Hubs for Tablets, the way they should be.

Posted Apr 03, 2012 at 12:20 pm in Threads > Smartphones & Tablets

Like alot of people, I jumped on the HP Touchpad firesale. Not because I loved webos (though it is a very good OS and I use it more than I thought I would), but because of the promise of an affordable android tablet. It was a great investment, especially at the price.

But for a long time I have felt as though android on a tablet, even with ICS, was missing something. It just didn’t fit right. It didn’t translate to the bigger screen well, if at all. I used at most three home screens, and two of them really went unused. And the widgets were lacking, which should be android’s strongest point. It’s what the ipad will never seem to have.

I was satisfied enough with the experience for the price I paid, but the more I used my android tablet the less I could see ever paying $300 to $600 for it. Until I came across hubs.

Hubs on a tablet is a layout theme that completely transforms the way you go about using and navigating your tablet. Here’s a few sample picture of mine (that I’m still tweaking).


One of the things to note is that I’m using multipicture livewallpaper to give every “hub” a different background, and those different backgrounds cycle. Keeping them fresh. You’ll also notice the bar throuh the middle labeling each hub. Those labels work as navigation to jump straight to, say games. And there’s an invisible button that lets me jump straight to the games I have loaded on my tablet. (Pictured here to explain better).


These hubs have brought new life to my tablet. And I have t thank XDA user fliparsenal for putting together an excellent tutorial on putting the layout together. Be warned, this takes awhile. I think I spent two hours setting it up initially, and I still feel like there’s more to do to give it a more complete feel. But it’s worth the time, and I’ve linked the tutorial below. I’ve also linked a youtube video showing hubs in action.

Do you think hubs are a good idea? Or not worth the time? Are you already using a hubs like layout? (Post screenshots!) Or something better? Or do you just think I’m completely wrong and ICS works great out of box without any such efforts. Let me know.

Source: XDA hubs tutorial
Youtube: Hubs video

  • jaxidian

    This reminds me of a tablet version of the Scrolling Wallpaper 2.0 setup.

  • Stigy

    Sorta reminds me of Spaces on OSX where I would break certain applications up based on what I was currently doing. I like the concept although it seems like a lot of clicking to accomplish a task.

    Do you find you click more than you normally would if you had it laid out normally?

    • Canterrain

      Not particularly, no?
      Well, yes I click more. But I swipe and scroll less. If I want a game, I click game, click my game list, and now I’m not swiping through my whole list of apps to find it. This can be done without the hub setup, but this adds a lot of polish to the process for minimal use effort.

      • Stigy

        Fair enough.

        Personally, I think it looks awesome but was just wondering about your experience with it.


        • Canterrain

          The experience is very smooth. Overall it might have a few more clicks (but not much). But it adds such a visual flair and polish that it is well worth everything.

  • Bryan Stoner

    I think hubs are a tweaked translation of the XMB for the PS3 and PSP. But I can’t complain, they are a great idea.

  • pekosROB

    An entire section just for Church? Definitely wouldn’t be on my tablet, but I like the idea. But why is the hub in the middle of the freakin’ screen? Is it just me or does that seem kinda… in the way?

    • Canterrain

      As a Pastor the church hub is extremely useful to me. You can’t see everything I have there (because hey, I recognize that Androidandme isn’t the time or place) but I have all the tools I need for research, sermon writing and etc. there.

      As for the hub being in the middle, I originally went that direction for the cohesive look. But as time went on I have started to agree with you, and I’m in the process of turning it into a vertical bar running down the side. This should free up space for widgets and the like.

  • ml

    Wow. I made hubs years ago on my tf101. I’m going to try this out on my new tablet. Hubs are great and I totally forgot about them. I came across your site by accident and will be reviving hubs for sure!