This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week's, see Pick A Phablet Edition: HTC DLX, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Or LG Optimus Vu II?

The release of the Nexus 7 brought a new phone/tablet hybrid UI to Android tablets. And today, most people agree that it works well - on the 7-inch form factor, anyway. The latest leaks from the upcoming Nexus 10 suggest that Google will keep using that same hybrid UI, despite having a display that's a few inches bigger in each direction.

As David correctly pointed out, the result is that the phone and tablet UIs are now virtually identical. This makes it easier for the average Joe to understand it as well as his Android phone. (Or, you know, it would... if manufacturers didn't still overwhelmingly use capacitive buttons rather than on-screen and didn't shoot the UI to poop by using custom UIs.)

N7_ss N10_ss

As Jeremiah noted, there's an obvious downside here, though. 10" tablets are entirely different ballgame than 7". Most people hold their 10" tablet with two hands and operate it with their thumbs (and use landscape much more often), whereas 7" tablets can be held with one hand and operated with the other. Thus, it made sense that the UI was aligned along the sides on the Nexus 7.

The simplest solution is to add a toggle - but let 's be honest, Google probably isn't going to include that option for fear of confusing users when the menus already seem endless in comparison to iOS. And yes, we're going based on leaked, pre-release renders, and maybe it just looks like this because it's not finished yet. Still, it seems unlikely that the layout will change from what we've seen in the leaks.

Which UI do you like more - the old tablet interface, or the new hybrid?

Do You Prefer The Classic 10" Layout, Or The New Hybrid UI?

View Results

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Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Kenny O

    I love it on the Nexus 7. Hard to have an opinion on the 10 having never tried one.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rcastles Robert Castles

    It looks like the new layout will have me hitting the menu bar much less accidentally while gaming.

    • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

      While the placement of touch button is defiantly better, everything else is bad

  • bedwa

    On 7" the blend is good, 10" is too far for either hand. Traditional tab view for me.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    It works on 7" it just works... it's back to gingerbread tablets which were godawful

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      It works on 7 inch because you would be using your 7" tablet/3-5" smartphone mostly portrait, while a 10" landscape. The hybrid UI is favoured towards the portrait orientation.

  • http://twitter.com/soundofguilt Guilherme Santos

    They used to mock the iPad for being a giant phone. So... yeah.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071132386 Jimmy Chen

      What I think differentiates the two now is the fact that you can have informative widgets on the Android homescreen. It genuinely provides more information at a glance as compared to a phone (rss feeds, social networking, weather etc) whilst the iPad is still just rows of icons, exactly the same as a phone's UI. So the Android tablet is more informative and contains more content than the phone, whilst the iPad is just bigger than the iPhone. That of course changes when you delve into apps, but I'm just talking about the homescreen here.

      • mgamerz

        Your argument doesn't even make sense. You're saying android tablets are better simply cause the homescreen grid is different?

        • Troy Leonard

          Yes. I am saying that! It is second only to the openness of the platform , and customization possible.

  • jesus morales

    I did some tries with the tablet in portrait and it does seem like I can reach the midle with my thumb but in landscape I have to hold it at the bottom and use one hand to operate (not really because the menus are in the usual layout so is actually annoying to hold it at the bottom), if I use swiftkey this would be annoying because I type with the thumbs holding it to the sides. I need some hands-on man or better yet, the choice, which probably won't happen.

    • smirkis

      maybe google should think about killing the nav bar entirely. they are having a hard time pleasing the masses with its location and functions. keep the status bar and notification bar at the top, and have developers add a back button in apps. home button in status bar?

      i like the Nexus 7 view, but it is on a 7" tablet, couldn't say i'd feel the same about a 10" tablet, although i'm not fond of 10" tabs anyway, heavy two handed devices, 7" or laptop.if im gonna use two hands, why make it difficult lol. typing on a 10" tab sucks, and so does holding it with one hand and using it with the other.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wrg25 Will Gonzalez

    my money is waiting.....lets goooooo

  • GazaIan

    I would much rather have the combined bar. This new layout makes Android tablets seem like nothing but a big ass phone. And that's not exactly something I would expect Google to embrace considering a shitload of Android apps are designed for phone only. 7 inch tablets, maybe, since they don't look that bad with phone designed apps, but putting the new phone UI on 10 inch tabs is just pushing it,

  • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

    I'm keeping an open mind until I've tried it. The Android design team wouldn't have made this change if their usability tests didn't show an advantage. Android has come leaps and bounds over what it used to be in a short amount of time so I think they deserve *some* benefit of the doubt.

