It seems that Google has hit quite a snag with its latest Android 4.4 version and its Nexus 10 tablet. The tech giant has reportedly introduced a line of code in its upcoming Android 4.4.1 minor update that will disable translucent bars on its year-old large tablet due to performance reasons.
One of the more subtle changes introduced into the latest iteration of the Android platform was the use of translucency, particularly in the navigation and notification bars. This feature allows wallpapers to take advantage of all the available pixels on a device’s screen. Translucency always involves a certain addition of complication and workload on a device’s hardware, and it seems that the Nexus 10 is unable to handle it gracefully for one reason or another.
XDA member JosephRaphael dived into the Android 4.4.1 update code and discovered a line that disable translucent decorations on the Nexus 10, codenamed Manta. A comment on the code simply indicates that the effects perform poorly on the device. He thinks that it could be a problem with the GPU or that the new system has trouble handling the full 2560×1600 resolution of the device. Another user by the online handle of Matthileo theorizes that this is due to the tablet not being able to handle overlaying one object on top of another, which produces visible graphical glitches.
Whatever the technical cause might be, it seems that the Nexus 10, which was released a year ago and runs on a 1.7 GHz quad-core Exynos processor, is not up to the task that the new Nexus 5 or probably even the 2013 Nexus 7 can flawlessly handle. That said, as Matthileo points out, Google should strike the problem at its root and not simply disable the feature. Perhaps this is only a stopgap measure while Google attempts to properly resolve the issue. Or perhaps Google will just be focusing on a new Nexus 10 tablet, or maybe even a Nexus 8.