Update (May 9, 2:50 PM ET): The Nothing Launcher beta receives an update, making it available to more Android smartphones.
What you need to know
- Nothing Launcher is now available to download in beta via the Play Store.
- It is an early version of the Nothing phone (1)'s operating system called Nothing OS.
- After a limited launch, it's now available on all phones running Android 11 and higher.
Although the Nothing phone (1) is still a few months away, you can now experience its operating system with the beta release of Nothing Launcher on the Google Play Store.
Carl Pei's startup is previewing Nothing OS through its latest beta, which is now available for download if you want to get an early taste of its user interface. However, you won't be able to try it unless you own one of Google or Samsung's best Android phones, including the Galaxy S21 and S22 series phones, as well as the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 models. Support for OnePlus devices will arrive soon.
Nothing promised a near-stock Android experience when it teased the OS in March, and it's evident in the early beta despite its bare-bones appearance with limited functionalities. There are currently a few key features, but these are unlikely to be representative of the full experience when it becomes available to everyone.
After finishing the installation, you'll immediately see a Nothing-style widget for weather information as well as bespoke digital and analog clock widgets. Nothing's default icon pack is also visible all over the place.
However, the Nothing-themed wallpaper may not be as pleasing to the eye as it makes the status bar difficult to read and blurs out the icon labels.
The launcher also allows you to enlarge app icons and folders, almost making it feel like your current phone is a bit too limited in terms of customization.
The UI's overarching theme is, of course, Nothing's signature retro dots, as well as a combination of red, white, and black colors.
It's not quite up to par with the likes of Nova Launcher, though, when it comes to the customization level. But since the launcher is still in beta, Nothing will presumably improve what is otherwise a promising OS ahead of the Nothing phone (1) unveiling this summer.
Until then, the company wants to get your feedback in order to improve the experience. You can send suggestions for improvement by declaring your phone model and OS version, accompanied by screenshots or recordings, and submitting them via Nothing's Discord server.
Nothing announced a new update for its launcher on Monday. The update extends the Nothing Launcher beta to more users thanks to its expanded support for all Android phones running Android 11 or higher. The update now includes a "How to Set Up" page to help walk you through its features for users who open the launcher for the first time.
For those who have already downloaded the Nothing Launcher, you'll now notice a new pop-up box that lets you easily switch to the Nothing wallpaper. And in case the default wallpaper doesn't quite do it for you, Nothing provides access to a Dropbox folder with additional wallpapers and ringtones to download. Press and hold your home screen to access the launcher settings and navigate to Wallpaper & Style > Bonus content.
Visit the Play Store to download the new update.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.