    People don't like change so obvious the old way will win the poll though. Kind of reminds me of the initial outcry over the death of the menu button in favor of the overflow menu.

    • makapav

      Android design team usability tests are a bloody joke. There is so much UI failure across the board it seems like this group is probably perpetually on crack.

    • selonmoi

      For what it's worth, I liked the overflow menu (and removal of the menu button) from the get-go. I do not like the new phablet UI. I'm sure I am not alone.

  • Cuvis

    I've been basically doing a hybrid-style interface using Nova Launcher anyway, so the hybrid UI works for me.

  • Ravynmagi

    Poll probably should have clarified which device it's referring too. The hybrid UI is okay on a 7 inch tablet, but the classic tablet UI is much better on a 10 inch tablet. I think it's a bad idea to try to use a single UI for all devices and screen sizes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      KDE have the same idea with three different workspaces, they know that one UI size doesn't fit all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KDE_Plasma_Workspaces

      Also Windows 8 doesn't work with a keyboard and mouse on the Metro UI too well either.

    • http://twitter.com/savagealien Savage Alien

      The fact that it said "Classic 10" Layout" is enough for me to assume they're referring to 10" devices. The article even acknowledges that there's a difference in how a person would naturally handle a 7" vs 10" device.

  • PhilNelwyn

    Only two options? I'm torn between them. But to see all that black void in the navigation bar looks so ridiculous...

  • Darkbotic

    You should have put a picture of the old tablet UI...
    And also a "Whatever" option...

  • http://profiles.google.com/soapinmouth Eric Steinberger

    I think it's obvious this poll will be skewed towards the old layout, because it is a more efficient use of space, but this change isn't marketed for us its for the typical consumer.

  • LewisSD

    I can't vote because I haven't used the new hybrid layout

  • http://www.androidradar.de/ Leif

    After having a 10" Prime and the Nexus 7 I definately prefer the "new" Tablet/Hybrid UI. With the old UI people to often hit buttons just by accident which won't happen so easily with the new UI.

  • http://twitter.com/UnCiertoRizzi Tu Vieja

    i think is better classic layout. On a 7" displays is not too dificult to use the buttons. On a 10" display is a bit more dificult and you have to use your 2 hands. But i don't complain, is bassically the same hehe

  • Sean

    I think the new layout looks very smart, simple, and cohesive. To put it another way: if the new way was the original design, and we were transitioning to the old tablet design, I suspect there would be far more outcry.

  • Ricardo Sousa

    I preferred this way:

    Only one bar system, but with button applications, as is the new layout.

    • btod


    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      That is better, but I still prefer the old layout.

    • Matti

      Honestly, I prefer that "classic" layout on my Nexus 7 as well.

    • casinrm

      I like the new layout because I hit the nav buttons less while typing or gaming. The only thing I wish were different is that in landscape the nav buttons remain on the side rather than at the bottom kind of like the Galaxy Nexus.

      • S K

        Hmm... never thought of this. Now that you mention it, it indeed was a pain in the ass then lying in bed and reading stuff in my tablet. I would accidentally keep hitting the back/home/task switcher buttons.

        • KevinM2k

          My ASUS Transformer prime, had a system bar lock on to prevent this - before it had it, it was also a pain! The lock works really well though.

    • S K

      This is exactly what I wanted to state as my preference. Thanks for making a nice mockup. Also, the notification area doesn't necessarily need to be a click to expand and can just as easily be a swipe up from the bottom bar. That might work well too.

