I don't like the direction Google is going with its UI for tablets

I am not a fan of the recent changes to the UI of 10 inch Android tablets (messing up with the navigation soft keys and adding an extra bar on the top for notifications).

With yesterday’s revamped Youtube app on 10 inch tablets, I am starting to notice a very bad trend with the way Google is approaching UI design on large tablets.

Google seems to think that the first priority above all should be consistency of UI across devices. While I agree it is important to have a consistent interface, it shouldn’t come at a cost of the UI not being optimized for the hardware.

The new Youtube app is a perfect example of this approach. Where previously the old carousel interface allowed me to view 15 videos in landscape, now I can barely see 6 videos. Also, the iconography is so blown up (especially the side bar), it makes the whole app feel like a giant phone UI. The app also lacks some key features available earlier (like pressing back in full screen exits the video now), but that is a different story.

What saddens me is that Google nailed the UI on tablets on day one with the original Honeycomb interface. It had all the navigation buttons in the right place and the screen real estate was used effectively. This is also true for apps like Youtube where the old interface made perfect sense.

So, it sucks to see Google making these questionable UI designs of late, especially when they had a very good/well optimized UI to begin with. With all the furore on lack of tablet optimized apps, the last think we need is Google pushing its phablet interface on first party apps.

What do you guys think about the way Google is approaching Android UI design on tablets? Does it make sense to you?