The visual changes are part of the new version 4.3 update
Google Contacts is not an app that we think about a lot but end up using almost daily, depending on the number of calls and texts we get per day. Google has been tweaking Android’s default contacts app for a while now, recently adding Material You widgets while also finally allowing users to create and edit contacts on the web version of the app. The company is now making some visual changes with an update to the tablet version of Google Contacts.
Yes, one might conceivably be editing their contacts list on a tablet. It happens.
This update — version 4.3 as 9to5Google reports (available via APK Mirror) — makes some crucial usability-related changes to the design, primarily by shifting the bottom bar of tabs to the left side of the screen, thus making it more easily accessible in landscape mode, especially on a screen as large as those on tablets. This design would also be useful in upcoming tablets such as the OnePlus Pad, which has a unique 7:5 aspect ratio.
The repositioned bottom bar icons, including the floating action bar for creating a new contact, the Contacts tab, the recently updated Highlights tab, and lastly, Fix & manage, are positioned vertically on the left-side railing in that order. Tapping the contacts button opens up a list of the people you know on the center left of the screen, with contact detail fields appearing on the right-hand side. While the search bar on the top is only half the width in the Contacts pane, it expands to a full-size version when inside Highlights. It’s unclear if this behavior is deliberate or merely a glitch that could be fixed in a forthcoming update. Meanwhile, the contents of the Highlights and Fix & manage pages are positioned in the center of the screen with the former leaving plenty of space on either side in the process.
The rollout appears to have begun already, so if you own one of the excellent Android tablets available today (or are using your Android apps with a terrific Chromebook), look forward to version 4.3 of Google Contacts.