Today we're brainstorming about ICS. That's Ice Cream Sandwich. Tablet Edition:
For starters, the Apps Button is now a permanent fixture next to Back, Home, and the Switcher. We're taking the lessons of desktop operating systems to heart: The Apps Button is analogous to the Windows Start Button. It should be accessible all the time. No more having to hit home just to get to your apps.
After the Apps Button, we're going to fill the bar with whatever the hell we want. This is Android, it's supposed to be customizable! Let us drag and drop things to the status bar just like the home screen. Pin your favorite apps, permanently have a music player down there, or a power widget, or weather, or your next appointment. Basically anything you can stick on your home screen, if it fits, should be allowed on the bar. Many 1x high widgets would scale well right now. A bunch of multicolored shortcuts would be distracting, but luckily Honeycomb can desaturate icons on the fly.
You guys know Chrome OS actually multitasks better than Android? Yep, that chat and video panel idea are directly stolen from Chrome OS. Floating windows would be a little much, so I want a Facetime/Chrome OS mashup: docked, minimizable panels that you can fling from corner to corner. Just think of all the cool things you could have in a popup panel: a small calculator, a notepad, facebook chat, a checklist. Better multitasking is the point of a bigger screen, isn't it? Oh, and this is a perfect spot for video. I've lost count of the number of times I've gotten a notification while watching a movie. I want to shrink the movie for a few seconds, look at my notification, and maximize the movie again.
Here's another big screen benefit:
Split screen. This needs to happen. 16:9 is almost 2:1. You could stick 2 vertical fragments next to each other like this with almost no UI changes at all. Honeycomb even gives you separate back buttons for each app. All you would need is a long press option to "Open in split screen" and a button to go back to full screen mode. Chrome and Windows 7 have a "snap to screen half" option, and some phones even have 2 screens just so you can multitask like this. We've got the screen space, the tech, and the demand for this feature. Make it happen.
I'll say it again, tablets should not be big phones, they are small computers.The big difference between a Tablet and a phone should be the ability to multitask. Make the software as capable as a desktop OS. Put the things I want at my fingertips. Make it customizable.
How about you? What do you want your next Tablet or Phone to look like?