Now that Google has released the final beta version of Android Q, the company is now taking pains to make a case for why it switched to gesture based navigation in the new version of Android. And that is when Google admits that most users still prefer the three key navigation bar, that was common in Android phones all along. That meant singe touch on the navigation bar at the bottom of your Android smartphone display to go back, to open the app drawer or return to home and to open the recent app cards. But clearly, a big change is on the way for Android phones.
“By moving to a gesture model for system navigation, we can provide more of the screen to apps to enable a more immersive experience,” says Google in the Android Developers Blog.
There is no argument that gestures can be faster and perhaps a more natural way to navigate the interface on your phone and can also be more immersive and less prone to accidental touches. That is something we have seen with the Apple iPhones, since the iPhone X in 2017. However, the big stumbling block is that gestures provide a steep learning curve, may not work for all users and may not be ideal for a few apps too. “A unique element of Android navigation since the very beginning is the Back button. It is appreciated by many users that find Android easier to navigate and learn,” says Google.
Till now, Android phone makers usually tend to provide users with the option to use gestures as well, but remember, that was their implementation of the idea and not the official Google way. Alternatively, we guess most users decided to stick to the conventional navigation bar, purely for the simplicity and familiarity.
“But most of all, we realized that there was a larger issue of fragmentation when different Android phones had different gestures, especially for Android developers,” says Google.
Over the last year, Google confirms it worked with phone makers including Samsung, Xiaomi, HMD Global, OPPO, OnePlus, LG and Motorola in an effort to standardize gesture navigation. Whether that worked or not doesn’t matter anymore, because the upcoming Android Q gestures will be the default navigation method.
And this may be good news for you. “Three-button navigation will continue to be an option on every Android device,” confirms Google.