Google sparks panic over vanishing app drawer – is this our Android N future? [Updated with Google response]
Update: Google has addressed the video saying that it portrayed an inaccurate version of its UI and that it does not forebode future software changes.
Our original story is below.
What did the humble, eminently useful Android app drawer ever do to attract such animosity? A key component to the way many of us access software on our phones, all of a sudden it feels like the app drawer is persona non grata in 2016, and users of new phones like the LG G5 will have to make a concerted effort to keep using it. Is this just part of a larger movement to transition Android users away from the app drawers we know and love? That’s what a lot of people started worrying about this past weekend, as Google teased some Maps features with a smartphone render that sure appeared to have lost its app drawer.
As you can see in the video embedded below, there’s something weird about the build of Android on this phone. Beyond calling the “Google” app “Search,” the phone depicted here sure doesn’t seem to have its expected app drawer shortcut.
Could this be the interface we’re getting in Android N? Is a new Google Now Launcher in the works, independent of the next Android release? Theories abound, and right not there’s little in the way of hard evidence for exactly what Google’s up to – but like we said, this video sure has a good number of users concerned that Google’s about to totally re-think how we access apps.
Assuming such a sweeping change really is happening, should we start panicking now? While the app drawer may be a familiar, comfortable way to get to our apps, could there be an even better way that we haven’t yet considered? After all, we need to run apps somehow; should we stop obsessing over this possible change until we see Google’s replacement? Right now, we’re going to try and keep our cool until we have some more evidence.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) February 26, 2016