Forget Windows 10, Sony's Bringing a Start Menu to Android

By Gerald Lynch on at

Sony’s Xperia Z4 Tablet, its MWC 2015 centrepiece, is looking very good indeed, not least of all because it hasn’t overlooked that most maligned of tablet users -- the productivity focussed working stiff. Not only is the tablet being shown off alongside its own BKB50 Bluetooth keyboard stand, it’s also made tweaks to Android Lollipop that tip their hat to Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Chrome OS.

The most obvious of these is the addition of a Recent Apps launcher that looks incredibly reminiscent of the Windows Start Menu, set to make its much-heralded return in Windows 10. When the tablet is docked in landscape mode with its bespoke keyboard, the lower left hand corner of the screen will offer a button that reveals a user’s most recently-opened applications. Using the keyboard’s laptop-like trackpad, clicking on it sees a pop-up list appear, also showing off a battery indicator and settings button.

The Windows-like additions don’t stop there though. Sat next to the Recent Apps launcher is Sony’s equivalent of the Windows Task Bar (or Chrome OS Launcher), which houses app shortcuts spread over three tabs. While the Recent Apps launcher can’t be customised, these can, giving you easy access to your most-used applications when you’re locked in to comfortably using the keyboard’s trackpad.

As it stands, Sony’s OS tweaks look as though they’ll be exclusive to its own Xperia Z4 Tablet/ BKB50 keyboard combo. But for anyone that’s found the transition from Windows laptop to Android alternative a little too jarring, Sony’s attempts at bridging the gap will be welcome and attractive. It may not be enough of a reason to swing a purchase in Sony’s direction, but with the rest of the Xperia Z4 Tablet looking like a winner too, it’ll simply be a cherry on top for anyone looking to get some work done.

Click here for our full hands-on look at the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet.

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