OnePlus appears to be closing in on solving Android’s navigation future

Although OnePlus is in a bad place dealing with accusations regarding privacy violations, and the fact that there have been public calls to stop people from buying their phones, the company is still in operation. It is releasing new colours of its flagship OnePlus 5T and it’s occupied trying to set up stable versions of the Android 8.0 Oreo. Recently, OnePlus unveiled a new way to navigate the operating system from its Open Beta 3 for the OnePlus 5 and 5T. this system sort of copies iPhone X’s swipe combinations and added a few subtleties specific to Google to overcome differences between Android and iOS.

To set it up, enable a new setting that conceals the traditional Android navigation bar of (from left to right) Back, Home, and Multitasking buttons. Android has depended on some mixtures of these buttons either in virtual or capacitive form, since the beginning. Then again, with the propagation of taller, more extensive displays, manufacturers have been working on a way to use all that valuable real estate.

When the setting becomes enabled, the on-screen buttons vanish and a short tutorial guides you through the new gestures: swipe up from the middle part of the bottom of the display to go home; swipe up from either the bottom-left or bottom-right parts of the display to go back; lastly, swipe up and hold from the middle to activate the multitasking screen.

At first glance, this combination copies almost entirely the iPhone X’s user experience of swipes and gestures, though the OnePlus solution takes into account Android’s reliance on an explicit back gesture, as opposed to a swipe in from the left side of the display, to return to the previous screen.

Nonetheless, even in this early stage, the OnePlus solution seems rather normal in a way that other gesture-based navigation systems from Huawei and Motorola, for instance, do not. The gesture animations themselves are a little clumsy, and the haptic feedback after each one is a bit too heavy-handed, but these things can be adjusted over time.

There is little/no probability that the gesture replacement of OnePlus which is still in beta mode will become the standard of OnePlus phones, however, this move proves that it is possible.

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