Android N could come with another nav bar redesign

Android N
Android N could come with a new nav bar.

Google gave us a detailed look at Android N at its IO event back in May but it hasn't revealed everything that's going to appear in the as-yet-unnamed mobile OS - and it seems the trusty navigation bar is in line for a rather major redesign.

Android Police reports that Android N is going to get new, animated icons for the Back, Home and Overview buttons - that's the triangle, circle and square you see down at the bottom of every screen. They're going to be opaque blocks rather than outlines and the Home button will be multicoloured.

This is all based on a trusted source speaking to Android Police, which itself rates the rumour as a 7 out of 10. It's possible that this is going to be a Nexus exclusive, or it might just be a design experiment that Google will eventually abandon - at the moment it's not clear.

A design for life

That animated Home button certainly fits the Google Assistant and Google Now branding that the Mountain View company has been pushing over the last year so that's another hint that this is indeed the nav bar design we're going to see in the autumn.

It's a small aesthetic change but it's going to be one you'll see on just about every screen you come across. Android last got a major design overhaul back in 2014 when Material Design was introduced at the same time as Android Lollipop.

As for what else is coming to Android N, we do know for sure it's going to have multi-window support, improved notifications, a dedicated VR mode and a bunch of other tweaks and optimisations that should make it the most complete Android release yet.

Here's our pick for the best budget smartphone of the year:

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.