Google Phone app 5.1 adds in new gestures and interface tweaks

The app comes from a Pixel system file dump, so it's unclear at this time if it'll make it to Nexus phones or is just for Google's newest hardware.

Google’s phone app is getting a rather slick makeover.

Whether it’s purely for the Pixel or will come to all Nexus phones, however, we can’t say for sure. The APK comes from a Pixel system dump that includes various image files from the phone. So it’s clearly for the Pixel, but I was able to install the APK on a Nexus 5X.

Version 5.1 of the phone app has new interface, gestures, and a few other tricks. The interface is more refined and matches the overall aesthetic found in the Google Pixel. There’s a translucent blue interface and tweaks to how some of the icons appear.

google phone

The new Google Phone app was made over for the new Pixel phone.

You’ll also see that you swipe up to accept a call and down to decline, a switch from the sideways swiping of the current version. You can see it in action from the following video:

The APK reveals there’s a an application shortcut, which will allow you to create a new contact. This isn’t visible unless you install Action Launcher 3 or wait for Android 7.1 to hit.

Why this matters: Google controls the entire software experience on the Pixel, so we’re likely to see continual refinements over time to get everything just right with the Phone and other Google apps. I’d expect more launcher shortcuts to appear over time as well, so pay attention to future updates if you have a Pixel or Nexus phone.

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Derek Walter

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