Google introduced a major redesign for the navigation system on Android with Android 9 Pie. The gesture-based navigation system took a lot of influence from that of the iPhone X, where there was only a single home button that Apple used to introduce an effortlessly amazing navigation system on the newest iPhones. It was perfect.
And Google obviously tried to replicate that, but the company’s implementation simply wasn’t that good, at least in my experience.
Google seems to be aware of that, and it’s taking steps to improve the experience with Android Q. XDA Developers got their hands on an early build of Android Q that features an improved navigation system, and it works a lot as it does on Apple’s newest iPhones. This time around, the new navigation system seems to work a lot better than before.
First, Google is getting rid of the dedicated back button, meaning there is only a single, pill-shaped home button. Instead of the back button, you can now do a quick swipe to the left on the home button to go back on apps. That’s a much better solution than having a dedicated back button.
But more importantly, Google is improving the animation for switching between apps. Now when you swipe right on the pill, it lets you switch between apps easily and the transition for the entire experience seems so much better. It’s almost identical to Apple’s implementation on the iPhone, and to be honest that exact transition made me love the new gesture-based navigation on the iPhone. So it’s really nice to see Google doing the same on Android.
Here’s a demo and comparison of the improved navigation system:
Google will talk about Android Q sometime in May at Google I/O 2019. The update is expected to be a major one, introducing a new native system-wide dark mode and improved privacy controls.