Apple's lead on pressure sensitive displays on smartphones ends in 2016.
Besides a range of new emojis (and many other features) being baked into Google's upcoming flavor of Android, reports reveal that codes in the core OS hint at support for pressure sensitive displays.
Apple calls it "3D Touch" on its iPhones ("Force Touch" on its Macbook trackpads), but no name has been revealed yet for what Google may be calling the same feature in Android N.
Other features we know will be gracing the upcoming OS include Unicode 9 support for even more emojis, a new API called Vulcan that will give developers more control over the GPU for more powerful apps, and of course, Launcher Shortcuts.
It's the wording used in support docs for Android N's Launcher Shortcuts that sparked curiosity among the Android developer community. These shortcuts would allow users to initiate specific actions within an app.
For example, in sending a message to a person or in navigating home from within Google Maps, it remains to be seen just how exactly one would initiate those specific points within an app. It does sound very much like iPhone's 3D Touch feature, so Kevin Barry (who developed the popular Nova Launcher) attempted a crack at the upcoming feature himself, but did not succeed.
His failure to engage the feature, however, is more due to the fact that no hardware exists just yet to support what may be "3D Touch" or "Force Touch" in Android N. The first hardware device most likely to make use of such a feature, however, would be this year's upcoming Nexus handset.
So far, nothing but rumors prevail online regarding Google's next Nexus, but speculation suggests that HTC might be making another comeback to the Nexus lineup. As a reminder, the Taiwanese manufacturer made the Nexus One back in 2010 and the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and a new HTC Nexus is rumored for this year.
At best, the feature should arrive on other flagships later in the year, after Google's annual I/O developer conference, which is set to take place from May 18 to May 20 in Google's hometown of Mountain View.
Specifics surrounding Android N will be revealed then. In fact, we already know quite a bit since Google surprised the developer community by releasing not just one, but two Android N developer previews so far.