Google is trying to make Android tablets interesting through "entertainment space"
Android tablets may have been on the decline, but it seems that the pandemic makes us care about them again. According to Google, last year, “compared to the previous year, we found that the number of people using Android tablets has increased by more than 30%.” To make these devices more useful, the company today announced a new project called Entertainment Space. Function as a portal to all the media applications you have installed.
In a blog post, product manager for Google Play James Bender wrote that Entertainment Space is "a one-stop, personalized home for all your favorite movies, shows, videos, games and books." During a virtual demo, Bender showed Engadget how to access the new feature on a Lenovo tablet. On supported devices, Entertainment Space is the "minus one" page, meaning it sits on the left of the home screen where the Discover feed typically is on Android phones.
At the top of the page are three tabs: Watch, Games and Read. Each of these will feature a carousel that spotlights what Google believes are timely recommendations based on your interests, followed by rows of suggested content from the company's own services or apps you've installed. You can go into Settings to prevent an app from showing up in the recommendations.Google
Those who have used Google TV will find this interface familiar. In fact, the Watch page is very similar — it pulls suggestions from streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Disney+, but also brings in Android apps like Twitch, for example. The layout is the same for the Games and Read sections, and though I didn't see any recommended titles apart from those from the Play Store at the moment, Bender told Engadget that Google is working with third party partners to get their feeds into the system. That means that in time, you should see suggested books from Marvel Unlimited, Amazon's Kindle and Audible in addition to the Play Books store.
With Entertainment Space, Google promises "you’ll save time and avoid having to hop between apps to try to figure out what to do, whether it’s to watch, play or read." Of course, you'll have to go through an initial setup process involving signing in to your accounts on the apps you want to give Entertainment Spaceaccess. Those whose tablets are shared with others can create personalized profiles for each user to maintain the relevance of their recommendations.
Entertainment space will be available in new devices from Lenovo, Wal-Mart and Sharp. Although Google did not specify when these products will all arrive, it said it expects to launch Wal-Mart tablets this month. There will be an over-the-air update later this year to provide entertainment space for users who currently own one of the three brands of Android tablets. If you don’t want Entertainment Space to replace anything currently located on the left side of the main screen, the ability to close it will depend entirely on whether the company that manufactures your tablet (ie Lenovo, Walmart, or Sharp) allows this option. Those with other brands People who have an Android tablet and want to get Entertainment Space may get it later-Google told Engadget that other unnamed OEMs are also expected to introduce the feature to their devices later this year.