Android interface design guru and shirt connoisseur Matias Duarte has taken to Google+ to answer fans' questions about the upcoming Nexus devices and Android 4.2.
One of the first subjects tackled in the G+ post was the new system button placement on Android 4.2 tablets like the Nexus 10. The new Samsung Nexus tablet, unlike predecessors like the Motorola Xoom, ditches a split system bar and notification area, instead opting for a Nexus 7-like status bar up top. Duarte says this is about keeping the Android experience consistent and simple across multiple categories of device --
This new configuration is based on usability research we did on all of the different form factors and screen sizes that Android runs on. What mattered most of all was muscle memory - keeping the buttons where you expect them, no matter how you hold the device.
Duarte says that in Jelly Bean, the system buttons automatically gravitate towards the bottom of the device, unless doing so would reduce the available vertical space too much.
In addition, Duarte addressed the question of SD cards, which are absent from Google's Nexus devices --
Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it's just confusing for users. If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.
That's the user experience side of the argument, but if you want to get a bit more technical, you should check out Jerry Hildenbrand's take on why Google's Nexus devices lack removable storage.
Source: +Matias Duarte