Earlier this week, the Big G surprised everyone by displaying a certain green robot holding a spongy, sweet treat outside its Mountain View, California headquarters. Just like that, Android fans all over the world finally came to know that Google's upcoming Android M software will be called "Android 6.0 Marshmallow."
However, the tech behemoth is not ready to spread the goods yet. It has just released a third Android 6.0 developer preview so developers can test it out on the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9. That is also the final preview so the next release will have to be the actual Android Marshmallow OS intended for all users. But then, it would most likely take months before manufacturers and carriers send it out to their users or subscribers.
For those who can't bear the long wait, here is some good news. One resourceful developer took to Reddit to share a Google Now Launcher file modified to deliver design elements found on the soon-to-be released firmware.
With this launcher, non-Nexus owners may now enjoy, to some extent, what Marshmallow has to offer. The dev labelled the APK installer as version "1.2.large" and apparently made it out of the Android M preview that Google has just distributed.
Meanwhile, we have to warn those who would like to install it that it will not deliver new features to their devices. It does not have the vertically arranged app drawer or the "Google Now On Tap" feature that the company has promised to come with Android 6.0.
Understandably, those perks will only arrive once Marshmallow is ready for public consumption. But for Android users who only want their devices to experience the unadulterated aesthetics of Android M, then they're free to try this out.
As this Marshmallow-inspired Google Now Launcher comes from a preview version, we should also expect that there will be inevitable bugs and small glitches. If that is a problem, especially for users who only have one handset, then they might want to think this through before installing the launcher.
Otherwise, for those who can live with a little bug here and there, the Google Now Launcher Marshmallow mod can now be downloaded from this Reddit source link. The file is less than 15MB and is compatible with models running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above-which are practically all Android devices currently in use, except for those whose units are three years old or so.
Furthermore, it can be only be installed once users change some settings beforehand. The default Android setting does not allow the installation of apps outside the Play Store, so they should head to Settings > Security > Unknown Sources and enable the option to install apps from third-party sources.