Users of Google’s new smartphone platform Android N will be able to take advantage of a feature that is very similar to the 3D Touch used on Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

The latest beta of the Android N Developer Preview contains a new feature known as Launcher Shortcuts, and Google has confirmed that it will support screens that are sensitive to pressure. This means that users can press down harder on apps in the app page to jump directly to specific functions or parts of the app in a shorter time than it would take to boot up the app and then navigate to the same area.

The feature is also similar to the right click contextual menu that many PCs offer. Google says that manufacturers will decide which shortcuts they want to provide users with to perform certain actions faster.

According to the firm, manufacturers have been asking for this feature to be built directly into the OS for some time now. While Huawei has a pressure-sensitive screen in its Mate S Premium Android phone, the phone maker had to do the software coding itself, which means that the functionality only works for Huawei’s apps and not any third-party offerings.

It’s not clear yet what Google plans to call the technology. While not every phone will include it right away, it should eventually enjoy widespread adoption.

Another feature users can expect with Android N is a picture-in-picture function that facilitates the use of two applications at the same time, either one over the other on smartphones or side by side on tablets.

Other new features in the works

The new OS will also see notifications getting an overhaul, making the system faster and easier for people to use regardless of which applications are open. Emoji Unicode 9 will get support, allowing users to enjoy the latest emojis, which have more realistic faces and an impressive array of skin tones.

Meanwhile, battery-saving options are expected to be improved, and there will be options to limit data use by cutting the quality of images and streams. There are also references to apps known as “VR Helper” and “VR Listener”, a strong indication that developers will be able to make use of new virtual reality capabilities

The final version of the new Android N is expected to be outlined at Google’s I/o conference, which will be held from May 18 to 20.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.