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(Pocket-lint) - There's been no shortage of leaks surrounding Google's forthcoming smartphones, the latest of which have named them as the Pixel and the Pixel XL, rather than Nexus.

The thinking is that the Nexus programme is going to come to a halt, with Pixel taking over, and following the lines of the Pixel C tablet that launched in 2015.

One of the strange things that's happened in 2016 is the release of the latest version of Android - 7.0 Nougat - a long time before the launch of new devices to showcase it. In previous years, Nexus phones have be the debut of the new software.

The narrative goes that Google's new phones will launch with Android 7.1 Nougat instead, bringing in a few points of differentiation from for the rest of the devices out there. 

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One of the key elements will be a new launcher. In the past, Nexus devices have launched with the Google Now Launcher, but now we're looking at a new Pixel Launcher, which has just been leaked online by @LlabTooFeR, a reliable Twitter source.

The Pixel Launcher originally leaked with the name "Nexus Launcher" and the change of name backs up the line of thinking that the new devices will be called Pixel, which neatly clears up that point of query. 

The new Pixel Launcher changes the layout slightly, although it's still about dropping widgets and folders on your home page. The Google quick search bar becomes a button, opening search with a tap and the old apps tray button that sat central, is now replaced with a swipe action, which is pretty slick. It also offers rotation, so can be used in landscape as well as portrait, which not all launchers offer.

There's a slight tweak to accessing Google Now and changing the wallpapers, although on these early leaks things don't quite work as cleanly as we'd expect the final release version to.

For those worrying about whether they'll be able to get this launcher officially, we would expect Google to make it available through Google Play following the launch of the new Pixel handsets, which we think is on 4 October. 

Writing by Chris Hall.