Sweeping Android changes coming to home screen, notifications?

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For about the past month now we’ve been hearing rumors about some pretty major changes Google could be planning for Android. It all started with word of Project Hera, and while the reports of a whole new way for apps to multitask and present notifications were captivating, the idea was so unlike what we’re used to from Android that it was difficult to fully appreciate the scope of the changes. That was followed up by rumors of a massive expansion of Google Search, bringing the “Ok Google” voice prompt system-wide. Alongside that, we also heard about a redesign to the Android nav bar, dropping the home button entirely in favor of a Google logo that would act as a search button and implementing a new app switcher, one that would be tied to all this Hera business. But what of the home screen itself? Today, this rumor continues to develop, as we pick up new reports about what Google’s experimenting with for its Android launcher.

None of this is set in stone, and while evidence has suggested that Google may be playing around with ideas along these lines, nothing should be taken as certainty until the actual software gets released or an announcement is made.

That said, it looks like Google may be doing away with the traditional user-customizable home screen and the old app drawer in favor of this new multitasking interface. Active apps would appear as cards, while your choice of apps to launch would show up in a grid arrangement reminiscent of iOS. This may mean that things like widgets no longer have a place on this highly modified “home screen,” though it’s still possible that Google may retain traces of the experience – widgets and all. It’s just not clear yet how that might fit in with the rest of these changes.

There’s also word of some big adjustments to notifications, as they take on the look and feel of Now cards. We could see a two-phase shade where the first swipe displays higher priority notifications, and another swipe would be needed to pull up the rest. Google Now might also switch positions, moving from the left of the home screen where it currently lives to down below, which sort of fits with that idea of the Google search button on the nav bar.

How much of this might actually make it into a future Android release? Well, based on all the evidence available it seems likely that Google will go forward with at least some of these changes, but the full scope is hard to judge at the moment. We’d imagine that Google will try to nail down some of its decisions as I/O approaches, so we may have something a little more concrete in just a few more weeks.

Source: Android Police

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!