Google is revamping its Android tablet interface with what it calls Entertainment Space, which offers quick access to movies, shows, games, and books in the Play Store. Entertainment Space will be available for Walmart’s Onn tablets later this month, with launches slated for existing and new tablets from Lenovo, Sharp, and other manufacturers.
Google said the new interface is “designed to help you save time and avoid having to hop between apps through easy-to-use Watch, Games, and Read tabs that provide a tailored content experience.”
Entertainment Space works as a launchpad of sorts and builds upon the idea of a home screen. There’s a Watch tab, which lets you switch between streaming services, find content to watch on Google TV, and view recommended YouTube videos. Below that, there’s the Continue Watching row, which you might recognize if you’re currently running the new Chromecast with Google TV. It’ll populate with any content that’s in progress so you can pick up right where you left off. The Games tab works similarly, with pins for the most played titles at the top for easy access. And the Read tab integrates directly with Google Play Books for ebooks and audiobooks.
According to Google, Android tablet usage has jumped by 30%, which is curious considering this latest news bit appears to prioritize the mid-range and low-end Android tablets that have long permeated the market. The Walmart Onn tablets are priced between $40 and $150, with specs as entry-level as 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. These tablets compete at the same price point as Amazon’s popular array of entry-level Kindle tablets, typically priced from $50 to $200 for the Fire HD 10 Kids tablet.
Worldwide tablet market share still favors the Apple iPad and Samsung’s tablets. However, there has been slight growth among Lenovo, Amazon, and other manufacturers offering mid-range and low-end tablets.
The Android tablet as a concept is still struggling to find its footing. With Entertainment Space, Google might have some luck creating a one-stop content shop for those buying inexpensive Android tablets. At least in the U.S., it’s a chance to introduce that part of the market to Google’s offerings, including movies and TV shows available to buy and rent at comparable prices to Apple and Amazon.