As you might have heard, earlier this year, Google placed their Google Now launcher in the Google Play Store, but unfortunately the download was pretty much only available to Nexus owners and those who have Google Play Edition devices. This meant that if you had non-Nexus or non-GPE handset, you’d be out of luck.
Interestingly enough, it seems that Google could be relaxing on those rules as ZTE has announced that they will be preloading the Google Now launcher on some of their upcoming phones, namely the ZTE Blade Vec 4G and another ZTE premium device which the company will be officially announcing in Hong Kong on the 24th of July.
As for the ZTE Blade Vec 4G, the handset was launched in markets like Europe and China so we’re not sure how current owners will receive the launcher. Perhaps the option to download it will be unlocked on the 24th of July, but either way do check back with us then for the details. That being said, ZTE’s preloading of the Google Now launcher would mark them as the first OEM (non-Nexus and non-GPE) to offer Google Now out of the box.
Perhaps Google will soon begin offering Google Now launchers to other OEMs who might prefer a more stock experience on their handsets, or at least open up the download to users who would want to lose the heavily modified launchers typically found on smartphones, but in the meantime it looks like ZTE has beat everyone to the punch.