Google is seemingly testing a new double-tap gesture that utilizes the back of the device. XDA
noticed this new feature when toying around with the very early developer preview of Android 11, and it seems that the feature functions like this: you double tap the back of the phone, and a predefined feature gets activated. Yes, we are talking about the physical back of the phone, and the curious bit here is that it seemingly works with cases on.
Codenamed "Columbus", this new feature seems to be intended for Pixel
phones only and not just any Android 11
. It most certainly doesn't require any special hardware to function, just interprets data from the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer sensors and acts accordingly.
So far, you can map the double-tap gesture to any of the following features, but have in mind that they are probably subject to change:
- Dismiss timer
- Launch camera
- Launch Google Assistant
- Play/pause media
- Collapse status bar
- Silence incoming phone calls
- Snooze alarms
- Unpin notifications
To enable this feature, you need a Pixel
phone and the Android 11 developer beta. Additionally, it seems that users would be able to create their own custom activities to this gesture.
So far, it has been tested to work on the Pixel 2 XL
, Pixel 4
, but the Pixel 3
-series would certainly complement the lineup. The Pixel 3a
-series could potentially score the new feature as well.
This new gesture feature will complement the already diverse selection of gesture features that can be found on the Pixel lineup. For example, the Active Edge
frame allows you to squeeze the phone and launch the assistant, whereas flicking the phone twice switches between the front and rear cameras when the camera app is open.
Here's the double-tap feature pausing and playing a YouTube video:
And here's how the double-tap feature launches the Google Assistant: