Google has finally announced the availability of Android P and with it comes the name Android 9 Pie. The Android 9 Pie is being released to all Google Pixel smartphones right now and other OEMs are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks. One major change with Android P is the switch from on-screen navigation button to gesture-based navigation.
At the time of the release of Android P beta, this gesture-based interface did not seem polished and Google even changed the UI multiple times. Now that Google has finalized the interface for Android 9 Pie, it seems to be going one further to push it across the spectrum. A new report states that Google is planning to ditch the software navigation buttons and only use gesture interface for its next-generation Pixel smartphone.
On Pixel smartphones, Google has implemented its vision for gesture navigation where the traditional home, back and recent menu is replaced by a Gesture pill. Google is retaining the back button but it only shows up within apps and is not universally available. In order to enter multitasking screen, you need to pull up the gesture pill and switch between apps by sliding the pill. A quick slide will let you switch between two of the most recently used applications.
So far, the response to Google’s navigation interface has been mixed with some liking the new pill-shaped interface while others finding it half-baked for a modern operating system. To be clear, the best implementation of gesture-based interface can be seen on Apple iPhone X which has deeper integration than the one seen on Pixel devices running Android 9 Pie. Google Pixel users do have an option to disable the gesture interface and move back to navigation buttons. However, that option might not be available on upcoming Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones.
Watch: How to install Android P on a non-Pixel device
EK Chung, the UX manager for Android told Android Central that Google will make Gestures the primary method of system navigation for the third generation of Pixel devices. Chung suggests that first and second generation Pixel devices will have option but Pixel 3 users will have to rely on gestures for navigation. By enforcing gesture interface on its users, Google might be able to get more users acquainted with the interface but it will need to make sure that gestures are flawless and better integrated with the device.