Ever since the introduction of Material Design, its not-so-new company-wide design language, Google has changed a number of things — like, for instance, its logo — that have affected almost the entirety of its looks.
Most of them were particularly notable on Android — the software keys inside the navigation buttons, for instance, were aesthetically overhauled with Lollipop. But it looks like the company has another redesign of these buttons in mind for later this year…
To make them more inline with the general look Android was assuming, the old buttons — which worked particularly well to visually showcase the function of each key — were reshaped to resemble more primitive and elemental shapes such as a triangle, a circle and a square (the latter of which still invoked the idea of the card-based task switcher very well).
As per an Android Police report, however, Google is looking forward to slightly tweak those keys, with particular attention given to the circle home button. For one, instead of being simply outlined by a white line, the buttons — in what is said to be the final version of Android N, like will run on one of the upcoming Nexus devices, like the HTC-built “Sailfish” — will now have solid color inside them.
Granted, the image is only a recreation, as AP was unable to share its primary source — which also means that these changes may not actually take place come the unveiling of N’s final version. As said, however, the home button is seeing the most interesting changes; it’s said that the colored semi-spheres surrounding the circle should “animate in some fashion when long-pressed, with the various colors expanding in their corresponding directions until they all file out horizontally”.
Good luck imagining that.
It is also unclear whether this is just a fancy animation to go along the activation of Now on Tap, but that seems plausible. It is in doubt, too, whether such a change will affect AOSP as a whole or be exclusive to Nexus devices, but we’ll make sure to keep you updated come Android N’s release later this year.