Google has recently launched Android 9 Pie and with it comes a range of features that are sure to make any smartphone fan excited. What is really interesting is what will be in the pipeline for future Android handsets and namely, Google’s upcoming flagship, the Pixel 3. As per a report by Android Central, Google’s UX manager EK Chung spoke to them about some of the features of Android Pie and the Pixel 3 will feature gestures as the primary default navigation system and not the traditional three buttons that have been present on Android.
The report states that the new gesture navigation is more than just moving from the three buttons to either one or two. This helps in signalling the reduction in the significance of the canonical home screen and in the process shifting to an interface that helps in streamlining the process of switching between apps.
Speaking on the design, EK Chung said, “When we look at the whole operating system, being able to switch between multiple tasks or apps is the fundamental function." He adds that the mission here was ‘simplicity’ and that it had become important to change the home screen experience to better focus on getting people to navigate between apps and tasks rather than send them back to the home screen every time.
He goes on to add, “This new design essentially merged the launcher functionality and switching functionality together into one swipe up ... we intentionally detached the bottom layer from the launcher to make it accessible from anywhere, even within an app." Elaborating on this point, when the gesture navigation is enabled, one is able to swipe up and access the app drawer and Google search box at any time even if one is in an app.
However, it should be noted that just because Google has now introduced its own gesture system, it doesn’t mean that OEM will employ it. Smartphone manufacturers are still free to sell their handsets with the three button navigation system or use their own gestures like OnePlus or Motorola does.