Google Pixel Adds New Long-Press Menu For App Shortcuts

Google Pixel XL AH NS 06

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world by a large margin. And like any great mobile operating system, it’s not just a scaled down version of a desktop OS. On tiny devices with tiny screens, users need different, more practical ways to interact with their devices. This is where things like the long-press come into play. The long-press is roughly the equivalent of a right-click on a desktop computer. Rather than just selecting the item in question, it presents the user with additional options, such as deleting a photo or copying and pasting text. In Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, the functionality of the long-press has been expanded even further.

On most Android devices, long pressing an app simply allows users to move the app shortcut around within their set of home screens. However, on Google’s Pixel devices, this action performs a different function; it gives users secondary, app-specific options. For example, long pressing the camera icon gives users quick shortcuts to take a video or a selfie, and long-pressing the Gmail icon presents an option to compose a message. This feature is currently not widely available among apps, with Foursquare being one of the few third-party apps that are supported. The long-press menu feature only works with Pixel devices at the time of this writing, but as more devices begin to update to Android 7.1 Nougat, developers will likely be more motivated to incorporate this functionality into their apps.

The Pixel and Pixel XL were released on October 20, 2016. The devices come with Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and pack a Snapdragon 821 processor, 32 GB of non-expendable internal storage, 4GB of RAM, and a camera that, per DxOmark, is the best smartphone camera on the market. The smaller Pixel sports a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 AMOLED display, while the larger Pixel XL’s 5.5-inch display has a resolution of 1440 x 2560. The devices were announced as “Verizon exclusives,” however, that simply means that Verizon is the only U.S. carrier selling the devices directly to consumers. Those on other carriers can purchase the devices unlocked from Google with the same financing options, and they can be purchased starting at $649 for the Pixel and $769 for the Pixel XL. For more info, see our full review.