Google to Introduce new Gesture to replace Back Button with Android Q

Google to Introduce new Gesture to replace Back Button with Android Q

Date: 19 Feb 2019

Category: News

Gestures have become the new approach to interact with your smartphone since last year. The gestures are very intuitive and convenient to handle your smartphone in regular day-to-day use. These gestures are currently being implemented in pretty much every smartphone on Android, following the launch of the iPhone X – thanks to Apple. To embrace its Face ID technology, the Cupertino tech giant chose to ditch the Touch ID, which also acted as a Home Button to interact within the iOS. Well, that gave birth to the Gestures in iOS, which were later followed by all major Android OEMs.

Google had introduced its new gesture-based navigation with Android Pie and the supported devices. However, these gestures are currently being implemented in non-Android Pie running devices – thanks to the Android OEMs’ proprietary Operating Systems. Companies like OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi, Honor and all the other major brands in the market have implemented these gesture-based navigations in almost all the handsets released last year. As stated, Google has introduced these gestures with the Pixel devices launched last October, running on Android 9.0 Pie OS.

These gestures introduced by Google are a replacement to their standard three-button navigation system, which generally acts as – home button (center), Recent apps button (on the right), and the back button (on the left). The interaction through these navigation keys had been the standard approach on any Android smartphone including the Pixel 2/2 XL devices. After the Android Pie release, Google had terminated the recent apps button altogether and had stuck with a home and back button. These keys had a design overhaul and were gesture-based as well.

For those who are unaware (meaning still running their smartphones on operating systems prior to Android Pie OS and still using the standard three-button navigation keys) of these new gestures, here’s a gist about how they are being used. As for the interface, as stated Android Pie has a Home Button and a dedicated back button on all screens. Tapping on the re-designed home button takes you to the home screen and long pressing it activates the Google Assistant, which users might have been used to already.

With these new gestures – a user needs to swipe up and hold the button to get into the recent apps menu, or a short swipe can give you recent apps overview as well. After long swipe up, users can scroll through the recent apps through swiping on any app or screen you are in. Furthermore, quick sliding on the home button opens up the last app, which is being used. And, the standard back button almost does the same on any app – as the older Android three-button navigation keys do.

However, folks at XDA developers have discovered a new initial build of Google’s upcoming Android Q operating system, where it appears the Mountain View tech giant is ditching the dedicated back button as well. What this means is that similar to the iOS users who are on iPhone X and later, the Android users will most likely end up with a single button/home button on their respective smartphones after the Android Q update. The home button now becomes fully gesture-based and retains all the gestures introduced with Android Pie, but also adds a new gesture – sliding the home button to the left to act as a back button.

As of now, the home button can only function with right and up swipes to bring the recent apps and home screens. In the upcoming Android Q, users can now swipe left the home button to act as a back button. This new gesture is almost similar to what other Android OEMs like XIaomi have implemented in their devices running MIUI, where users need to swipe left/right on any screen to act as a back button.

Since this is a pre-released build of Android Q, this new gesture coming to life is yet unclear, but it appears Google is certainly giving a thought on more gesture-based navigations and to implement a single home button altogether. The report also suggests that Google’s first Android Q Developer Preview will most likely be coming soon, which also might be featuring a system-wide Dark mode as well. We have to wait until Google I/O 2019, which scheduled after a couple of months to what Google has to offer with its new Android Q operating system. Stay tuned to PhoneTena for more such interesting updates.