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Being that ICS is the merging of the phone and tablet versions of Android, what is different in ICS when it is used on a phone from when it is used on a tablet?

** Clarification:** This is referring to vanilla ICS

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Assuming just vanilla ICS, with no custom UI from a manufacturer/carrier or anything:

  • A phone has a status bar at the top and soft buttons (or hardware buttons) at the bottom. A tablet will only have the bottom bar, with soft buttons on the left and clock/notifications on the right. The notification pane pulls down from the top status bar like in previous versions on a phone, but it pops up from the bottom-right corner on a tablet.
  • The default launchers and home screen layout are visibly different. The app drawer on a phone is in the center bottom, on a tablet it's top right, and phones have a sort of "dock" at the bottom that is visible on all home screens (tablets do not). Also, the Google search bar collapses on a tablet but is persistent across the top on a phone. The home screen transition animation is also different.
  • Apps that use the Action Bar will display a bit differently. On a phone the bar will almost always be split between the top and bottom of the screen, with some options on each portion of the bar (possibly unless they use very few icons/actions). On a tablet it just uses the top of the screen because there's plenty of room. Google Music is a good example of this.
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The bottom bar on a tablet is apparently called the Combined Bar, since it combines the Navigation Bar (soft buttons) on the left and the Status Bar (clock/notifications) on the right. – w3dk May 22 '12 at 7:53

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