No matter how smart and efficient our handheld devices are, they still perform one basic function: calling. The Google Phone app is among the best at this, thanks to useful features like Call Screen, Hold for Me, and Clear Calling, and it’s one of the reasons Pixel devices rank so highly among the best Android phones. between. However, functions are not everything – aesthetics are also important, and Google is preparing for this with an update that changes the user interface of the Phone app during a call.
The new update retained familiar parts of the interface from previous iterations, such as the upward placement of the profile picture, name and contact phone number, and the bottom-aligned red button to end a call. The biggest change (via 9to5Google ) is the placement of in-call options like mute, keyboard, voice output, and call recording. They are now available on a card from the bottom, and by default you see three options: Keyboard, Mute, and Audio Output Selector.
If you tap the three-dot More button on the card, more options will appear in the row above. The keyboard also appears as an extension of the card. Both the call interface and the background of the card are dynamically themed, in line with Google’s Material You design guidelines.
The new in-call interface
The previous interface placed all in-call utilities in the center of the screen, but often required two hands to operate. The new card-style layout should be much more comfortable for one-handed use – at least when it comes to calling options, as the keyboard is now a bit higher. If nothing else, it’s a visual update in that all buttons are now part of the same overlay.
The old in-call interface
The new calling interface was rolled out widely with Phone app version 98 on the stable channel and is already available on some of our devices. On Pixel phones, it looks like the changes will require additional server-side updates to take effect even in version 98, and they’ll be rolled out gradually. If you have the new in-call interface, you’ll also notice that the new pill-shaped call duration counter in the status bar replaces the floating bubble when using other apps during a call.
Old floating call button (ball); New pill-shaped duration indicator (right)
It’s a small detail, but it makes accessing an ongoing call a little more difficult. On the contrary, some may see it as a welcome change because the floating pointer was quite distracting.