Android 11 might add double-tap shortcut gesture to Pixel phones

This is a really subtle way to interact with a phone

A new option within the Android 11 Developer Preview has been uncovered that allows users to double-tap the rear of the phone to perform tasks like activating Google Assistant or pausing media.

This feature isn’t live in the standard version of the Android 11 preview, but XDA Developers have found hidden code marked with the keyword ‘Columbus’ that enables the feature.

Once it’s enabled, XDA says that it can trigger the following functions:

  • Launch Camera
  • Activate Google Assistant
  • Pause media
  • dismiss timers and alarms
  • Collapse status bar
  • Silence incoming calls
  • perform a preselected action

I think that the option to dismiss alarms is one of the more exciting features that Google could add to a phone. I have an Echo Dot with Clock, and my favourite feature is that you can tap the top of it to snooze an alarm. Being able to do this with just a phone would awesome.

There are a few drawbacks to this idea, but hopefully as Google gets closer to releasing Android 11, it’s able to round out this functionality to adapt to different situations.

For example, XDA Developers was unable to get the feature working unless the camera could see. This is to stop the it from working while it’s in a bag or someone’s pocket.

While that’s handy, I’m hoping Google will configure the double-tap gesture to work differently depending on what state the phone is in.  If it’s laying facedown and ringing or playing an alarm, a double-tap should stop it. If you’re listening to music or watching a video the double-tap should pause/play it.

The other feature that allows this gesture to trigger Google Assistant doesn’t need to be here since this is a Pixel exclusive feature and Google’s smartphone already features ‘Hey Google’ detection and the ‘Active Edge’ trigger. 

Overall, this feature seems like a very logical addition to the Pixel’s ‘Flip to Shh’ functionality since it allows you to interact with your phone without using the display.

If you’re interested in more confirmed features that are coming along with Android 11, check out our roundup post. 

Source: XDA Developers

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