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Google is nixing launcher shortcuts in Android N

Derek Walter | May 20, 2016
A 3D Touch-style feature may eventually come to Android, but it's being kicked down the road to a future release.

Android N brings a number of new features, but it turns out 3D Touch-style launcher shortcuts won’t be among them.

New documentation from the Android Developers site details the removal of the feature in Preview 4, which probably won't land for several weeks since Preview 3 just went live on Wednesday.

“We’ve decided to defer this feature to a future release of Android. We plan to remove the Launcher Shortcuts APIs (ShortcutManager and others) from the public Android N API starting in the next developer preview,” the site details.

3d touch shortcut 
Launcher shortcuts give you quick access to specific functions inside of an app, much like the 3D Touch feature on iOS. Credit: Google+

The feature is still in Preview 3, so you can play around with it if you’ve downloaded Android N to a Nexus device. The concept is that developers can build in shortcuts to their app. Though unlike on the iPhone, it would require a gesture, such as swiping up or down, to implement. On iOS, 3D Touch works only with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, which were engineered with pressure-sensitive displays.

While a few Android developers dabbled with implementing such launcher actions, it appears that their learnings will need to be filed for a later date. 

The story behind the story: Google and Apple are in a constant battle to borrow one another’s features. 3D Touch is certainly something Google has its eyes on, as it makes jumping into a specific action much faster from the home screen. However, with Android there is a massive diversity of hardware: Google announced at I/O that 600 new Android devices have launched in the last year.  So any new feature implementation needs to account for the massive fragmentation in screen sizes and hardware out in the Android ecosystem.


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