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Google Wants Android Devs to Forget About 'Menu' Key

Article Comments  18  

Jan 26, 2012, 3:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today explained in a blog post that it wants developers to stop creating applications that support the dedicated Menu button. Moving forward, Google wants all apps to use the ActionBar that's part of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Google explained, "Not only should your apps stop relying on the hardware Menu button, but you should stop thinking about your activities using a 'Menu button' at all. Your activities should provide buttons for important user actions directly in the Action Bar (or elsewhere on screen). Those that can’t fit in the action bar end up in the action overflow." Google hopes that this move will create a more uniform look and feel to the behavior of Android devices and the applications that run on them. Android devices originally shipped with four buttons, including a dedicated Menu key. The Galaxy Nexus, the first Android 4.0 device, does not have a Menu key and reflects the experience that Google is seeking.

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Jan 27, 2012, 9:43 AM

Wasn't the whole point..

...of Android to allow developers and manufacturers the freedom to develop how they see fit?
Times do change... there is some value in controlling the user experience

Google could stand to control it a little, liek they seem to be doing lately

Apple takes controlling the user experience to a whole other extreme... this comes with some b...
Captain Ahash

Jan 26, 2012, 5:43 PM

This drives me nuts.

All this does is waste screen real estate for something that is already handled quite well with the menu button.
Agreed. I love the context-sensitive Menu button. Love how it works across all apps and how it is universally functional.

Sad to hear this new direction...

Jan 26, 2012, 4:04 PM

Touch screen only?

I get the feeling that in the future, other than a power button, phones are going to be exclusively touch screen.
i like it! so we can use those buttons spaces for screen! that means bigger screen, same size phone.
That's clearly where Google wants things to go, as evidenced by the Galaxy Nexus.

The volume buttons seem safe.

I do wish the camera button woud stage a comeback. That's an important one. I like that Microsoft makes that mandatory on Windows Pho...
Nokia N9 with Meego is all touchscreen. Looks great.
IF that happens I'll switch back to landline....I detest touchscreens....I want physical buttons.

Jan 26, 2012, 7:19 PM

How about the "Back" key while they're at it?

This is by far the best example of Android's UI non-design. Although a back button isn't universally terrible (its best features are now negated by the quick-switcher in ICS and Honeycomb) , the inconsistent implementation (app state vs. system state) was always a running joke with iOS devs.

Jan 26, 2012, 4:40 PM

Touch is NOT necessarily Better

I don't know why google thinks that an All touch experience is better. I personally miss having dedicated Call/End Call buttons. Also, a dedicated camera button is functional. I have yet to see a high-end andoid with these 3 buttons. I've had the HTC chacha which was great with the buttons but had ridiculously low memory for application storage. I wish Sony would bring back the P800/P900 serious with Android and the flip keypad-- That would rule.
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