    • Alessandro Moraes dos Santos

      Perfect the real acessibility with 2 hands on tablet

      Designer from Google are idiots

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000738940938 Moosa Mahsoom

        You're pointing at Mathias Duarte who made Android a design jewel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ray-Sunghwa-Woo/542631978 Ray Sunghwa Woo

    On my Transformer, there's lock button for the bottom bar when you are playing a game. I think that Google should consider that also.

  • PeterHatch

    Hello, webOS layout.

  • btod

    Why do I need a google search bar so big?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      Because they are using the standard phone UI on a tablet. The bar would be big because that is the only element there. It's pretty awkward hence I prefer the old layout.

  • Kernschatten

    I don't like the dock on the tablet either.

  • abqnm

    -Less likely to accidentally hit a nav button.
    -When holding in landscape - have to completely move hand to hit nav buttons or get to notifications.
    -Waste of screen real estate. Not that it will be a huge deal on 10" tablets, but it still seems wasted.
    -Most games hide the status bar, but not the navigation bar. This means that now we will be in a position like the phone UI where we have to exit the game just to see the time or check notifications whereas they would always be there on the traditional tablet UI.

    • http://profiles.google.com/zandmstudios Steven Zang

      Very good point about the notifications thing. I always enjoy being able to see my notifications at all times on my Sony Tablet S...hope Google doesn't force all 10" tablet UI's to the phone/N7 layout.

  • cy_n_ic

    Iv said it before. If google doesnt integrate a toggle custom roms will. Paranoid android is a great example if a rom that can switch ui's on a per app basis so you can even use all three phone, phablet and tablet ui on one device with any app set to the exerence you prefer

  • http://profiles.google.com/wisefire935 Joshua Wise

    I think they both have their ups and downs.

    With the original layout, if holding with two hands at the sides, you can navigate easy, but slip and press buttons on accident. That issue is removed now (Though you do lose the easy navigation.)

    The notification bar means we can utilize expandable notifications, unlike the with the old style, the square area is simply not efficient. But I give Google props for making the change, those who have Android phones may pick up a tablet now with the overall interface being much the same.

    I personally love the notification bar, it sold me on Android from day 1. (I pre-ordered the G1 because of it.) And I love having it on my Nexus 7.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002720972671 Christopher Heidt

    I like the look and the continuity of the landscape and portrait modes in the new 4.2, but I have to admit the older style, although less pretty, was probably more effective, although it's merely conjecture, considering I've never used a 10" tablet...

  • Chris Bozsik

    You know what I never understood? Why not put the app drawer button in the bottom bar? Back, Home, Task changer, apps. Makes sense to me.

    • oneillperson

      First off, I can't imagine that people would regularly need to jump straight to the app drawer from within any app. Also, for those who do, the app drawer button is right above the home button. Tap, tap. Don't fix what isn't broken.

      • BrianLipp

        But putting it on the nav bar (if you kept the old 10" UI) would make a lot of sense. One of the main complaints of the old UI was that everything was in 4 different corners, so if you were using the tablet with 2 hands, mainly using your thumbs, it was hard to reach the app drawer. If it was moved to the bottom bar (along with the search button) it would make everything centered in one area of the device. And, it could easily be hidden or disabled while in an app

      • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

        If I had a phone with software buttons I'd put the app drawer on a long press, with the multitasking button.

  • CaibreGreyblade

    And why can't we have all paranoid options exactly?

  • NicholasMicallef

    I have tried different types of UI using build.prop hacks and Paranoid android on my N7 but still found myself more comfortable with the stock UI, which is not what I was expecting (There are a few exceptions such as youtube and the settings menu) So I won't choose either before actually trying this out.

  • Jeremy626

    wtf. New one is better. Old ui was clunky and ugly. and consistency is the key here. Old ui was confusing for newbs too

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      But look at all the wasted space on the new version.

  • http://twitter.com/jordanlong20 Jordan Long

    Xoom on stock 4.1.2 is landscape with tablet layout (NOT phablet), not sure why it would change.

