A video on Google Maps' Twitter shows a version of Android that has no app drawer feature. The one-minute video showcased the functionalities of Google Maps in getting around, checking for routes and events tied to particular locations.
The video is a seemingly innocent one, but it has sparked outcry from Android loyalists due to the first few seconds.
In the first few seconds of the video, before it zooms into the Google Maps app, a Nexus 6P was shown from afar. The home screen of the smartphone was displayed, and it can be seen that there was no app drawer.
There have been rumors that the next version of the Android operating system, currently codenamed as Android N, will not be featuring the app drawer, an organization system that has been present in Google's mobile operating system since its first iterations.
Compared to Apple's iOS, which features all the apps installed starting from the home screen, Android uses an app drawer for better organization. This feature is accessible through an icon on the mobile device's homescreen - an icon that is not visible in the video uploaded by Google Maps.
It is entirely possible that the Nexus 6P shown in the video and its operating system could be just a simple mockup. Thus, the omission of the app drawer in the display is not a signal of the removal of the feature from Android N.
While users have been vocal in wanting to keep the app drawer in Android, there could be some users who might want to at least try what the operating system would be like without the feature. Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge owners have the option to do so, as the smartphones come with a new Samsung Labs area in the settings of the devices which allows for the app drawer to be disabled.
For the LG G5, the app drawer has been disabled by default, though the feature can still be brought back through the smartphone's home screen settings.
The question, however, remains. Will Google be removing the app drawer from Android N? If the company does, will users be allowed to install third-party launchers to bring the functionality back to the operating system? These questions might be left unanswered for now, until Google's I/O conference this year.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) February 26, 2016