Two weeks ago, Google made official the latest flavor of its Android operating system, namely 4.1 Jelly Bean, which comes with a nice range of enhancements over the previously released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
was announced in conjunction with the launch of the first tablet PC in Google’s Nexus series of devices, which should land on shelves under the name of Nexus 7.
The first thing that strikes about the Nexus 7 tablet is the fact that its UI resembles a lot the one of Android smartphones, and less the one of larger tablet PCs.
On this device, the homescreen exists in a vertical orientation, in portrait-style, ComputerWorld
notes, adding that notifications are pulled down from the top of the screen, just as on smartphones.
In comparison, users of large tablet PCs running Android receive notifications in the lower-right corner of the screen. The orientation is landscape on these devices.
Apparently, Google intentionally designed the platform to behave this way on the 7-inch tablet. In fact, it built the new OS flavor with three different layouts, each customized for a different screen size.
While the 10-inch tablets are set to retain the landscape orientation even after the upgrade to Android 4.1
, 7-inch devices will behave differently, for increased usability.
What’s even better is that the UI spotted on Nexus 7 is different from the one present on Android smartphones, and not a simple upgrade for it.
When users rotate the device in landscape mode, some applications will behave differently. Gmail, for example, will show dual panes in this mode, compared to a single pane when the device is held vertically.
Only the homescreen remains vertical at all times, something that was happening on Android 4.0 smartphones as well.
Apparently, app developers will be able to take advantage of these improvements without too much of a hassle. Their software will be able to perform these adjustments on the fly, as long as they have been designed properly.