When it comes to affordable tablets that aren't made by Apple, the Amazon Fire range dominates the market – offering an inexpensive, intuitive experience with media consumption at the center of it. Now Google is upping its efforts in the same space.
The newly-announced Entertainment Space for Android tablets is bringing together movies, shows, videos, games and books in one unified portal, so you don't have to spend time jumping between your various apps to get at the content you want.
It's split up into three tabs, which are Watch, Games and Read – so it covers most of the stuff you're likely to be wanting to do on your Android tablet device, besides browsing the web and checking email. There's also a Continue Watching feature to help you pick up where you left off moves or TV shows.
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As with any portal like this, the question is which subscription services and apps are going to integrate with it. Google-owned apps like YouTube are of course present, and Google's announcement mentions Hulu and Twitch too, but we don't have a full list yet.
Watch this Space
The Amazon Fire tablets run on a modified version of Android, without any access to Google apps and services. The home screens are split up into sections covering video, audiobooks and games, and Amazon services (like Prime Video and Audible) feature heavily, as you would expect.
This looks like Google's attempt to get a similar sort of experience for tablets running standard Android. Entertainment Space is coming to a selected number of tablets from the likes of Walmart, Lenovo, Sharp and others, Google says.
Entertainment Space follows the Kids Space feature that Google pushed out to some Android tablets last year: Kids Space works along the same lines, but all the content is for kids (this is something else the Amazon Fire tablets do really well). Now the grown-ups can get in on the action too, and we're hoping that it prompts the launch of some more affordable Android slates along the way.
Entertainment Space is also similar to the new Google TV interface that's available on the Chromecast with Google TV as well as selected Android-powered TVs – though it focuses exclusively on shows and movies, Google TV brings together a wealth of different content from different apps.