(Pocket-lint) - We're not expecting Android P, Google's next iteration of its operating system, to be formally announced until 8 May at the company's I/O conference, but until then, we can get a rough idea of what to expect based on various leaks.
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The latest refers to a possible new navigation feature coming to Android P, that would use gestures instead of buttons to move around screens. It would mean Android P-enabled phones would work in a similar way to the Apple iPhone X.
Google itself shared a screenshot from what is more than likely a phone running Android P in a post about network security improvements. 9to5Google picked up the screenshot and noticed the navigation bar at the bottom had some changes, and since then, Google has reposted the same screenshot but without the navigation bar included.
The bar shows a new pill-shaped button instead of the usual circular home button, a back button that's just an outline and no multitasking button in sight. The button, along with some other sources speaking to 9to5Google, suggest that the pill-shaped button will be used as part of a swipe up gesture. However it's not clear what effect a swipe action would have; it may be to access the home screen, or recently used apps.
9to5Google's sources have also said that the back button will automatically hide when it's not needed, for example, on the home screen where a back action would have no effect.
Android P is still in its developer preview stage, so any new features introduced at the moment may not make it to the final public build. However, with Google accepting that iPhone X-style screens, with no home button and notches will become the norm, gesture controls may be the only way to go.