The Gmail Android app has been updated to version 7.11, bringing a light navbar to help with burn-in issues on some devices, along with a new shortcut menu that makes it easy to jump over to Google's Contacts and Calendar apps. The new navigation bar should take effect on any compatible device without the user having to do anything. For the time being, it looks like only the Pixel and Pixel 2 devices running the Android 8.1 (Oreo) developer preview have this option available. There is no option in the settings to change it. The new shortcut menu, meanwhile, is accessible from the left-hand hamburger menu on compatible devices. This writer's Moto Z2 Force running stock Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) did not receive the feature, but another member of the Android Headlines team with a Pixel running Android Oreo was able to provide the screenshot below, which shows both the lighter navigation bar and the shortcut menu.
Whereas recent updates have focused on bringing new capabilities to Gmail, such as the ability to undo deleting an email or manage your Google account from the app, this update is all about better integrating Gmail with other productivity solutions in the Google family that the app is typically used in conjunction with. This is also a maintenance release, making the app a bit more device-friendly. The new navigation bar is mostly targeted at Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices, which have been reported to have some problems with screen burn-in lately. The navigation bar is one of the most common culprits of burn-in on any phone, so changing the navigation bar in certain apps or changing to a lighter-colored one at all times will help in that regard.
Gmail, like many other Google apps, has been subjected to a large number of small updates lately that bring tiny changes that make the app just a bit easier to use. Productivity apps such as Gmail and Drive have been uniquely targeted due to Google's recent push to get Android and Chrome OS a bigger market share in the enterprise world. Consumer-facing versions of Google's productivity apps have still played second best to their G Suite counterparts, which receive exclusive updates to help with management and ease of use in a business environment.