  • Xiazer

    I think the entire Status bar needs an overhaul.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

    I think Google might be seeing things this way: for them, tablet just haven't worked. Compared to the way Android has dominated the smartphone market, they would be left scratching their heads at why tablets just haven't taken off. Cue the Nexus 7. And they hit the jackpot, a lot of popularity and sales, and they are probably thinking "Well that worked, let's make a bigger version.". Similar to Samsung throwing out a 10" Note. They obviously want to make a change, which is all good, as we've seen good and bad changes made to Android but eventually they all smooth out to form a great product.

  • Simon Belmont

    Classic 10" layout for me. I've been rocking that with CM9 on my HP TouchPad for a while now and it feels more useful and intuitive for a screen of that size.

    Even my B&N Nook Color didn't feel awkward using the classic tablet UI on it with CM9. Though, I've sampled CM10 on it with the phablet UI and I can safely say I don't dislike it for 7" tablets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vuanhtung2004 Vũ Anh Tùng

    even on my friend's N7, I still think that the new layout is too too too stupid. The buttons are extremely hard to reach, and the clock is extremely small.

  • Ben Lewis


  • ssj4Gogeta

    They really should make use of all the wasted space on the bottom bar. Doesn't make sense, at least not on a 10" tablet in landscape mode.

  • http://www.facebook.com/blaine.jefferson Blaine Jefferson

    I would be really disappointed if this change goes through. I want to say ahead of time I'm skeptical because jelly bean brought no changes to the UI of my Xoom nor did the 4.1.2 update. I'm not even sure I really believe the 4.2 rumors because I figured everyone was getting fired up about jelly bean being 5.0 when it was really 4.1 and I'm pretty sure in this case the "4.2" everyone is talking about is 4.1.2. That's kind of beside the point though.

    First, the dock bar has absolutely no place on a 10'' tablet. I can't imagine anyone at Google is dumb enough to believe that the best place to put an interface item on a two handed device is the center of the screen where you can't reach it without readjusting your grip. The same goes for moving the nav buttons to the center. It works on a 7'' in portrait. It might even work on a 10'' in portrait, but I for one rarely ever have my tablet in portrait. I really love the interface the way it is and it's much more functional this way. I won't be upgrading to a new version until Google or Cyanogenmod provides the option to keep it this way.

    If this does happen it will be because Google gave in to ignorant idea about consistency vs. usability. I don't know how many articles I've read from hack apple-loving "journalists" complaining that the interfaces are different without ever really using the product or taking the time to understand why they are different. The UI should be usable the way you naturally hold it. It currently is for 10'' tablets. It won't be anymore if they make these changes and in that case no one benefits.

  • Andrew Ruffolo

    Don't know yet. Will wait to pass judgement

  • http://twitter.com/MysteryMannnnn Mystery Man

    Where is the comparison picture?

  • MrWicket

    wish it was an option, which a dev will make it one, but I see it being like the iPad this way, just a big Galaxy Nexus.

  • TouchMyBox

    Hybrid is alright, but I cannot justify dedicating all those pixels to unnecessary black space on a tablet with a resolution of 2560x1600. I'll be looking towards CM or AOKP or something.

  • TechGuy21


    Even on my Nexus 7. I don't use the hybrid one.

    • Ben

      Dude please tell me where did you get the icon for your App drawer button.
      If you can post a link to download please.

      • Jon Garrett

        that icon comes with a launcher. you can get that with either Apex launcher or Nova launcher. other launchers may have it also but I use Apex and Nova and they both have that.

        • TechGuy21

          actually it came with a theme for theme chooser. go to google play search cm10 themes. forgot the same since i dont have N7 near me

  • jackwhite

    the center one..SO BAD. I have an asus transfomrer prime btw. the centered one with a notification bar at the top is fine for 7" tablets but horrible for anything bigger

  • Adam

    Classic. It's better for the way I hold the tablet.

  • Andrew

    Old layout, without a doubt.

  • Niek Klaverstijn

    I wonder if the old school tablet UI will be built in 4.2 like it is in 4.1.2. It's easy to have the classic interface on a Nexus 7 if you're rooted.

    I also wonder what heated discussion must have taken place during meetings of the development team over at Google.

