Android Action Bar overflow changes could mark beginning of the end for hardware menu button

When Android started making the move away from hardware buttons, and giving manufacturers the option to present users with fully on-screen virtual buttons, it sounded like we were moving towards a promising future where Android might feel more consistent across devices – you wouldn’t go from using one phone to being confused with another, offering a different assortment of buttons with a different layout. Sadly, that still hasn’t quite happened, and plenty of OEMs keep clinging to those hardware buttons with everything they have. Google seems to be doing what it can to nudge them away from such attachments, and news is going around this week of progress that could lead us away from reliance on a hardware menu button.

Right now, the Action Bar at the top of apps may show an overflow button – that vertical ellipsis of sorts you tap to see additional options. An app can also detect if a hardware menu button is present, and in such cases not include the on-screen overflow button.

With this change, the on-screen overflow button will always be there when an app uses it, hardware menu button or not. This both makes the appearance of apps more consistent, and makes the menu button itself quite redundant. Since apps will look and operate the same regardless of whether or not the button’s there, manufacturers may finally get the message and stop wasting money on implementing one.

Source: Google Source
Via: Android Police

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!