Google unpacked most of the new features in Android P at Google I/O 2018 earlier this week, revealing in the process that it copied yet another iPhone X feature. When it launched the first Android P developer preview earlier this year, Google confirmed the Android ecosystem will be assaulted by a plethora of iPhone X clones. Android P officially supports the notch design that many device makers adopted for their 2018 phones, prompting us to wonder whether the Pixel 3 will also steal the iPhone X’s design. But that’s not the end of it.
This week, Google told us that Android P will also bring new gestures to Android that are just like the gestures Apple introduced on the iPhoneX, insisting in the process that it hadn’t copied the iPhone X. But it turns out Google has an even more preposterous excuse for doing it.
Google’s VP of engineering said in an interview with CNET that the Android team has been working nonstop on Android P for a year. And Burke claims that Google’s adoption of new gestures had nothing to do with Apple.
“Android has those three buttons at the bottom: Home, back and something else,” Burke said. “And it’s, it’s a little too much, a little too complicated. I think of it as like walking into a room with three doors and it’s like, ‘which door do I go in?'”
“We just didn’t want extra buttons,” he added, saying that you shouldn’t have to go somewhere special to see your open apps.
“iPhone was coming from a different place, they were removing their home button. We are coming from a place where we really like our home button,” Burke said, noting that Google wants its “solid, deterministic home button that you could always get back to.”
The home button on Android also opens the Assistant, so it can’t go away. What’s more, the Back button is still staying in place on Android. Yes, it’ll look quite ugly with just two buttons instead of three, but the killing the Back button would apparently give developers additional headaches.
So let’s get things straight. Burke, who’s been overseeing Android for many years, an operating system that has had those three menu buttons in place forever, decided all of a sudden that Android navigation doesn’t work anymore? All because of a button? And it’s all a coincidence that Apple did it right before Google?
Apple, of course, did not invent its iPhone X gestures, having swiped them from webOS. But Apple had to do this so it could kill the physical home button. The iPhone maker never went out of its way to explain the inspiration, of course.
Also, were Android users confused about what these three buttons do? After so many years of using Android?
I just don’t buy this PR talk from Google, although I don’t dispute the fact that Android P’s new gestures will be miles better than the previous way to interact with Android phones. Google could have changed Android navigation many years ago, though. I guess it just took the company nearly a decade to realize that it doesn’t need that third button. Saying that it didn’t follow Apple’s lead, again, is definitely BS.
With this particular explanation, Google joins a growing list of Apple rivals that are going out of their way to say they’re not copying the iPhone X. The list of notable companies that have made these silly claims so far this year includes Huawei, LG, OnePlus, and now Google.