After only 8 days of waiting, legendary software house TeslaCoil has released their Nova 5.0 Beta7 update bringing along with it the new Android 7.1 app shortcuts, and what’s better the shortcuts for ‘some’ apps have been backported to Android 5.1 and 6.0. That’s right, if you want the latest of Google but don’t have the money to pay the exorbitant price for the Pixels, then Nova has you covered.

Unsurprisingly, Nova’s implementation of the feature is arguably better than Google’s, this is after all why Nova Launcher is one of the top two launchers on the Play Store. Why is it better? With the Pixel Launcher, you get an inconsistent response from apps depending on if they support 7.1 app shortcuts when they do you get the new 7.1 pop-up “long press” menu when they don’t you enter the desktop manager mode where you can move icons, add widgets change the wallpaper etc, that’s inconsistent and a little jarring.

As you can see above with Nova launcher you get a similar UI for both apps that do and do not support app shortcuts. For apps that do support shortcuts, you get the 7.1 app shortcut menu, plus an option for ‘Icon Options’, tap that option and you’ll progress through to the additional management options that Nova gives you. On unsupported apps, you launch straight into the “Nova menu”. Overall a more consistent and more powerful implementation.

That’s not all the Android 7.1 goodness that developer Kevin Barry has crammed into this beta. Nova also has added the ability to add the weather into the search bar to give you a more Pixel Launcher look and feel, and of course because it’s Nova you can customise it 3 ways to Sunday. For the search bar, you can now customise the type of bar, the look of the logo and what ‘content’ (only weather at this stage) can be displayed with it, I wonder what else the developer may add?

[Update] not even 24 hours latter and Kevin has already added temperature localisation in, or in English it now displays temperature in Celsius .

You may have noticed one little issue, I can’t seem to find a way to set the weather to centigrade, our guess is that was a minor oversite, in a Beta release, and will be addressed in a future update. However, if that’s the only issue then I’m a happy paying customer.

If you’re not a Nova Beta tester and you just can’t wait for this to hit the mainstream then we have an exclusive link for you, it’s only open to anyone who reads Barrys post :). Just click on through and sign up to be a Beta tester and start enjoying all the Nova goodness. Remember if you want the full experience you’ll want to plonk down the $5.99 for the full Nova Prime experience, and trust me you want it!

Nova Launcher
Nova Launcher
Developer: Nova Launcher
Price: Free

What do you want to see Nova launcher introduce next? Let us know below.

Source: +Kevin Barry.
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I’ve been a Nova Prime user for years. Well worth the asking price. Great work top get these new features out so quickly!

Alex Kelly

Awesome work, been running this launcher for years now..

Dennis Bareis

I want them to fix/implement search bar in widget draw, option only shows/works in app draw.

Ideally they would listen to customers and implement a better unlock desktop mechanism or more specifically better relock options. A trash can or undo stack wouldn’t hurt either.