Lenovo’s Productivity Interface For Android Tablets
Android tablets are seen as being less productive than either Apple iOS or Microsoft Windows devices. Some manufacturers are tackling this perception head on, such as Lenovo, which includes a “Productivity Interface” with a number of its tablets. Lenovo has a broad tablet range encompassing the YOGA devices plus the more mainstream slate-design models. The Productivity Interface is an optional tweak to the user interface designed to make Android look and feel a little closer to Microsoft Windows. We have even seen rumours that a Motorola tablet would be getting this view, but so far no new device has appeared. Let’s take a look.
At it’s core, the Lenovo Productivity Interface is a toggle in the device settings menu to switch between the two views. It changes the location of the stock Android buttons work at the bottom of the screen. When Productivity Mode is disabled, the interface behaves as stock Android, with three buttons – back, home, and recent apps – at the centre of the bottom of the screen. These work exactly as expected: if you’re familiar with Android you’ll have no problem using a Lenovo tablet.
Productivity Mode changes this button layout. The back, home and recent app buttons are shifted off to the left hand side of the display. They’re also joined by the “all apps” button, removed from the middle of the homescreen dock. To the right of this is a scrollable icon list of recently used apps. This scrolly list of recently used apps mirrors the “recent apps” button and display. If you swipe a recently used application from this list, it’s removed from the on-screen display. You can also remove an application from this list by holding down on the icon and then dragging it up off the bar.
In use, Lenovo’s Productivity Interface works well, even if it’s a duplication of something already present on the interface. It’s easier to switch between recently used applications, although Lenovo should probably remove the “recent apps” software button to avoid duplicating effort here. Lenovo also go one stage further and the tablet suggests switching to Productivity Mode when you connect a wireless Bluetooth keyboard. Also, with Lenovo’s tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, you benefit from Android’s native additional features such as split screen multitasking.