Update on Google’s Tablet UI and the Nexus 7
Yesterday I posted about my confusion regarding Google’s approach to a Tablet UI with the Nexus 7. As I said I was a bit flummoxed given that what we’d seen so far was leading to conclusions that the Nexus 7, equipped with Jelly Bean, would have a smartphone UI instead of a Tablet UI. I wasn’t alone in my confusion on this and even said that it was probably a bit premature to make any firm judgements on the issue.
My concern wasn’t with how the device would work with the UI. Instead I was concerned at what sort of message Google was sending with its new “this is what we want Tablets to be” new device. Computerworld’s JR Raphael talked to Google and discovered some more info that ends some of the confusion but also raises questions.
According to Raphael:
Jelly Bean will use different layouts for different tablet sizes. A Google spokesperson confirms to me that 10-inch tablets will retain their landscape orientation and bottom-right notification setup even after the 4.1 upgrade. So, yes, the way Jelly Bean looks on a tablet will depend on the tablet’s size; the OS adapts itself to the device in order to deliver (what Google sees as) the optimal user experience for that particular screen size.
So long story short: Seven-inch tablets are a unique type of form factor, and rather than simply lumping them in with larger devices (or with smartphones), Google is creating a unique in-between category specifically for them in Android 4.1.
Essentially, as long as developers code things correctly, the UI that is presented to the user will conform to what Google thinks is the most optimal experience for that size device. That’s all well and good. So well and good that it should probably be a selling point for developers. At least in my view.
And that’s the point where other questions linger. What not trumpet this news when making the big announcement? While this may have been made clear to developers at Google’s IO conference, why wait to divulge this information publicly until after folks start checking out the device and writing about it?
Those questions are merely ones of PR though. On the technology front, as things advance with future Android Tablets, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.