Google might add iPhone X-style navigation to Android P

Android P is coming down the line and we're expecting to hear much more about Google's next mobile operating system update at the Google I/O developer conference in May. In the meantime, we may have some hints about updates to the navigation system, leaked by... Google itself.

In a screenshot posted to the Android Developers blog (and since adjusted to hide part of the user interface), the navigation bar takes on a whole new look, with a back button, a wider button, and no Overview (multitasking) button.

Ars Technica spotted the image before it got changed, and points out the similarities between this and what Apple has done with the iPhone X. Apple's flagship phone has no Home button of course, which means users have to rely on swipes and gestures to get around. Is Android going the same way?

Android P

Is this the new nav bar? (via @RonAmadeo)

The Google Pixel phone launchers already have some gestures that aren't supported in stock Android as a whole – like swiping up to get to the app drawer – and it would appear that this is the way forward. With more and more Android phones ditching physical buttons, it makes sense to follow Apple's lead.

Having said that, Android P is still very much in development, and this change doesn't appear in the early preview version that's been distributed to developers. It's possible that this is only a temporary test that won't make it into the final version of the OS.

Something else we're not sure about is the full Android P name, but Google might have given us a hint by showing off some spring-themed pictures on its Instagram Stories yesterday, as grabbed by Android Police. Looks like a lot of popsicles there... a sweet treat starting with P. Popsicle is trademarked, but that hasn't stopped Google before.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.