Code within Android Q strongly suggests that the upcoming major OS update will include support for "Deep Press" interactions on the touch screen.
The idea being that you'll be able to activate separate actions by pressing harder on the screen. It's different to a regular short press, or a long press, in that it's based on how hard you press the screen.
Its existence within Android Q was unearthed by @deletescape on Twitter, a software developer.
Android Q adds native support to detect "Force presses". Not sure if this will actually check pressure values, or (based on the name) just uses some ML magic. pic.twitter.com/Yg1SwyvyzK— Till Kottmann #autismAwareness (@deletescape) April 5, 2019
While it's an exciting inclusion, it's not the first time we've seen this kind of features on a smartphone.
We all know Apple added a pressure sensitive display to its iPhone range a few years ago, enabling shortcut menu pop ups from the app icons on your home screen, as well as control widgets in Control Centre. But even Android manufacturers have used it before.
Huawei, around about the same time as Apple, introduces an - admittedly not very well implemented - attempt in the Huawei Mate S. More recently, Black Shark introduced a pressure sensitive screen in its second phone.
In Black Shark's phone, when the gaming mode is activated, you can adjust the pressure sensitivity on each side of the touchscreen, to make it more responsive during gaming.
The question here, however, is whether Google's going to rely on a piece of pressure sensitive hardware or if it's going to show its machine learning smarts again, and be able to implement it using a standard touchscreen.
There does seem to be a hint here that this will be the way Google approaches it. It wouldn't be surprising. After all, nearly all of Google's best features on its Pixel are made great by machine learning/AI.
Then again, could pressure sensitive touchscreens be on their way back to Android phones in 2019/20? We'll find out when Google officially releases Android Q later this year, along with some new hardware.