Google has confirmed that the new Android N feature called Launcher Shortcuts will work on pressure-sensitive displays like that found on the fancy version of the Huawei Mate S. While the ability to recognize pressure-sensitive input first appeared way back in Android 1.0 and has been functional since API level 5, Google may have finally found a useful way to implement it.
So will we see a 2016 Nexus with a pressure-sensitive display? Maybe. If Huawei’s recent trademarking of the name Huawei 7P does indeed pan out to be for the next high-end Nexus device, there’s an obvious correlation between the company’s use of Force Touch in an existing device and Google confirming native software support for the hardware in Android N.
Of course, this could just as easily be a circumstantial coincidence and HTC might make this year’s Nexus (or, at least, one of them). But whether or not we see a Nexus with 3D Touch this year or not, Google has confirmed that its new Launcher Shortcuts will work on pressure-sensitive displays, which means developers can create apps and gestures to make use of the capability on any compatible device.
Unfortunately, the list of devices with a Force Touch display is pretty limited right now – just the Huawei Mate S, Vernee Apollo and ZTE Axon mini as far as I’m aware – none of which are likely to be jumping to Android N any time soon. So while the support may well be there, our best bet is still to cross our fingers for a force-sensitive display on this year’s Nexus or another new device likely to get Android 7.0 out of the box later this year. In the meantime, we can rely on the ersatz “Force Touch” alternatives we already have: long-press and gestures.
Do you think Force Touch on Android is necessary? How can you see it being implemented?