Google Now an easy swipe to the left, and puts voice-activated commands a simple “Ok Google” away. On Friday, Google opened up the launcher to any Android device running Android 4.1 — which, according to the latest statistics, includes nearly 75 percent of them.
Although the app has been on Google Play for a few months, it had been restricted to a small number of devices running the latest stock version of Android. Now that it works on most modern Android devices, pretty much everyone has the option to have a stock Google home screen. Installing the launcher on a skinned version of Android, like what you find on Samsung devices, can make your phone feel more like it’s running Android the way Google intended. Because it’s been broken out from the main Android code, it also means Google can add new Google Now features more easily.
If you’ve got a device running Android 4.1 or up, you can grab the launcher from Google Play now.