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This article was published on May 6, 2021

Google is zhuzhing up Android tablets with a hub for entertaining content and games

Google is zhuzhing up Android tablets with a hub for entertaining content and games
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Google is finally paying attention to making Android on tablets more useful with a new hub called Entertainment Space.

This feature combines all things entertainment — videos, TV shows, movies, games, and books — under a new page. The new hub will live on the left side of the home screen that you can access just with a swipe.

Once you sign into apps that you subscribe to, you’ll start seeing content in the Entertainment Space. This will allow you to search for stuff across the services — just like you can on a lot of smart TVs. Sadly, Netflix shows won’t appear in recommendations, as the company is not on board this hub for now.

Watch tab in Google’s new Entertainment Space for Android tablets

Watch and Read sections have markers for titles that you left midway so that you can jump back right into that TV show or book.

In the Games sections, you can explore new games or continue playing your already installed favorites. Plus, Google has enabled Instant Play for select games, so you can try them out before downloading.

As The Verge noted, to be featured in Entertainment Space, companies will have to make their app available on the Google TV platform or make changes to code according to the upcoming guidelines on the Android Developer portal.

The search giant said that this feature is rolling out to Walmart onn. tablets (weird choice) right now and will be available later this year on Android tablets by Lenovo, Sharp, and others. It’s surprising that Samsung has no mention here despite being one of the leading tablet sellers in the world.

Last year, people started to pick up their old tablets or buy new ones because of being at home all the time. Google said that it saw 30% more people interacting with their tablets in 2020. According to a report from analytics firm IDC, tablet sales grew by nearly 20% year-on-year in Q4 2020.

While Google’s new feature seems useful, the choice of rolling it out to select tablets seems like the company is holding back. Not exactly an iPad-beating strategy.

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