Samsung finally gets onboard with virtual navigation keys on Galaxy S8

After years and several generations of flagship devices, Samsung finally took a step with the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ that many people have been clamoring for. Samsung finally got rid of the physical home key and navigation keys and switched to the use of virtual navigation buttons that are part of the user interface. Although this may seem like a basic change to the overall workings of an Android smartphone, Samsung still managed to add a couple nice features to try to set their implementation apart from the competition.

Out of the box, users will find that Samsung decided to layout the new virtual buttons in the same order that they traditionally put their physical buttons – recent apps, home, back – which many people consider to be “wrong” since it varies from Google’s recommended layout. The good news is that this order is configurable to an extent and one of the options is the Google standard order. This is easily set in the settings, display, navigation bar area. Once in that settings area, users will also find they can set the color of the navigation bar to something other than black if they are so inclined.

In another innovative move, Samsung has configured the area where the home button is located to be “always on.” This means users can press and hold the spot where the home button is located to turn on their device, even when the home button is not visible because the display turned off. This ability to access the home button is also available if the device happens to be running an app in fullscreen mode.

Samsung also added controls so that users can configure the amount of pressure necessary to trigger the home button. This is also achieved in the settings area for the navigation bar.

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.