Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Samsung’s S8 gets a navigation dock unlocking dot

Well hello there: S8 and S8+ owners in Australia will be able to unbox their phones even more by swiping away the shortcut dock.

You know what can be a little pesky on Android? The navigation bar, complete with its shortcuts. When you don’t actually have physical buttons or passive buttons on the phone – and when your entire device is technically made up of a screen – you’ll find your phone sports the software buttons instead.

They come in all sorts of configurations, and have ever since Google started making the on-screen buttons a part of its mobile operating system, first in the tablet version of Android back in 3.0 “Honeycomb”, but then it reached its way into smartphones, too.

Since then, manufacturers have been making the shift, slowly ditching the buttons below the screen, and going with the on-screen options, because you can make the phone more like one giant screen that you hold.

This year’s Samsung S8 and S8+ get even closer than ever because of those minimal edges on the top and bottom, and the practically non-existent ones on the side, but there’s always been that navigational shortcut dock on the bottom edge.

Not this week, though: an update is rolling out that gives you a little locking and unlocking mechanism for the navigational bar at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to press this little circle which is basically just a dot, and have the dock disappear.

We use the Aviate launcher on our Galaxy S8, but you can still see the effect.

Swipe up to make the dock reappear, coming in from the bottom almost exactly the way the old Windows bar did on Windows 95 and higher, all the way up to where we are with Windows 10, while using the phone will just get the dock to fall down and retreat. Press the dot again and you’ll get the navigational buttons locked in place, the way it has been since the phone launched.

With this change, however, Samsung is even closer to its tagline of unboxing the phone, simply because now the phone really does feel like you’re holding onto a frameless screen, or as close as we’ve seen.

Some apps will struggle with the change, and Samsung’s software compensates with a little message at the bottom appearing that you’ll have to touch to fill the screen with and get that dock to retreat, but that’s a small price to pay for unboxed bliss.

Australian Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners should see the update rolling out across the country, which we’re told brings a few more features, such as more colours for the background and an updated panoramic camera.

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