Gesture control and Navigation
For many years, Android has relied on touch buttons (physical or virtual) as the reference navigation system for any device that has this operating system. It does not matter if it’s a mobile, a tablet, a portable console, almost all of them had those three quick accesses to go back, go to the main screen and see the applications open in the background.
Simple and effective, a function that has been present for many years and now with mobile phones with minimal margin screens, the question arises whether we can use another way of navigating. The iPhone X and some Xiaomi phones teach us that it is possible to use gestures to do the same, gain space on the screen and that everything is equally fluid. If you want to try it on your mobile, you can do it by installing an application.
Gesture Control, a promising but limited app
At the moment the control by gestures is not a native function of Android and save some ROMs in concrete, like the beta of MIUI, the only option that we have is to install an application that we can download in Google Play: Gesture Control. A free app but for which we will have to pay if we want to unlock all the functions.
Once we have it open, the configuration process is very simple. Through a tutorial we will be explaining, in English, what this application consists of. What Gesture Control does is draw a horizontal line at the bottom of our mobile and under that path define an invisible area on which we can make different gestures:
- If we slide to the left we go back.
- If we slide up we go to the start menu.
- If we slide to the right we open the notification menu.
- If we slide up and hold a moment we will see the apps in the background.
This is the default configuration but once we finish the tutorial and grant the application accessibility permits we can change them and put them to our liking to decide what we want to do. We can also modify the height of the bar and touch space, change the color, modify the behavior of the volume buttons.
If what we want to do are tests to see how it works, my advice is to first try all the options that come by default and modify the height of the bar. If you have a mobile with virtual buttons, it is very possible that the first time you make gestures do not work well because the two elements are very close together, it does not work very well.
With that we add a few pixels and we can use it more comfortable and natural. The paid version costs 3.49 euros and unlocks many features such as launch applications, use multimedia controls for music or videos, calibrate the brightness … They are very useful additions but if what we want is to test, we can go testing with the free and decide if you compensate us or not pay for it.
With root navigation the change makes more sense
Speaking of how the application worked, we mentioned the problems it has if we have a mobile that has virtual buttons. In this case the tests have been done with a Pixel 2 XL so putting the Gesture Control bar what it has done, in reality, is that we lose useful space on the screen.
Where is this app really useful? In terminal that has these buttons physically integrated or where we are given the option to eliminate the virtual bar. If it were not possible, we always have the option to root the phone and remove it on our own so that it does not get in the way. If you do not mind investing a little time, it’s worth trying a different browsing experience.
We will see if the manufacturers are proactively encouraged to integrate it into their next phones and how little by little the 18: 9 screen formats not only gains prominence in the aesthetic and also in the part of functions offering us another way to navigate in our Android. For now we have seen that the iPhone X has made a dent (or rather eyebrow) in some Chinese manufacturers.
It also remains to see what will happen with Android P, perhaps the next big update of the operating system allows us to choose and besides having virtual buttons we can use these gestures to move through the system.