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Nova Launcher Beta adds Android O style notification dots, but Dynamic Badges are better

Notification badges have made huge strides on Nova Launcher in the last few months. We got Dynamic Badges to replace the hum-drum numeric badges back in March, and now, Nova is letting us downsize our badges and try out the more simplistic Android O-style dots in its latest beta update. And while I'm all for bringing the latest Android goodies to older versions, this is one bit of O-ey goodness I will be skipping.

Android O dots are, well... they're boring. They're uninformative. If you're using a white or black icon pack, they're also these ugly, bland gray dots. I understand everyone wanting to try out something from Android O, I really do, and I commend the Nova Launcher team on getting this cranked out so quickly, but... Dynamic Badges are just better. They can add pops of color from the notification images they pull in, and if they can't get one of those, at least they use the app's colors instead of pulling a color to match your icon pack, thus making the dots blend in with your app icons, especially in the app drawer.

Of course, in Android O, notification dots are more than just badges, but shortcuts to actioning notifications from the icon itself with a long press. This won't be possible in Nova Launcher until Android O is released later this summer, but it's a nice preview of what's to come.

If you're excited to try the dots in Nova Launcher beta, feel free to opt-in (opens in new tab) and try them out. After you do, I only ask that you try Dynamic and see if the Nova way is better for your home screen. It's most certainly better for mine.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

  • What I don't like about the dynamic badges in Nova is that once you clear the notification from the notification shade the badge is removed from the icon. I like to clear the notification but still want the reminder that something needs my attention on the icon itself.
  • I agree with you.
  • Badges are remnants of notifications so it actually makes sense.
  • So this will be nice for chat apps like WhatsApp where notifications are lumped together and you have to open it to see who's messaging you? Will this allow me to long press the WhatsApp icon and select which person's chat to open?
  • That's exactly why I use dynamic badges. I can tell who messaged me or which of my groups are active simply from their icon showing up as a notification.
  • I think I will stick with Tesla Unread.
  • Dynamic badges... you guys know the iPhone crowd will finally have something tel brag about since they've had this for like... 10 years... We Android users have put in their collective faces all the things we've had first.. this is going to hurt. Oh and also, I've had this on my LG phone fresh out the box.
  • iPhone doesn't have dynamic badges – they have numeric badges. Dynamic badges show whatever avatar you have set for the contact that the notification is from (ie, you get a text from your mom, what ever picture you have set for your mom in your contacts shows on the message app icon). This is in place of the numeric badge.
  • That's very cool then but what happens if I have text messages from 4 peoples at the same time? Will it show a 4?
  • Yes it shows all 4 contact photos in a circle like pie grid. As best as I can describe it..
  • It's pretty cool to see.
  • "We Android user's have to put in their collective faces..." I will skip the childishness, personally.
  • It's still early, I'm sure dynamic badges will mature with Android O.
  • I love the Dynamic Badges so I guess I won't be bothering with this. If Tesla can't make the notification thing compatible on older android version like they did with quick shortcut then I say just scrap this one from Nova.
  • Nothing comes close to the Launcher on the S8.
  • Nova is by far better than any Touchwiz
  • The S8 is the first time I didn't automatically use Nova. The launcher really just needs a few things to make it close now. But since Nova now supports Samsung themes I switched back to it.
  • Why are dynamic badges so great? I tried them, but all they did was add a little icon as a badge instead of the more useful number. The icon didn't seem to have any information about the notification. What am I missing here?
  • The dots? Eh, ok... The dynamic badges? I can roll with them. A brilliant idea I might add. But those customizable number badges? That's what's hot 🔥!
  • Nova launcher is always one step ahead of his rivals.
    Hands down the best launcher.