Android Q Beta 5 is currently rolling out for all Google Pixel phones, and it has introduced some beefy changes to the way gesture navigation works for the mobile operating system.
We are getting close to Android Q’s first stable release,and this is the first of two different release candidate builds before the public get their hands on it. Android Q’s Beta 4 finalised developer APIs, and from here it’s largely refinements, with the bare minimum of outward facing changes.
However, this change to gesture navigation will likely be fairly noticeable, with big changes for user experience.
Google has added a swipe gesture, usable from either bottom corner, that will activate Google Assistant. There’s also a new “peek” feature, that lets you tap the edge of the display, at which point a navigation drawer appears, which can be dragged out. You can see it in action in the gif from the below tweet and it looks pretty swish.
Related: Best Android Phones
At Google I/O, Google outlined their plans to work on a standardised gesture navigation model for Android. Gestural navigation should let apps use the entire screen for content, with you only having to pull up on-screen navigation if you need it.
Google claim that they will continue to improve and polish gestural navigation based on feedback, and we’ll probably see a couple more tweaks with the next beta before the public Android release. It will be interesting to see how well it adapts to the wide range of different devices that run on Android, giving people the same experience no matter what device they are tapping and swiping on.
You can read up a little more on the Android development blog, which is primarily for developers that are looking to adapt their apps for Android’s latest beta, but you can read it to get a sense of the thinking of the Android team, and their long term strategies.