Android P is probably going to copy the iPhone X’s gesture controls
The endless cycle of Android copying iOS and vice versa doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon.
In an blog post on the official Android Developers Blog, Google accidentally included a screenshot of a navigation bar interface that ditches the well-known layout of “back, home, recent apps” with a little bar that bears a strong resemblance to the gesture bar found on the iPhone X.
Shortly after it was discovered, Google swiftly replaced the screenshot with a navigation bar that ditched the pill-shaped gesture bar. But not before Ars Technica screenshotted it and mocked up a comparison between current Android navigation, new Android navigation bar, and the iPhone X’s gesture bar:
Naturally, replacing the screenshot so quickly suggests Google’s got something to hide. Not to mention 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall, who has some pretty tight sources from within Google, saying “it’s gesture navigation 100% per my source.” Hall also says he’s been told the back button “fades and hides itself sometimes.”
How the purported gesture pill/bar will work is still unclear. Do you swipe up to go to the home screen like on iPhone X? Or perhaps swiping up merely brings up the app drawer. Can you swipe left on it to bring up the recent apps? There’s still a lot of unanswered questions.
We’ll likely learn more about this new gesture bar navigation next month at Google’s I/O developer conference. That said, if you’re annoyed at Android embracing yet another iOS user interface, you should get over it right now.
Notch support is coming to Android and, if these leaks turn out to be accurate, gesture bars are too. Both of these designs are the result of new displays that stretch edge-to-edge. Gesture-based navigation is a natural evolution from tap-based physical or virtual buttons. Spend any amount of time with an iPhone X and you’ll understand why Android’s mimicking of the gesture bar makes sense.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not terrible to see both Android and iOS borrow from each other. I’d personally love to see iOS get more organized notifications à la Android Oreo. And Android could use its own versions of features like Apple’s AirDrop.
Borrowing features from each mobile OS has happened in the past and it’s going to continue to happen in the future. Whining about who copied who is for petty children. At the end of the day, you, the user, gets the best mobile experience and that’s all that really matters.