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Hands-On With Android P's New Swipe-Based Gesture System

Google yesterday introduced the newest version of Android, Android P, at its Google I/O developer conference held in Mountain View, California. Android P includes a few enticing features like a new Dashboard for monitoring usage and an adaptive battery feature for improving battery life, but what was of interest to iPhone users was the new gesture system.

Android P adopts a new gesture-based system interface that's reminiscent of the interface of the iPhone X, so we decided to download the Android P beta to check it out for ourselves.

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For years, Android has used a navigation system that focuses on three buttons: home, back, and multitasking. That's gone in Android P, having been replaced with a small oblong button at the bottom of the display that will be familiar to iPhone X users.

Swiping up on the button brings up a card-like interface with an app overview that includes a search bar, your recently used apps, and five predicted apps, while a longer swipe (or a second swipe) brings up the All Apps screen where you can access all of the apps installed on an Android device.

As on the iPhone X, you can use the swipe up gesture from anywhere in the Android operating system, regardless of which app is being used, while a tap goes to the Home screen. A left or right swipe, meanwhile, initiates a "Quick Scrub" gesture that lets you swap between your recently used apps.

The iPhone X's gesture system is intuitive and easy to use, so it's no surprise that Google opted to introduce a similar design, and it's the natural evolution for controlling a smartphone without traditional buttons.

In addition to adopting a swipe-based interface, Android P has some other neat features, a few of which we may see in some form in iOS 12. A new Android Dashboard, for example, is designed to tell you how much time you're spending on your device and in apps in the name of digital health, something that Apple is also expected to focus on this year.

A new Do Not Disturb feature called "Shush" automatically silences Android devices when placed facedown, while a Wind Down option lets Android users set a specific bed time that enables Do Not Disturb and turns the entire phone's interface gray to discourage further use at night.

Google is also introducing a new Adaptive Battery feature that maximizes battery power by prioritizing the apps you're most likely to use next, while a new Auto Brightness feature modifies screen brightness based on your own personal preferences. Some of these features haven't been enabled just yet on all Android devices that are eligible for the beta, but they should be coming soon.

What do you think of the new Android P operating system? Are there features here you would like to see Apple enable in iOS? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

19 months ago

I have no idea how people organize their photos on iOS.


With the Photos app which works great.
Rating: 27 Votes
19 months ago
While Android P is interesting, what was most impressive from their keynote was that phone call...
Rating: 24 Votes
19 months ago
It honestly sounds like they took something Apple came up with and made it better. Now it's time for Apple to do the same thing right back. A classic example of how competition drives creativity.
Rating: 22 Votes
19 months ago
Okay.

So now basically both Apple and Google have copied Palm's WebOS card UI :D
Rating: 17 Votes
19 months ago
Android is a fine OS, just not for me. Always feels too robotic.
Rating: 15 Votes
19 months ago

Android is a fine OS, just not for me. Always feels too robotic.

I thought the robotic one was Siri. Android feels smoother than ios and a boat load more intuitive for user experience.
Rating: 15 Votes
19 months ago
Why are there so many people here who think Apple came up with this? Has anyone used blackberry 10, webOS from like ten years ago, Google now from years ago, Nova, etc? For those that never leave the basement, try getting out a bit, and taking off the blinders. Apple is not really known for innovating, but more for copying a feature and streamlining it to their hardware.
Rating: 13 Votes
19 months ago


Swiping up on the button brings up a card-like interface with an app overview that includes a search bar, your recently used apps, and five predicted apps, while a longer swipe (or a second swipe) brings up the All Apps screen where you can access all of the apps installed on an Android device.

As on the iPhone X, you can use the swipe up gesture from anywhere in the Android operating system, regardless of which app is being used, while a tap goes to the Home screen. A left or right swipe, meanwhile, initiates a "Quick Scrub" gesture that lets you swap between your recently used apps.

The iPhone X's gesture system is intuitive and easy to use, so it's no surprise that Google opted to introduce a similar design, and it's the natural evolution for controlling a smartphone without traditional buttons.

...MR should have done their homework. These are not iPhone gestures. Please take a look at webOS.
Fact is, Android and iOS are the last of all OS to introduce proper gestures. That is the opposite of innovation.

WebOS had them. BlackBerry OS 10 has them. Sailfish has them.
In 2017 iOS joined the list and now Android.

Pathetic.
Making it look like Apple came up with it and it's now copied by google: disappointing... MR could have done better.

Sorry for the rant, but it's deserved.
Rating: 11 Votes
19 months ago
This is still macrumors, right?
Rating: 10 Votes
19 months ago

Why are there so many people here who think Apple came up with this? Has anyone used blackberry 10, webOS from like ten years ago, Google now from years ago, Nova, etc? For those that never leave the basement, try getting out a bit, and taking off the blinders. Apple is not really known for innovating, but more for copying a feature and streamlining it to their hardware.


Whoa there, slow down. You can't say fact like that on an Apple centric forum!

But anyway, remember that time when Steve Jobs claimed Apple invented multi-touch? That was a good one.
Rating: 10 Votes

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