Android P DP2 introduced the very controversial gesture navigation during last week's Google I/O, and with it came a new interface for the app switcher (aka Overview or Recents). Instead of scrolling up and down to move between tiny cards of your open apps and swiping sideways to close them, you now scroll sideways between full snapshots of your open apps and swipe up to close one of them. One detail that slipped by us, though, is that this whole interface is now bundled with the Pixel Launcher, not the Android system.

This was alluded to during the I/O Keynote with Dave Burke mentioning that "architecturally what we've done is combine the All Apps and Overview spaces into one." I cued the video below at the right time in the presentation.

Mishaal Rahman verified it by disabling the Pixel Launcher with adb and noticed that the old vertical scrolling overview screen came back. Moreso, on the Essential phone, which runs the P DP2 beta too, you enable the gesture options in the launcher and not the system settings.

We're not yet sure of the implications of this, but theoretically, it might mean that enterprising developers could port the gestures to other devices like they did with the Pixel Launcher. It could also mean that these gestures would now be officially exclusive to Pixels and Android One devices.

Google seems to be on the path to decouple the app switcher from AOSP, like it did many other elements before such as the keyboard and the launcher, and is now serving its own version of it. On a positive note, that means updates could come to the Overview menu through the Play Store (what a revolutionary idea!). On a negative note, we keep marching slowly but ever so surely away from open source software.