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Apple’s best iPhone 6s feature is coming to Android N

Published Apr 14th, 2016 11:35AM EDT
Android N iPhone 6s 3D Touch

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You may not necessarily agree, but the iPhone 6s’s 3D Touch functionality is the best feature Apple created for this iPhone generation. There’s more and more 3D Touch support in both Apple and third-party iOS apps, and it’s likely Apple will continue to expand the feature’s reach in future iOS releases. Not too long ago we heard rumors that Google’s 2016 Nexus devices would get support for a similar feature, and there are a few Android handsets that already pack 3D Touch displays, including a shameless new iPhone 6s rip-off.

As long as Google doesn’t officially support 3D Touch, these devices will have limited functionality. But a new Android N preview release seems to indicate that native 3D Touch support is coming to Android as soon as this year, meaning that users and developers will be able to make the most of pressure-sensitive screens in the future.

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Developers have already noticed new wording in Android N’s updated Launcher shortcuts that came out alongside the second Android N Developer Preview. The documentation, posted alongside the rest of Google’s official Android N support docs, reveals that Android devices with pressure sensitive displays will be able to support features similar to 3D Touch.

According to Phandroid, Nova Launcher developer Kevin Barry tried to test out the new “dynamic shortcuts and pinned shortcuts” feature, but he was not able to. The Android blog speculates that the new launcher shortcuts are gesture based, which suggests that Google is getting ready for 3D Touch-like gestures in Android N.

Interestingly, Google’s documentation also seems to indicate that users will have the ability to create their own pinned shortcuts for each app. That certainly sounds like something Google would offer, considering its stance on openness and customization.

“Your app can create up to five dynamic shortcuts. When users perform a gesture over your app’s launcher icon, these shortcuts appear,” Google wrote. “By dragging the shortcuts onto the launcher, users can make persistent copies of the shortcuts, called pinned shortcuts. Users can create an unlimited number of pinned shortcuts for each app.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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