With the launch of the original Google Nexus 7 well over a year ago, we saw the first appearance of the interface affectionately known as “Phablet UI.” Not quite the standard 10″ tablet layout that we had first seen in Honeycomb and certainly not the phone layout; this new layout was essentially a combination of the two depending on orientation, application, and so on. Many have grown to tolerate and even favor the layout on the 7″ form factor, and there is certainly good rationale behind the shift. However, this isn’t the whole story, as its effects on SystemUI.apk also caused the Android soft keys and notification area to become separated and thus require more display space on an already cramped screen.
Ever since Paranoid Android appeared some time ago, we’ve been easily able to swap both layouts and dpi on a per-app basis. This meant that if we wanted to, we could easily keep all applications at default, and only modify SystemUI.apk to show up in tablet layout. This allows us to combine the notification and softkey areas, while leaving everything else untouched. However, there are those who would prefer to stay as close to stock as possible, and they would have previously been out of luck.
Now, thanks to XDA Forum Member Caldair and previous work done by a host of other developers cited in his thread, you can get Tablet UI for SystemUI.apk on the 2013 Nexus 7 running stock, rooted JSS15Q. The modification is not without its faults, though. For starters, applying the mod seems to not play nicely with the stock launcher, so users must install an aftermarket launcher. Secondly, the quick toggles will no longer work when the modification is applied. Despite the flaws, however, many will be eager to make the most of the limited screen real estate and switch to Tablet UI. Best of all, the developer has provided restore files for those who may have forgotten to create a backup of the original files before flashing.