As mentioned in last week's review of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, Google has decided for some reason to use a portrait mobile/phone layout for the tablet.
Motorola is rolling out an OTA 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the Xoom tablet, and ours got it yesterday. The visual differences from 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich aren't really all that noticeable except in the settings menus and the status bar and notifications, which are at the bottom of the screen in the Motorola stock Jelly Bean implementation.
Comparing Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7 v. the Xoom highlights the differences in the Nexus "native" mobile/phone layout v. the Xoom tablet layout. The home screen rotates on the Xoom and doesn't on the Nexus. More frustrating, though, is the noticeable lack of tablet apps for the Nexus as compared to the Xoom.
For example, popular tablet apps such as the USA Today tablet edition and Huffington Post Newsglide do not show up in a Google Play store search from the Nexus, but do when you search using the Xoom. Both have mobile/phone layout versions that show up for the Nexus. I side-loaded both from the Xoom to the Nexus and the HuffPo app worked fine but the USA Today app had trouble with the layout even in landscape mode.
Some apps work with either layout. For example, Taptu, a really nice feed reader app, works fine on the Nexus in either portrait or landscape mode, so apparently it's possible to write one version that works with either a mobile or tablet layout.
It appears that Android tablet app developers have some work to do to make their stuff compatible with Nexus. It's unfortunate that Google couldn't make the Nexus backward compatible with ICS or Honeycomb tablet apps, because it seems to sort of defeat the purpose of jump-starting the Android tablet market and it's likely frustrating for developers as well. And for some reason, Google really wants you to hold the Nexus in one hand in portrait mode.
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