I’ve been an Android user for majority of the time since I started using smartphones. A few of my friends have been Apple iPhone users right from iPhone 4 days, and have never switched to Android since then. With the iPhone 6s-series and above, Apple introduced a ‘revolutionary’ 3D Touch feature to interact with apps. And since then, my friends have been harping about the same, and how such a cool feature is not available on Android. Turns out, I don’t need to splurge money on an expensive iPhone to get 3D Touch.
What exactly is 3D Touch? Well, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7-series smartphones come with a pressure sensitive display that can recognize between a tap, a press and a hard-press. So, a single tap on the app icon opens the app, a light tap-and-hold will open a preview of a message or email, whereas a hard press will open the photo or email or notification. So, if you get a text or an email, or an instant message on WhatsApp, you can check them without having to open the app.
Sure, 3D Touch sounds interesting right? Thanks to Google and its software implementation, you don’t need an iPhone with pressure sensitive display to use 3D Touch feature. In Android 7.1.1 Nougat, Google introduced ‘App Shortcuts’ that work just like 3D Touch. The feature was introduced with Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, and it practically works with any smartphone running on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. So, whether you have an affordable, mid-range or premium Android smartphone, you will be able to enjoy 3D Touch on all these devices, without needing a pressure sensitive display. ALSO READ: Google Photos now lets you keep your nudes safe, here’s how
While Android 7.1.1 update its yet to make its way on most Android smartphones, I did install a couple of custom ROMs on my premium HTC One M8 and an affordable Lenovo ZUK Z1 smartphones. And well, the so-called 3D Touch, or ‘App Shortcuts’ feature works on these phones. A single-tap on the app icon opens that app, whereas a long press-and-hold brings up quick shortcuts.
For instance, if you tap and hold on Twitter icon, it will show you options to scan the QR code, send a new message, new tweet or search. In case of settings icon, it will give you quick shortcuts to Wi-Fi, data usage and battery, and in case of Google Chrome, it will show you two options – to open a new tab or open a new incognito tab. ALSO READ: Google Photos update brings electronic stabilization for videos, new photo editing tools: Here’s how to use them
Similarly, the camera app will give you options to record a video or take a selfie. Confused why there is no option to take a photo? Well a single tap anyways opens the camera app with rear camera mode right? Now, with Android O Beta, Google has also added an option to quickly add widgets right from the app shortcuts menu
Also, when you get notifications, say on Facebook or Messenger or any other app, you can tap and hold on the icon to see the notification, and swipe to right or left to dismiss it. All these features are coming as a part of Android O, and if you have a Pixel XL, Pixel, Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X, you can try out these features right away by installing the Android O Beta update.