This is Android “3D Touch” coming in Android N

Updates to the Android N developer previews have uncovered some awesome new tidbits such as new emojis, and better app folders, but readers were most interested to learn that Android may start using iPhone-like 3D Touch support. After some investigation and tinkering, we were able to get this feature working on a live device.

The example above is from an actual app running on Android N Developer Preview 2. For the feature to work it must be supported by the launcher and in this case, we’re using Nova Launcher. Why Nova? Because our friend and the app’s developer – Kevin Barry – was the first to get this new feature working and is responsible for much of the result.

The Weather app found in the video was created by our very own Steve Albright to launch Google Weather and demonstrate this new feature. We’re excited to see how both Google and 3rd party developers put it to use.

Two important elements of this iteration are specific to Kevin’s implementation of Android’s new Launcher Shortcuts: gesture and design.

Kevin decided to use a swipe down gesture to launch these shortcuts, but theoretically, anyone creating a launcher – whether an OEM or a 3rd party – could choose what gesture to use. We’re guessing the default “gesture” will be “Force Touch”- something Google seems likely to announce at IO 2016.

The design of the Launcher Shortcuts was also implemented by Kevin. He could have had Nova display these launcher shortcuts in any number of layouts, but felt this pop-up menu was the most intuitive. Steve then used the parameters set by Nova to create the weather app example shown in the video.

Google themselves offer 4 different scenarios where Launcher Shortcuts make sense:

  • Navigating users to a particular location in a mapping app.
  • Sending messages to a friend in a communication app.
  • Playing the next episode of a TV show in a media app.
  • Loading the last save point in a gaming app.

Here are 4 more that I’d personally like to see:

  • Sports – show current scores from favorite teams
  • Trip Advisor – show Top 3 things to do nearby
  • Weather – show the 5-day forecast
  • Yelp – show Top 3 restaurants nearby

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