Android 10 is finally here and if you own a Pixel phone then you get to be among the first to update to the latest software. But is there really anything mindblowing that should cause anyone other than your hardcore Google fans to get excited?
Well, let’s take a look back at what they were testing in their beta builds and what made it to final release. And we will start with gesture navigations.
Apple decided to remove the home button a few years ago when they decided to shock the industry with the iPhone X. Every iPhone up to that point had a home button, but now Apple needed to find a way for users to navigate through the user interface absence a home button. Enter gesture-based navigation. With it, Apple could allow users to continue enjoying their device and not require the home button. Though Apple was not the first to use this form of navigation, they managed to convince the industry that it was part of the new Apple experience.
Google decided to copy similar gesture-based navigation with the pill bar at the bottom that served as a hybrid. Allowing for gestures to be used for opening and closing the app drawer and pulling up recent apps, but still having the pill be an on-screen home button. This worked because it allowed for the ability to take advantage of almost the entire screen. But the full gesture navigation system Apple used allowed for truly being able to take full advantage of the screen. And Google wanted to copy a similar system. Unfortunately, Google was unable to get their full-screen gestures to work fluidly in the betas, and for the most part, it was met with negative reviews. Personally I prefer the “pill” over the full-screen navigation.
Another highlighted addition was their form of a theme option. If you are coming from a Samsung, LG, or older HTC phone then this is not anything to get excited about. In fact, I would not even consider this a highlight, more like a letdown. You can change the font, accent colors, and icon shapes. But even with doing that you will have to enable developer mode.
For most people, the main thing that will be noticeable with this new update will be some of the under the hood stuff. Not sure if this is more of “a new software thing”, or something worth highlighting. But from the moment I installed it on my Pixel 3XL I noticed a difference in performance. It literally felt like a new phone. Navigating through the phone felt just silky. Google may have finally answered the complaints with the Pixel 3 (and 3XL) about the performance. Even the double-tap for the camera is opening up smoothly.
So to answer my question, what will the average user notice about the new Android 10?
Software updates through the Google Play store, dark mode during reboots, possibly better performance, and a less than ideal full navigation feature. So is this enough to get you excited about the new Android 10?