Google is expected to launch two new Nexus smartphones, codenamed Marlin and Sailfish, this fall. The firm may also add exclusive software to the devices on top of Android Nougat, and now we’re getting a look at one of those features up close.
Android Police got its hands on a GIF showing the new animated home button in action. The short clip shows how a long press of the onscreen button initiates a playful animation with four colorful dots. It’s very similar to the animation we saw earlier this year when the company introduced its new Google Assistant service, suggesting the upgraded button and the new AI software are closely linked.
The report notes that in its current form the animation simply launches Google Now on Tap, which is automatically activated in Android Marshmallow with a long press. However, once Android Nougat arrives, the same action may tap into Google Assistant for various features and shortcuts. The option might make it easy to set an alarm or find a nearby restaurant with some help from the upcoming AI assistant, for example.
It’s still unclear if the new Nexus home button will be available on older models like last year’s Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Android Police also notes that the feature could be tweaked or even scrapped entirely before the Marlin and Sailfish arrive, but after seeing the animated home button in action, we really hope it gets an official launch.