Android 10 will make it harder to use third-party gesture navigation

What you need to know

  • The latest update for Google Mobile Services outlines Google's future for Android navigation.
  • Custom gestures from companies like Samsung and OnePlus will be more difficult to find/use.
  • Android Pie's two-button navigation system is being killed off.

The current state of navigation on Android is a bit of a mess. Google introduced its first vision of gesture-based navigation with Android Pie, added a completely new system with Android 10, and a bunch of companies like Samsung and OnePlus are off doing their own thing, too.

9to5Google recently got its hands on an updated document for the Google Mobile Services (also known as GMS) agreement, and it mentions some rather interesting tidbits regarding the future of gestures on Android.

According to 9to5:

Thanks to this document, we're getting further clarification on Google's requirements. Apparently, any Android device using GMS that launches on Android 10 will need to ship out of the box with either the classic three-button or the new Android 10 gestures. If a device ships with the gestures by default, the three-button setup must be supported as an optional setting.

In other words, any Android 10 device with Google services needs to be using Google's new gesture navigation or the old three-button layout. Phones that are upgraded to Android 10 from an older version are recommended to keep Pie's two-button navigation with the iconic pill, but phones that ship with Android 10 out of the box won't have any option to use it.

Another big change has to do with the way custom navigation systems from other companies are handled — such as gestures made by OnePlus, Samsung, etc.

These gestures will apparently need to be absent from the setup process, along with being buried deeper in the settings. Third-party gestures are still allowed in Android 10, but Google does seem keen on making them more difficult to seek out.

We're interested to see how this plays out, especially considering that the OnePlus 7T ships with Android 10 and allows you to very-easily access OnePlus's custom gestures. It's noted that the document mentions "implementation details" for this, but there's no explanation as to what that means.

OnePlus's Android 10 gestures are far and away better than Google's

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.