Is Google aiming for a UI makeover with a radial-style Android menu?

by: Bams SadewoAugust 10, 2012

A mobile OS like Android that runs on smartphones and tablets doesn’t exactly have the luxury of  a big display like its PC counterparts. As such, a menu bar that permanently sits either on top of bottom of the display can really rob users of their precious screen real estate. This is something that has apparently been lingering on Google’s mind, as well.

Patent Bolt has gotten a hold of a number of patent applications that Google has submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, which involves the use of a radial-style menu for the Android browser and Chrome. Forget about the old way of looking for the menu button on top of an application. In the future, you can easily activate a pop-up menu by making a swipe gesture from the edge of the device’s screen.

The thing is, we don’t have to wait for the patents to be granted to see the concept being turned into reality, since Google has already implemented the radial menu option, albeit hidden, behind settings. You can activate the radial-style menu only when running Android’s native browser app (not Chrome, by the way). Simply go to Settings, Labs, and tick Quick Controls.

Since its current implementation is limited only to one app, it will be interesting to see whether Google is actually planning a somewhat grander system-wide application of the pie menu.

There are more detailed explanations and pictures of the submitted patents at Patent Bolt for those interested. What do you think of the radial-style menu? Will you miss having a menu option visible at all time? Or is the radial menu the way of the future?

  • Butts_McButts

    Sounds like Acer’s UI. I’d settle for a more desktop orientated environment with floating windows – the docking bar at the bottom will work better with a standard system tray/notification window.

  • Looks like Fusion Garage’s Grid OS variant of Android.

  • Neeol

    i love the quick controls. it keeps the browser nice and clean without sacrificing much usability.

  • this has already been started on the nexus7/jbean just swipe upon the home button and a radial menu comes up with only google (google now) at the top.. im betting more customization options are coming and ability to add more options/icons to it, as well as dynamic control/options possibilities.

  • MasterMuffin

    I like these kind of things, I’m currently using swipepad which is pretty awesome

  • This would be Awesome, and I’d get bigger screen estate for my nexus 7

  • Stian French

    I thought the point of going to an interface with a software menu button as apposed to a hardware menu button was so you didn’t have to guess if that page had extra options by spamming the hardware menu button. You could see the software menu button and know that that page had more options. Is this concept not the same as having a hardware menu button but now is become a software one?

  • AndroidVesti

    Love the new and slick patent. Something similar is already on the Nexus 7, or so I heard..