I remember when I got my first Android phone, oh so long ago. It had a slide-out keyboard, and physical buttons for back, home, and menu, amongst other buttons. In fact, the face of the phone had a very large amount of real-estate dedicated to the buttons.
I remember when phone manufacturers started using touch-sensitive buttons, rather than physical buttons. I thought: This is cool but I miss the real tactile feeling.
I remember when Google decided to phase out the menu button. I thought it was the end of Android. It may sound melodramatic but this was a time when Android UI design was at its infancy and that menu button was a requirement.
I remember when Android started to support On-Screen buttons. I thought, why would I want to dedicate so much screen real-estate to buttons? That being said, I did like that fancy new task switcher button...
Then it all clicked in my head. On-screen buttons could be themed by the manufacturer, re-organized by software, and also improved without having to replace the hardware. Not only that but they could be eventually made pretty small. That meant that more of the front of the phone could be dedicated to usable space! It all made sense.
I recently received an LG G8 ThinQ and I feel like it's another one of those revolutions. First of all, the button bar where the buttons are is tiny. Rather than the standard home or circle icon in the middle, you have a nice little rounded rectangle that seems to keep the footprint nice and small while still being wide enough that you don't have to visually hunt for where to put your finger.
Then there is this:
Gestures. Rather than having to go into the task switch by pressing the dedicated button, then lifting my finger and scrolling through the various options, then lifting my finger and choosing what I want, I can slide my finger on the home button until I get what I want, then let go.
I can also slide up if I want to see something more like what I'm used to albeit in a much nicer interface.
Now all I need is a brain scanning system so that I don't even have to move my finger.
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