ith the release of the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, one of the earliest complaints about the device was display burn-in (which actually turned out to be temporary image retention.) To address these complaints, Google released an update that lets the system dim the navigation bar after a few seconds. And with API level 27 (Android 8.1 Oreo), Google introduced a windowLightNavigationBar constant so apps can request the system display navigation button colors consistent with a light-colored navigation bar background set via the navigationBarColor constant. With these new features, the temporary image retention issue was largely solved thanks to mitigating the differential aging of the OLED display caused by the static navigation bar. In the months since the release of Android 8.1 Oreo, few applications have been updated with support for the “white nav bar” but it seems that Gboard may be one of them in the near future.
The latest version of the application, version 7.4, is now rolling out on the Google Play Store. Discovered by XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899 (Kieron Quinn of Mighty Quinn Apps), this version of the app is testing a feature which displays a white navigation bar using the aforementioned APIs when the user picks a light-colored Gboard theme. On the other hand, the standard black navigation bar is shown when the user picks a dark-colored Gboard theme. In contrast, Gboard currently always displays a black navigation bar no matter what theme you select in the app’s settings.
Left: (New behavior) White nav bar with light Gboard theme. Middle: (New behavior) Black nav bar with dark Gboard theme. Right: (Standard) Black nav bar with light Gboard theme.
The feature isn’t available for most users yet. Once it rolls out, it’ll go nicely with the new automatic dark theme that is enabled when battery saver is on (which is also in testing.)
The smart replies for apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more hasn’t gone live yet either but we’ll keep you updated on the progress of any in-development features in Google’s keyboard app. You can download the latest version of the keyboard app from the Play Store below.