Android N

Android N to Add Pressure Sensitive Touch Feature?

April 15, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

The smartphone industry has, for a few years now, been churning out devices that mostly offer the same sort of software and functionality, but differ slightly here and there. Where Android devices are concerned, manufacturers have been focusing on much better camera experiences as well as new hardware like the Edge displays from Samsung – and now Chinese manufacturers, too. For Apple however, they chose to differentiate their new iPhone 6S line of devices with “3D Touch”, a pressure sensitive feature that changes what’s displayed on the display depending on how hard someone presses on their display. You could consider this a sort of right-click for smartphones, and while Huawei have dabbled with the technology, it looks like Google is baking it into their next version of Android.

A new feature for dynamic shortcuts in the launcher code for Android N has recently been discovered by Phandroid and while the new APIs don’t sound like much, they consulted the Nova Launcher developer, Kevin Barry, for some help. Kevin tried to get the new features to launch, but couldn’t do so, leading many to believe that these new dynamic shortcuts aren’t your everyday feature, and will rely on a pressure sensitive trigger to work. This would more than likely be a pressure sensitive display that can respond to firmer or lighter “pushes” on a smartphone touchscreen.

Right now, this is just speculation, but it wouldn’t surprise us if Google did at least put the foundation of support for this emerging hardware into their next version of Android. They were late to the party with fingerprint scanners, not adding in official support until the 2015 release of Marshmallow, and as Huawei – the manufacturer responsible for the Nexus 6P – has been working on the technology for some time, it might not be too difficult for them to do. Currently, Android N is in its second phase of its developer preview, and there have already been a number of new tweaks and changes, including a somewhat divisive change to the appearance of folders. Android N is set to launch later this year, and we should be able to get a closer look at just what Google has in store for the final release as more versions of the preview are let loose.