With the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, almost no Android devices will soon rely on the Menu button that was originally first removed in Android 3.0 Honeycomb. A post over on the Android Developers blog today called “Say Goodbye to the Menu Button” details exactly how legacy apps that used to rely on the Menu button will function under the ICS operating system, as well as the best practices for developers going forward. Google explained:
Not only should your apps stop relying on the hardware Menu button, but you should stop thinking about your activities using a “menu button” at all. Your activities should provide buttons for important user actions directly in the action bar (or elsewhere on screen). Those that can’t fit in the action bar end up in the action overflow.
The blog post explained that apps built to support versions of Android before 3.0 will not utilize a Menu button in Android 3.0 or higher, because there is not one. The button that appears in the system/navigation bar represents the action overflow for legacy apps, which reveals actions and user options that have “overflowed off the screen.” The post also noted that Android 2.3 apps have an action overflow button beside the system navigation buttons along the bottom of the screen when running on Android 4.0 (opposed to the top right). In those cases, Google is urging devs to update their apps to remove the action overflow form the bottom navigation bar.