It’s hard to believe that the hardware/software menu button is still around. Google made it absolutely useless a long time ago with a wonderful implementation of on screen buttons, yet manufacturers insist on putting menu buttons everywhere. HTC’s single menu button takes up as much room as software buttons at the bottom of the display, LG’s software menu button replaces a far more useful multitask key, and Samsung slaps a hardware menu button everywhere it can, whether it’s a phone or a tablet.
If an app detected that your device had a hardware menu button, the action overflow key that displays menus would disappear from Holo apps, forcing you to use the menu button and not giving any indication that a menu is even present. However, on phones with no menu button, it would appear and indicate that a menu is present.
Google was unhappy with that implementation apparently, because Google engineer Adam Powell changed this behavior in KitKat. Instead of appearing depending on the hardware of the phone, it will always be present in KitKat. I used to use a mod on my rooted Note II to show overflow menus despite the curse of a physical menu button, so this new implementation is actually incredibly useful to me. This change was paired with this comment:
Always show overflow buttons on action bars
The menu button is not pining, it's passed on! This button is no more!
It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a
stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to a
flagship device it'd be pushing up the daisies!
THIS IS AN EX-BUTTON!!
It’s just sad to see how many devices still have menu buttons in this day and age. Google moved away from them starting back with Honeycomb, foregoing them completely with Ice Cream Sandwich. Why do manufacturers keep insisting on using them? Either way, this new change will be a big help to the many people who have devices with menu buttons. What do you think of this new change? Leave a comment!