Google announced its new Nexus 7 tablet at its I/O developer's conference at the end of June, which will come equipped with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The operating system upgrade comes with a host of new features, with one of the most exciting being a refreshed user interface.
The new layout resembles that of an Android phone rather than a tablet, but the Jelly Bean UI will change to fit the form factor of each device it runs on. This means that users will experience a different design for smartphones, tablets, mini-tablets, and any other mobile devices. The brand new Nexus 7 tablets, with a 7-inch screen, will feature a portrait-style layout, where notifications are in a pull down at the top of the device's screen. By contrast, the Google tablet interface seen in Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb uses a landscape format. In this style, notifications appear at the lower right hand side of the screen.
This portrait style is only featured on the 7-inch model, as a Google spokesperson has said that the 10-inch version will retain the familiar landscape format, reported Computer World. This is one example of how the operating system will adjust to fit different screen sizes on various devices.
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, writes JR Raphael of Computerworld.
The portrait format Jelly Bean found on the 7-inch tablet isn't just a larger blown up version of its smartphone interface, however. For example, the Gmail application on the Nexus 7 device features a tablet style set up with numerous panes in the conversation list. While viewing a message, a user will see a single pane when holding the device horizontally, since the home screen is the only part of Android 4.1 that always stays vertical. Basically, the 7-inch tablet's layout is catered to highlight the device's strength, combining the smartphone and tablet experience.
Seven-inch tablets are a distinct type of form factor, but the multiple OS formats doesn't mean that developers will have to worry about numerous configurations. According to Computerworld, as long as apps are coded properly, the adjustments are handled automatically.
This raises the question as to whether or not other devices will also get this custom UI, such as Samsung's Galaxy Note. Android has been referred to as Google's one size fits all mobile operating system by AnandTech, and now this expansion could give the company the innovation it needs to compete against rival Apple. This is the first time an Android mobile operating system has been made to adjust to different screen sizes.