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We were all very excited by the new features and software upgrades released and announced at Google I/O 2015 this past week. Included was the release of the Android M developer preview for a short list of Nexus devices. Including the Nexus 9 tablet, which we just happen to be giving away for free this week.

As we dive into the new Android release, we’ve found a number of cool new features, including a split keyboard option for the Google keyboard on your tablet, and a three position dynamic notification shade drop down. Let’s take a look at those real quick.

Image credit: Duncan Adkins via Android Police

Image credit: Duncan Adkins via Android Police

The split keyboard functionality is not a new thing for Android, especially on tablet sized devices, however, this is a first for Google’s keyboard. The premise is simple, it can be a little difficult to extend your thumbs all the way across the screen of a tablet, so the keyboard splits into two and pushes the buttons to the sides to make it easier to reach when two thumb typing.

The dynamic placement of the new Android M notification shade for tablets is also not a new thing, we just haven’t seen it in a while. The idea for this is also very simple, Android on your tablet will now try to drop down the notification shade as close to your finger as possible, choosing from one of three set locations. The default location is dead center, as it has been for a while now on Android tablets. From there, the shade will shift left or right depending on your finger placement.

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These are not ground breaking ideas or new tools, but it is great to see Google putting effort into fine tuning the Android experience, taking advantage of, or at least taking into consideration, the larger displays found on most tablets. It will be interesting to see if any of these features also roll out to phones that have near tablet sized displays themselves, like the Nexus 6.

What do you think, will having a split keyboard or multiple locations for the notification shade make your Android use any better or easier on your Android M powered tablet?

Be sure to follow along all of our Android M coverage in our Diving into M series.

Jonathan Feist
Android purist and enthusiast, rarely more than arms reach from a stock Nexus 7. Often accused of being a Google fanboy, proud of it. Proponent for Android customization and personalization, if you can change it, make it your own!