It looks like Google just leaked a major new feature of Android P in a blog post. The post, which recaps a security feature, contained a screenshot of the DNS settings with a navigation bar that we hadn’t seen before. The explanation from the rumor mill is that this is Android’s upcoming iPhone X-style gesture navigation.
The navigation bar in Google’s screenshot is nothing like what you see on Android today. The blue color scheme indicates that the phone is running the Pixel theme, so the back button should be solid white. Instead, it’s rendered in the old hollow style. The home button is a pill shape instead of circular. The Recent Apps button, which is normally a square, is totally missing.
After talking it out with the Android Twitter crew, 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall said he’s heard from sources that this is “100 percent” Android gesture navigation and that the back button is supposed to hide itself. If you wipe out the back button from this picture and call the pill-shaped home button a gesture indicator, you have something that looks exactly like the iPhone X‘s gesture navigation system. In Google’s screenshot, a dialog box is open, so the theory is that in this (in-development, subject-to-change) build of Android, a back button pops up only when a dialog box is open and the button would normally disappear.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen evidence that gesture navigation is on its way. Android P features a new horizontal sliding animation when you navigate from screen-to-screen in an app, which would line up well with a swipe-to-go-back navigation gesture.
About 30 minutes after the post went up, it was updated with a new image that cropped out the navigation bar. For now, the original, uncropped image is still on Google’s servers here.