I've been using Google Pixel 3 XL since its launch two weeks ago, and I totally agree that Pixel 3…
I’ve been using Google Pixel 3 XL since its launch two weeks ago, and I totally agree that Pixel 3 offers the best Android experience right now. But there is an aspect of the Android experience that I can not follow, and no, that’s not the cruel hack. It’s the scary bad new multitasking system, which is mandatory at this year’s Pixel generation, in addition to the ability of the old familiar Android button trio that we had with Pixel 2 on the same Android 9 Pie OS.
On its surface, new approach to switching between apps looks a lot like that Apple introduced with iPhone X. It depends on swipes and shares two of the same basic gestures: a sweep up from the bottom of the screen gives the multitasking overview, while lateral swipes across the lower navigation bar flip between apps. Like my colleague Dan Seifert, who argues for everyone, should copy iPhone X’s gestures, I think Apple’s implementation of this approach is wonderful (in its animations) and quickly becomes second nature when you understand the basics. However, Google is filled with internal contradictions and painful irritations.
Google’s first major sin to implement these new gestures on the Android interface is that the company refused to get rid of a basic old. The app box, the place where you stash all the apps you do not need on the home screen, have long been reached by sipping from the bottom of the screen. (At least in Google’s taste of Android.) Now the same sweep is how you go into multitasking mode, which is good and good ̵
1; I’m not afraid of change – but Google thought it was wise to still have an upward string to come ate the apple box, just a lot longer and terribly unnatural. With a phone Pixel 3 XL size, it is a good practice to practice a fullscreen sweep.
When I want to access my apps, what usually happens, I fail to complete the uncomfortable long sweep, quit the multitasking menu, and then I do another quick string to get to apps. This may sound smaller, but it really takes away from the speed I can access my less common apps. Even though I filled half a dozen home screens or folders with those apps, it would still take longer than Google’s previous, smooth system to sweep up and pick out the desired app immediately. Where it has ever become fluid and fast, Google has now introduced frustration.
The slimest aspect of Apple’s iPhone X / XS Navigation is how to swipe across the bar at the bottom to switch between apps. Google has a full version of this. First, it lacks the smooth animation of Apple’s system. On the Android screen, the appliance shrinks back, slides to the right, and then zooms the previously used app in full view. This animation is broken, with the latter app showing up on you.
Apple’s navigation also allows the user to drag left and right between apps, while Google only switches between the last used app and the current one. To go further back, you do not swipe more, you have to hold your finger to the right of a navigation bar that pops up and acts as a scroll bar in the desktop stand. The problem there is that I can never judge the right amount of companies to do to get to my desired app. With the iPhone, I know that the fifth most recently used app is five swipes away, I can do it without watching or noticing the phone. With Pixel 3, I need to carefully select exact right to let go when the phone flips between my recently used apps. It feels like trying to go for a skating.
Removing the comparisons with Apple’s gesture-based interface, which is still not one of the favorite UI teas. How about Google’s existing multitasking system in previous Android iterations? It had a dedicated software button to access multitasking so that there was no conflict with the app box, and I could double click that button to switch to my most used app. It was fast, but it was easy to transform into an unconscious habit. There is nothing simple or natural about Google’s new system.
Another undesirable change in Google’s latest multitasking view is that you basically only see your current app in it, with only vertical damper of the two adjacent apps. In earlier versions of Android, you would get a vertical stack of apps and let you click to access older apps faster. Samsung still does it, and when I download Galaxy Note 9 with Android 8.1, I’m having an interface upgrade when you switch apps.
In summary, Google has reduced the usability and information density in multitasking without getting much of anything. Even if you think, as Google does, the trio of the Android software buttons must go to simplify the experience and allow more space on the screen for other uses, it has not happened with the iteration introduced on Android 9 Pie. There is still as much space on the screen at the back and home button as it used to be with the previous three buttons.
I do not think Google’s new multitasking system is an irreversible disaster but I also think it’s worth being the default and only option for the company’s signature version of Android on Pixel 3. Just give us the old option back, Google, while ironing out kinks in your new one.