Pixel 3 Will Ditch Physical Navigation Completely, Coming October 4

Posted on August 6, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Android, Google, Hardware with 15 Comments

Credit: @onleaks

Google today launched Android Pie, the latest major upgrade for the company’s mobile OS. With Android Pie, Google introduced a new gesture-based navigation system inspired by Apple’s iPhone X that is supposed to offer a much more intuitive navigation experience when compared to the on-screen buttons and other physical solutions.

While the gesture-based navigation system on Android Pie is pretty cool, they have been quite controversial. Not a lot of beta testers have been a huge fan of them, and it all seems pretty janky. I haven’t tried Android Pie personally, but it looks like quite a mess when compared to what Apple did with the iPhone X. Either way, Google is taking a big step with the gesture-based navigation system with its upcoming Pixel phones. The company is apparently ditching on-screen navigation and physical navigation buttons on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in favour of the new gesture-based navigation system.

“While Pixel devices that are updated from Oreo will still see their three-button navigation by default with an option to switch to gestures, future Google phones (and any other manufacturer that wants it) will ship with only gesture navigation,” EK Chung, a UX manager for Android at Google, told Android Central. It’s not clear whether the upcoming Pixel devices will include an option to switch to the classic on-screen navigation system, though that almost seeems mandatory unless Google improves the gesture-based navigation system before the Pixel 3’s release.

So when exactly is the Pixel 3 coming out? Like the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google will be reportedly announcing the Pixel 3 on October 4. That’s not surprising as the company usually launches new products in October. We have already seen how (hideous) the device looks, and it’s going to be an iterative upgrade for the Pixel line from the looks of things. Pixel phones aren’t the only things we will be looking forward too, though, as Google is expected to announce other hardware at the event.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Pixel 3 Will Ditch Physical Navigation Completely, Coming October 4”

  1. Martin Pelletier

    I'm not a specialist in Android but, if I change the launcher doesn't it change how the gestures works? If people don't like the new gestures, won't it make the new Pixel sell less?


    I never tried the iOS gesture nor have tried the new Android one but, why Google insist on copying Apple and doing it wrong?


    Call me anything you want but boy, It was simpler with the tiles on my Lumia.


  2. skane2600

    I'm sure gestures can be useful but to suggest they're more intuitive than buttons is rather absurd given the thousands of times that people have pushed buttons in their life. Not to mention that any action that lacks a visual "hint" always takes users longer to learn.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to skane2600:


      Absurd is to be so categorical over something some people seam to have little experience on.


      I mean whoever ever used an iPhone X will tell how easily they forgot the home button. It’s very intuitive and easy to pick up and I can tel, you it’s faster most of the times. Now some people might still prefer the home button, but never met one. This is to say, that it’s a well proven approach already, not something that is in beta.


      We spent decades making generalizations over bad implementations of ideas and cooncepts. When do people learn that it’s a fallacy in reasoning.


      There aren’t bad ideas, just bad implementations and or bad timing.

    • timwakeling

      In reply to skane2600:

      I'm pretty sure I'd get used to gestures very quickly and would find it no problem. But anyone who's spent any time trying to convince a nervous (usually older) user to press or swipe something they cannot see, knows how difficult it's going to be for them to make the move. We can argue all we like, but some people just prefer to be able to see the action they are about to do *before* they do it.

  3. Pierre Masse

    You have to have a pretty strong opinion on everything to find that phone "hideous". It just looks like another phone to me.

  4. Tony Barrett

    I'd be very surprised if the soft buttons were ditched. There's too much dependency on them, and the tend to work logically and quickly. I hope gesture based navigation at this stage will be more for feedback and testing so they can optimize the system. I'm not a fan of how it seems to work anyway!

  5. Silversee

    Well, since it's a software thing they can always restore the option for buttons when reality sets in. Unlike the headphone jack...

  6. Winner

    This is seeming more and more like a disaster.

  7. TomKer

    I upgraded my Pixel 2XL last night and switched it to gestures. Seems OK to me. What's supposed to be terrible about it?

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