How To Video
Get the Android KitKat launcher nowCan't wait to get Android KitKat on your older Android device? Here's how to get the home screen launcher now.
The Google Nexus 5 is one of the coolest kids on the block right now, especially since it comes with the KitKat version of Android out of the box. But just because you have an older phone doesn't mean you can't get the look and feel of KitKat right now. I'm Donald Bell, and today I'm gonna show you how to put a little KitKat in your Ice Cream Sandwich. Now, the first thing you'll notice about KitKat is the clean look of the new home-screen launcher. Compared to the look of Android 4.1 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, it's a huge change and one that I am ready for. Thankfully, the XDA Developers Forum has the APK files you'll need to install this new launcher. You can find the link of the forum on the original CNET post for this video or on our interactive player. The launcher comes as a zip archive containing three APK files. My advice is to download these to your computer for now. Now, while those download make sure that your phone is ready to use these files. First, you'll need to be running Android 4.1 or later. You can check that by going under settings and then clicking the About Device option. Next, you'll need to make sure that your phone is able to install software from unknown sources. Back out into the settings menu, select Security, and check the box for Unknown Sources. Now, let me take a minute right now to say that you should always back-up your phone whenever you're gonna get to tinkering like this. Worst case scenario, if this thing gets bricked, I don't want you emailing me with sob stories of losing your precious pictures of your newborn baby. Back it up, my conscience is clear. All right, now, going back to your computer, open the zip file you've downloaded and you should see three separate APK files. My advice is to send each one of these in a separate email to yourself using the account that you can check on your phone. Once you've done that, refresh your email on your phone and you should see the three APK files as individual attachments. The first one to install is pre-built GMS core, tap it, install it, and hit done. Next, install the Velvet APK, then hit done. Finally, install the Google Home APK, and then hit open-- with any luck, you should see the introduction to the new Google launcher. Now, a couple things to note here-- first, to change the wallpaper, configure home-screens or add widgets, now you're gonna tap and hold on the home-screen. You'll also see a settings option here that is specific to Google Now. If it's not already activated, this is a good time to do it. Once this on, swiping all the way to the right will reveal your Google Now cards. And that's all there is to it. Head over to howto.cnet.com and you can find even more tutorials on KitKat including how to install the new keyboard on your older phone or even just where to download the new wallpaper for that Android 2.3 tablet I told you not to buy. I'm Donald Bell for CNET, breaking off a piece of that KitKat.