Google is testing a new navigation bar for Android P that looks similar to Apples new gesture and UI on the iPhone X. Google accidentally revealed the new navigation bar in an Android developers blog post ( cached copy), and the company removed a screenshot it posted of it in action. The new navigation bar no longer includes a multitasking button, and the center home button looks far smaller and pill-shaped. 9to5Google reports that Google is testing a new navigation bar thats similar to the iPhone X, with a swipe up gesture that reveals the multitasking UI. Its not clear if the pill-like button, that looks similar to the one found on a leaked Moto X5 image, still works as a button, or is simply an identifier to swipe up for home like the iPhone X. Google appears to still be including its back button control too, although 9to5Google reports that this only appears in the context when a back button is required. Google is only testing this navigation bar right now, and the company has previously tested other navigation bar changes in past Android versions without ever shipping them. Still, Google is fully supporting screen notches like the iPhone X or Essential Phone with its Android P update, and a new gesture-powered navigation bar would certainly make it easier for Android developers to make better use of bezel-less displays. Were expecting to hear a lot more about Android P at Googles I/O developer conference next month.
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.