Android P DP2 Adds Context-Aware Gesture Navigation

Android P New System Navigation from Google Announce Google IO

This year’s Google I/O 2018 event saw the release of Android P’s second developer preview (DP2), with a ton of new features including new gesture controls. Specifically, those are the long-rumored gesture controls which see the home icon replaced and a new way to navigate the recent apps page. However, they also bring a couple of more subtle changes to the way interactions with an Android device occur. Although there is a chance that any of the changes delivered in the developer previews could be abandoned before the final release, that currently includes context-aware haptic feedback.

Breaking down this portion of the Android P DP2 software, the new feature works similarly to what was expected but offers a much wider range of options for navigating. It can also be turned off completely, for now, for those users who just can’t seem to get the hang of it. For starters, everything centers around a pill-shaped icon located where the home button used to be. That actually replaces the home button in function, as well, when tapped. A long-press on that, just as with the previous home button, summons up Google Assistant but that’s where the familiarity ends. A partial upward swipe on the new icon brings up the recent apps menu, which can then be navigated with subsequent left and right swipes. Swiping all the way up brings up the system’s app drawer. Meanwhile, a rapid swipe to the right swaps the current app for the most recently used one and holding it scrolls through a few of the previously used apps. Haptic feedback is given as the apps are scrolled through to make it easier to recognize which app is currently selected. Looking beyond that, there are two other contextual icons which only appear as needed, the first is an icon similar to the “back” icon that’s already in Android. That also functions the same way as the previous iteration but goes away when it isn’t needed, such as on the home screen. The rotation lock shortcut from the first developer preview has also stuck around for this update.

As already mentioned, it is always possible that some of the features won’t be present in the final version of Android P. However, it’s important to note that those that remain will almost certainly undergo changes before then irrespective of whether they make the cut. Having said that, as shown in the video below, the features already look very smooth and the design is relatively clean.