  • Tee

    It's a bit too hybrid to me. The old clock/time layout was better.

  • grellanl

    Honeycomb tablet layout, without a doubt. The phablet UI doesn't let you access/see notifications, clock and settings while a fullscreen app is active - the tablet UI does. It's really annoying on my Nexus 7 to have to jump out of the Kindle app, game, or video I'm playing, just to check if that message I'm waiting on has come in. You don't have to do that with the tablet UI.

    Also, the tablet UI works well with keyboard/mouse. The phablet UI, not so much.

  • Aloysius Chow

    It's slightly annoying how all the android news sites talk about capacitive buttons like they're 'wrong' or against Google's word. I mean, it's the manafacturer's choice. Besides, it doesn't even have anything to do with this UI conflict other than the soft buttons, which if were capacitive ones, could not be changed anyway

  • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

    Hate the new layout. Hate it enough that this will probably make me hold off upgrading as long as possible instead of jumping when it came out. Heck Ill probably give surface a stab just to see how well it works. I don't plan on keeping a laptop anymore so my tablet has to have some productivity gains.

    Lots of wasted space, the mess of notifications via the phone interface, etc. I much preferred having things in the corners where I held the tablet and having all of the notifications, menus, etc in the same place. About the only way they could have improved it would have been to bring the application drawer down there somewhere.

    Now its nothing more than a big phone interface. Absolutely nothing more, no benefit to the bigger screen other than just a bigger screen. No productivity gains from a more intuitive two handed interface.

  • Pieter Harmse

    It bugs me that we would even need to have this conversation. It is SOFTWARE after all, and Android is king of customization....so why the hell not provide us with both (use whichever you want as default, Google) and let us CHANGE it - even if it requires a reboot to take effect.

    This feels like Microsoft's Modern UI or Apple's iOS "one-size-fits-all-and-we-have-decided-it-will-be-thus" approach. Did not expect that from Google :(

    For the record, I much prefer the "classic 10" layout" (especially on my TF300 with Asus's little center lock) to the new one.

  • Alessandro Moraes dos Santos

    The donkey is google it!

    Agreed to remove the menu, which was on top, and put down my fingers thank you, yes it is accessibility.

    Another stupid Google is the Notifications move upstairs, IDIOTS.

    Hits and misses in Other.

    I do not know if Designer are stupid or do not know what is accessibility for people with reduced mobility.

    Tablet in the form of being with the hand tends to be the menus next to the thumbs of each hand.

    Woe to the stubborn lay Menu Home Central, if you use a Tablet 10VC is required to move the hand to reach the home button, causing tendonitis.

    How are assholes developers google forgotten what is accessibility.

    Notifications spi forced to drop my right hand or left, go to the top of the screen and lower, IDIOTS, rather than being at the bottom pelogares using the right or left, will always always with a steady hand on the Tablet.

    GOOGLE hits 01, and, err 20.

    Accessibility, People with disabilities in their hands, missing fingers, and GOOGLE forgets this, EVEN ARE ASSES.

  • Brad

    The best option would have been to add an option for the user to pick the UI they want when they are setting up the tablet. All this does is further fragment the android ecosystem. When the entire point of the Nexus was to bring it together.

    The next best would have been to completely forget this new UI all together.

  • gumbald


  • deltatux

    I don't like the overblown phone UI interface. It'll work on small screens but it's a nightmare on larger screens. It's like putting Android 2.x on tablets again. It just doesn't work well.

    One reason why I was so excited for Honeycomb, ICS and Jelly Bean (4.1) tablets is because of the "Holo UI" that was introduced. It was innovative and highly usable, I love it on my ASUS Transformer Pad Prime running 4.1. If I ever get the Nexus 10, I hope to flash it back to the original UI because it's much more usable and actually use the screen real-estate.

  • Laborin_HK

    Was actually hoping that google would force the tablet UI onto the phone. PA works well having the combined navbar at the bottom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000738940938 Moosa Mahsoom

    I love the layout on the Nexus 10 although I've a Nexus 7. You'll need to remove Quick Settings to implement the old layout.