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No, Google will not force OEMs to adopt Android Q's navigation gestures

Android 10 gesture navigation
Android 10 gesture navigation (Image credit: Android Central)

Google introduced new navigation gestures in Android Q, and the key point is that the back button is going away, with a side-swipe gesture taking its place. The move obviously led to a lot of confusion, with users left to ponder whether custom gestures from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and others will be waylaid in favor of Google's new prescribed system.

We now have more clarity on the matter. Allen Huang, Project Manager for Android System UI at Google, spoke to our friends at Android Authority, stated that while Google is "strongly encouraging" OEMs to adopt the new navigation gestures, it will not force them to do so.

To simplify, custom navigation gestures are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. From Huang:

We see custom OEM gestures as a power user option. Gesture navigation is a challenge for developers. They need to decide 'Which of my gestures is going to be back?'People navigate back over 150 times per day. We want to make this simple to learn and understand.

That's a welcome move from Google, because I prefer Samsung's gesture navigation to Google's implementation. Android has been — and will always be — about choice, so it's good to see that Google isn't enforcing OEMs to stick to one particular navigation system. And if you're not sold on the idea of gesture navigation at all, Android Q will still let you select the legacy three-button navigation bar.

Android Q beta 3 review: Dark theme, gesture navigation and more notification changes

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

6 Comments
  • Not forcing it is a mistake. Samsung's gestures are an abomination, as are OnePlus'. The only good non-Google gestures are Moto's. This is a good example of how Google's inconsistent grip on the Android ecosystem is doing long-term damage to the platform.
  • I would say the opposite. I have loved Samsung's implementation of it and I was never a fan of how the pixel did it. I like there new idea on how they are doing from now on but they don't need to force their will upon the OEMs.
  • "And if you're not sold on the idea of gesture navigation at all, Android Q will still let you select the legacy three-button navigation bar." Thank God for this. I am sticking with the traditional 3 button nav bar.
  • The question I have is will launchers still have the ability to implement the traditional android buttons if you don't want to use gestures at all?
  • "And if you're not sold on the idea of gesture navigation at all, Android Q will still let you select the legacy three-button navigation bar." Taken directly from the article.
  • Would be nice to have to choice to turn on the Q gestures if one doesn't like the OEM implementation.