Taylor Martin from PhoneDog posted a leaked image of Motorola’s Stingray tablet late last night. I know, another one? This one, however, sent in by a tipster, shows off omnipresent Home, Back, and Menu buttions that appear in the notifications bar. No matter the orientation of the device, the buttons are right where you would expect them to be. The dull and unrefined icons certainly aren’t visually appealing, but as Taylor’s source points out, the software is predictably not ready for primetime. The tablet is ready to rock.
Honeycomb still supports hardware buttons, and though the virtual alternative will likely show up on some all screen phones, it’s likely that manufacturers will choose between the two. Despite their unpolished appearance, these virtual buttons solve problems aside from losing their hardware equivalents, as Andy Rubin mentioned in his All Things D: Dive into Mobile appearance. For one thing, the annoyance of manufacturers’ rearranging the order of the buttons on their devices, making the gadget unfamiliar for those coming from another brand, could be a thing of the past if software buttons are just a checkbox away.
It will be interesting to see how OEMs might dress these buttons up in their own Android customizations.