Android tablets just got a big upgrade to fight the iPad

Android tablets Google Entertainment Space
(Image credit: Google)

Android tablets are finally getting some love and attention. Google today revealed the new unified home for TV, movies, games, books and more on Android tablets: Entertainment Space. Shockingly, this is the kind of app that Apple doesn't actually offer on its iPad.

The big feature of Entertainment Space (beyond reducing the number of apps you may use) is based around recommended content. In the blog post announcing this new app, James Bender (Product Manager at Google Play) notes that Entertainment Space will connect to subscription-based apps you're signed into, and will then show you apps from those services in an experience that's "tailored for you." 

Over on an iPad, you'd need to use the TV, Books and App Store apps to go through all of this content. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's nice to see Google figuring out ways to think differently.

In the Watch tab, Entertainment Space has "personalized and trending recommendation rows" of content from services such as include Hulu, Twitch and (naturally) Google TV. The announcement notes "many additional services" will be included. Images of Entertainment Space look very similar to the Chromecast with Google TV interface. Watch will also have recommended YouTube videos.

Then there's the Games tab, which brings an interesting concept over from Netflix: a Continue Playing row, where you can resume the games you last played. Games found here also support the Play Instant tech, so you can try a game without actually downloading it.

Android tablets getting Google Entertainment Space

(Image credit: Google)

The Read tab will have similar functionality, for resuming ebooks you've started, as well as finding and purchasing new titles. Audiobooks are also included. Share your tablet? Entertainment Space is ready for families with personalized profiles. 

Entertainment Space seems like it's meant to replace three existing apps: Google Play Games, Google Play Books and Google TV (formerly Google Play Movies & TV). That said, it will not replace those apps, only augment the situation. This change to emphasize entertainment makes a lot of sense. Tablets, with their large screens, are practically built for consuming content.

This is the latest app reorganization from Google. Recently, Google pulled Google Play Movies and TV from Roku devices and smart TVs, replacing that media distribution channel with similar functionality in YouTube.

To start, Entertainment Space will be available on Walmart's onn tablets, one of the biggest competitors to Amazon's Fire tablets in the affordable Android tablet sector. Other Android tablets, from makers such as Lenovo and Sharp, will get Entertainment Space later this year.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.