Google appears to have just leaked a major feature coming to Android P, the next version of its OS. According to an image that appeared briefly on the Android Developers blog for an unrelated feature, Android P will come with support for gestured based navigation – and its about time. This is the image Google posted: Notice anything odd? Look at the navigation bar: Heres what it normally looks like on a Pixel 2 running Android O (or the current Android P beta, for that matter): Where did the recents button go? Why is the back button using the old hollow design? And who squished the home button into a pill? While Id like to think Googles Android Team got drunk and experimented with wacky designs, all signs point that gesture navigation is – at the very least – being considered for Android P. According to Stephan Hall from 9to5Google (h/t ArsTechnica), its 100% gesture navigation. The recents button was removed, and the back button only appears temporarily – explaining the lopsided look. And as pointed out by Ars, Android P has a new sliding animation when navigating within an app, which would jive nicely with swiping gestures. That seems like it would make a disappearing back button redundant, but maybe Google just doesnt want to confuse long-time Android users. Google has since removed the evidence, cropping the image to only show off the feature it actually meant to show off. Since we dont want whomever wrote uploaded the image to feel too guilty , thats support for DNS over TLS, if that means anything to you. Though a variety of Android manufacturers have implemented navigation gestures over the years, Google might be considering the move in stock Android in response to the iPhone X and ever-shrinking bezels. In theory, gesture-based navigation could allow you to shrink the navigation bar and save some screen real estate, although that doesnt appear to be the case in this particular image. Its worth reiterating this might not necessarily make it into the final version of Android P; just look at Dark Mode. Nor am I convinced it should replace the traditional navigation bar. But as someone whos been fond of gesture navigation since the Palm Pre, Id be happy to see it return as an optional configuration. With Google I/O coming up in a few weeks, it likely wont be long until this mystery is resolved. DNS over TLS support in Android P Developer Previewon Android Developers
This is on top of screen notch support. It's well-established that Android P will support notched displays when it arrives later in the year. However, that might not be the only iPhone X-like feature in the finished release. The 9to5Google team has noticed that a Google developer blog post briefly included an Android P screenshot (below) with a very different set of navigation buttons. Instead of the usual three buttons (back, home and multitasking) that have been present for years, the OS includes just a back button and an iPhone X-style strip. The image doesn't include hints as to functionality, but 9to5Google had previously heard through a source that Google was testing a nav bar where an upward swipe would trigger multitasking, similar to the iPhone X. The back button would also disappear whenever it's not in use, such as when you're visiting the home screen. We wouldn't bet money on this feature surviving in later releases. Google experiments with features that might be cut or modified by the time a new Android version reaches your hands. It's entirely plausible, however, that Google would show this off between its I/O conference in May and the eventual launch later in 2018. Tall-screened phones are becoming commonplace, and Google might want a clutter-free interface to match. An introduction at I/O would give app developers time to adapt to the change.