YOU MAY FIND the back button in Android quite handy, but Google thinks you can live without it, if changes found in the leaked build of Android Q are maintained when the final version is released later this year.
XDA Developers has been exploring the pre-release operating system and discovered that Google is simplifying the navigation bar even further from the swipe and gesture navigation introduced to Pixel handsets with Android 9 Pie.
Most handsets haven't followed Google's lead into navigation gestures, so if you're not familiar, here is how it works on the Pixel 3. The traditional three-button navigation bar is replaced with a single home ‘pill', with a context-sensitive back button that only shows up when it can actually be used. Multitasking is done with a simple swipe upwards.
The new version, demonstrated by XDA Developers in the embedded video above, simplifies things even further. The back button is no more, and replaced by you sliding to the left where the back button used to be like some kind of goddamned navigational clairvoyant. It doesn't look great, and if Google decides to implement this in the final release, it wouldn't be wholly surprising if once again other OEMs let Google have this fabulous innovation all to itself.
Of course, this is a very early build which isn't intended for public consumption. For all we know, this could just be a bug that wasn't spotted or an idea that the company later abandons. The point is, as we're unlikely to see a consumer version of Android version 10.0 for another six months, there's plenty of time for this feature to be softened or taken out the back and shot like Google Plus.
A far more interesting question is what sweet treat Google is going to name Android Q after. The Wikipedia page for confectionery in alphabetical order only offers three options, and none of them sound hugely appetising. Still, we look forward to Android Quench Gum landing on our phones later this year. µ
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