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Android 10 phones may have to hide third-party navigation gestures

Google policies reportedly require them hidden away.
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Chris Velazco/Engadget

Are you fond of the custom navigation gestures on your Android phone? You might have to go digging for them in the future. The 9to5Google team says it has obtained the latest Google Mobile Services agreement for device makers, and the terms reportedly require that phones ship using either Android 10's new gestures or the old three-button layout. Third-party gestures can stay, but they have to be hidden at least one level below in the Settings app. Vendors not only can't enable their own gestures by default, they can't even be advertised in the setup process or by a notification.

Companies that want to keep Android Pie's navigation gestures can do so for updates on existing devices, but it appears that new devices won't have that fallback.

We've asked Google for comment. If this is accurate, it puts some Android hardware creators in a tough position. Brands like Huawei, OnePlus and others frequently advertise their custom gestures as stand-out features. The new policy would effectively negate those customizations. That could provide a more consistent user experience between devices, but it could also diminish variety in Android devices and give you less reason to pick one phone over another.

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