Android Q gestures might rely only on pill icon, no back button

The gesture navigation tools introduced with Android 9 Pie eliminated the need for the recent apps button. Now, the default gesture navigation configuration is down to two buttons: the home “pill” icon and the back button, which appears when needed.

However, according to some early Android Q code obtained by XDA Developers, the back button might not be around for the next iteration of Android.

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According to XDA’s research, the home button will act as the back button and the recent apps button all in one. Users will be able to slide the button to the left when they want to input a back action. The button slides slightly to the left and then snaps back, giving the user a kind of tactile feedback that the input was registered correctly.

Check it out here:

Additionally, a quick swipe of the pill icon to the right will swap you from the app you currently have open to the next-most-recent app on your list. Another swipe to the right will go to the app before that, and so on. If you perform this gesture while on the home screen (i.e., with no app in the foreground), the new recent apps screen will be shown, which will allow you to scroll through all your apps.

If this new navigation method is, in fact, what Android Q will eventually have, it will represent another major shift in how users navigate through Android. However, it could be that this is just early testing and the navigation system we saw in Android 9 Pie will end up in Android Q — it’s far too early to say this new method will be finalized.

What do you think? Do you use gestures in Android Pie? Do you think you could get used to the back button being gone? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: Android Q: The top features we know about so far

Android Q might open up RCS to third-party apps

Much has been made about Rich Communication Services (RCS), but the reality hasn’t yet matched up to the hype. Thanks to several RCS-specific APIs for Android Q that Android Police found, that reality could finally change for the better.

Here’s the thing — as great as RCS is, carriers and manufacturers have done a great job of fumbling its usefulness. Google teamed up with several device makers to roll out RCS through its Messages app, while Samsung uses RCS for its stock messaging app. However, U.S. carriers have been incredibly slow with their RCS support and have very specific hoops that you must clear if you want to use RCS.

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All of that’s to say that RCS is only available through a small subset of messaging apps for a small subset of devices on a small subset of networks.

As much of a mess as RCS is right now, Android Q could remedy that somewhat. According to the APIs that Android Police found on the AOSP Gerrit, Android Q could open up RCS to messaging apps. So long as your carrier supports RCS, you could message folks with the protocol on third-party apps like Pulse SMS and Textra.

This is great news for those that want to see faster RCS adoption. Let’s just hope that carriers get their acts together and properly realize the dream of an inter-operable messaging service that works out of the box.

Android Q teardown hints at native screen recording, an emergency shortcut, more

Nokia 7.1 installing Android 9.0 Pie update

By the time Google gets around to releasing the Android Q Developer Preview, there likely won’t be many surprises. Thanks to a teardown of Android Q’s System UI by 9to5Google, we have a better idea of what new features the search giant might add to its mobile operating system later this year.

For some years now, Android has had a built-in screen recording feature, but it had to be initiated using an ADB command from a computer. Looking at several code strings, Android Q might introduce a system-level screen recording option similar to what’s available on iOS and offered by using third-party apps.

As it is implemented right now, the first time that the feature is used, Android will request access to the necessary permissions for recording the screen and saving video files. While in use, there will be an ongoing notification, controls to start, end, and share the recording, and an option to record an accompanying voiceover.

9to5Google also confirmed XDA-Developer’s report that Android Q will likely bring support for secure facial recognition. Users will probably use with the same “biometric_dialog” that Android Pie introduced for interacting with the fingerprint sensor to authenticate and authorize payments.

In Android Pie, Google added a screenshot button to the power menu. It appears that Android Q might add an emergency shortcut to the menu that will take users to the emergency dialer.

Android Q Teardown Emergency Shortcut 9to5Google

Some additions seem to be focused on privacy. The first of which includes a “Sensor Privacy” quick setting that will disable some of the phone’s sensors. It’s not known yet what this will be used for, but the option isn’t shown by default.

Android Q is likely also going to highlight when one or more apps are using the device’s location and microphone. This is another feature that has been implemented in iOS for a number of years now. Instead of being in the dark on what’s happening in the background, you’ll be fully aware of what apps are doing with options available for you to stop them.

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Lastly, Android Q looks to be preparing for 5G and WPA3. While we’ve already seen AT&T update some of its phones to display “5GE” icons, the new firmware officially includes 5G and 5G+ icons within the operating system. And over a year after WPA3 was announced, Android Q should bring support for the new Wi-Fi standard.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the System UI demo mode hints that Android Q will be version 10.

What other features do you want Google to bring to Android Q? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Google dev hints Android Q previews could come to more users, sooner

  • A Google developer has hinted that early Android Q builds may reach more users next year thanks to prospective Generic System Image (GSI) developments.
  • The moves could allow any Project Treble-supported device, not just select handsets, to run previews ahead of the software’s full launch.
  • The developer said there may be a way to test Android Q without physically flashing the GSI in future, too.

A Google engineer has hinted that Android Q previews may be available on more devices than ever before ahead of its full-scale release in 2019. The engineer, Hung-ying Tyan of Google’s Project Treble team, made the comments during Android developer summit last week (via XDA Developers).

Hung-ying was holding a talk on Generic System Images (GSIs). A GSI is a pure version of Android based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code used to test compatibility on Android smartphones. In order to benefit from quick updates via Project Treble, for example, a hardware manufacturer must be able to boot a GSI and ensure it works correctly on their device.

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This is a key part of Project Treble, but it seems Google wants to diversify GSI use cases. Hung-ying said the team is “exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI.” This, according to Hung-ying, would be mutually beneficial, seeing as more users would get access to the software the team could receive earlier feedback.

What’s more, Hung-ying said that there might be a way to test out GSI, without flashing it, in the future — something which can be a tricky process.

What this would mean for Android fans is that more people could gain access to the early version of Android Q (the upcoming version of Android), sooner. With the Android P Developer Preview, Google allowed Pixel users (and later some other Android device owners) to test the software from March last year ahead of its full release in August. The implication of GSI becoming available earlier is that any Project Treble-equipped phone would be able to install the next Developer Previews — opening them up to many more users.

This is just a possibility for now, but Hung-ying said we should stay tuned for more information in the future. It seems like it could happen.