Hands-On with the New Play Store UI

A few weeks ago, Google Play developer Kirill Grouchnikov teased a new UI for the Google Play Store on phones that included a banner image and a cleaner design. While this UI only seemed to be available to phones and tablets, the newest version of the Google Play Store includes a redesign for the TV as well. This new design is much cleaner and gives users access to more information. Let’s dive into each section.

Home

GPS_510_Home

The navigation drawer has been simplified to four options, greatly simplifying the dozen or so that were previously listed there. Each option, when highlighted, loads the categories on the right. These categories are basically the same as before, but now it’s easier to switch to your apps or settings. There’s a filter specifically for games.

GPS_510_AppsAllAt the bottom of these categories are a few cards to browse all apps of a given type. Although Media & Tools were present before, now there are also specific categories for Music and News. There’s probably enough apps for these categories to warrant them, which is great news for the platform.

GPS_510_Search

One noticeable issue is with search. The keyboard offers a number of suggestions to you, probably based on previous app searches. However, the suggestions don’t guarantee Android TV support. “Cut the Rope” for example, is a popular mobile game but not one that works on a TV. There’s no reason why it should be suggested.

My Apps

Previously, it wasn’t easy to find a list of downloaded apps. Primarily the only ones you’d see were the ones that required updates. Now, there’s a whole section devoted to your apps.

GPS_510_MyApps

There’s categories to display apps that require updates, apps that recently updated, and ones that are caught up.

App Pages

The app detail activities have been modified as well. They look cleaner and seem to present more information.

 

GPS_510_PBS

As you can see, the banner image (or video) is present at the top with options to open, uninstall, etc. below. There’s ESRB information and you can see the description and screenshots below.

GPS_510_PBSScreens

You can scroll through screenshots in this menu or click on one to make it fill the entire screen.

Conclusion

It’s good to see time being devoted to improving the Google Play Store on Android TV. It shows Google is dedicated to improving the experience for users. Over the summer, the Play Store expanded to show over a dozen categories so users could see there was plenty of apps. Now, the Play Store has too many supported apps to put in the same format, so they need to add another level of filtering.

There’s plenty of apps that support Android TV now, with new apps and games coming basically ever day. As more developers improve their support, Google will probably work harder and getting users to download these apps.

The update is rolling out to users over time, but if you want to get it now, you can sideload the Google Play Store from APK Mirror.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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