Tablets have been a “thing” for over 10 years with the biggest success clearly being the Apple iPad. There have been some very good Android tablets along the way — I still miss my Nexus 7 — also. Since screen sizes increased though, they haven’t really been great. A couple of recent actions by Google suggest it’s ready to take a big shot at the tablet market.

Android 12L

When it launched, Android 12L was the first acknowledgement from Google that larger screens need a different approach. This covers everything from the visual design aspects of the OS, to multi-tasking and compatibility. The onus of making the tablet experience great isn’t just on the app developers, Google has a huge part to play.

12L refines the system UI to make it more beautiful and easier to use on large screens—across notifications, quick settings, lock screen, overview, the home screen, and more.

On large screens, the notification shade takes advantage of the space by showing Quick Settings and notifications in a new two-column layout. The lock screen also uses a larger two-column layout to highlight notifications and clock, and system apps like Settings are also optimized.

Wanted: Senior Engineering Manager, Android Tablet App Experience

A new job listing shows that Google is hunting for the right person to head the growth of the tablet experience. This is far bigger than a brief glance would reveal though for a few reasons. The one that really caught our attention is that Google considers tablets to have a part to play computing future:

We believe that the future of computing is shifting towards more powerful and capable tablets. We are working to deliver the next chapter of computing and input by launching seamless support across our platforms and hero experiences that unlock new and better ways of being productive and creative.

The other very interesting note in the job listing is more in what isn’t said. There isn’t anywhere that makes note of specific hardware product development or Google devices. The focus from the listing responsibilities is around app experiences and alignment with stakeholders which — through another Tablet focussed job listing — includes OEMs.

The increased focus from Google on Tablet and large screen compatibility undoubtedly will benefit the rumoured Pixel Notepad, but broadly speaking all Android tablets will benefit in the long term.

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Paul Warner

I sure hope so. Bought an Amazon 10″ Fire tablet last week. Big mistake. I hope that Google goes back into the tablet market but not at a premium price.


This is great news. I decided to replace my aging iPad with a Nokia T20, having already been on android phones for the last three years or so.

The T20 is a great device, but it very much just feels like ‘big android’. Apps scale up correctly and those sort of things, but the lock screen, notification shade etc just all feel like blown up versions of what you’d get on a regular android handset.


ICS 4.1.2 had the tablet taskbar precisely perfect.
The example pics of the 12L UI looks more like a giant button split screen, designed specifically for people with poor vision and/or motor control.

In terms of actually refining the look, no. Very definitely NO. This piece of hideousness looks like it is Google’s attempt to ‘Hold my beer’ to how ill conceived the Microsoft Metro Start screen/menu is.


Just give me Galaxy Tab S quality hardware running ChromeOS already….


Totally agree. I wonder where this leaves ChromeOS?

I much prefer my Lenovo Duet Chromebook to Lenovo Android tablet.


I gave away my Nexus 10, I still have my Pixel C. I’m curious to see a new take by Google. – However, I may prefer Linux over Android. – Sent from my iPad. 🙂