Android Q Swipes Into Beta 6
Android Q has been out since March steadily progressing through its betas. This week Q hit its last step in the refinement process with the release of the final beta 6. The official release is “a few weeks away” at this point, but if you’re interested in exploring Q early there’s no better time than the present!
Changes With 6:
Spoiler Alert: there aren’t that many changes in the new version. Final APIs for developers were locked down in beta 4, so 5 and this new version are mostly bug fixes and small tweaks. But one big change is with gesture navigation. The back gesture has received a bit of a makeover. Here’s what Google had to say about it:
“We’ve made further refinements to Gesture Navigation in Beta 6 based on user feedback. First, to ensure reliable and consistent operation, there’s a 200dp vertical app exclusion limit for the Back gesture. Second, we’ve added a sensitivity preference setting for the Back gesture.”
To non-developers the 200dp may not make sense, but the concept is fairly simple. Apps have the option to opt out of the back button gesture navigation, but only to an extent. They’re only allowed to stop the back gesture for 200 “density-independent pixels”. The idea behind this is to make things easier if you’re in an app that involves horizontal scrolling. We don’t want a user to accidentally go back when they’re just trying to scroll through a list.
Feedback on Gestures:
Another somewhat confusing part of the left-side gesture recognition is that some apps have drawers you can open from this side. On trick you can use to view these instead of accidentally going back in the OS is swiping to the right but also up at a 45 degree angle. Not really something you should have to distinguish between as it feels like bad design, but that’s how things currently are.
Google says that feedback has played a lot into the gesture changes they’ve made with Q, and hopefully it works out in a manner that feels fluid and easy to use. Every beta seems to have had a different version of gestures, so Google only has so long to get it all right!
There are currently dozens of different navigation styles in the Android ecosystem thanks to the fact that not all phones are made in house by Google. But this is about to0 change with the release of Q. Google announced at I/O this year that gesture navigation will be standardized and that other phones must adhere to it in order to run Android OS. This will be a very welcome change for anyone who has felt lost swapping from one phone to another. But it’s also high stakes to make sure that things are done right.
Getting Q Today:
System images for this beta are currently available for all Pixel devices. If you have one then you’ll be running on Q soon enough, but if you’re looking to play around right away then go set it up and let us know what you think in the comments below. We also still don’t know what Q’s snack name is. It’s probably the most important part of any software, so stay tuned for that!