Jimmy McGee · Oct 12, 2012 at 05:00 pm

Google Wants to See Better Tablet Apps

The main stream media outlets like to say that the tablet market is essentially the  iPad market. They often ignore wonderful devices like the Motorola Xoom. They shrug off other devices with awesome features becoming something other than being a “big screen phone.” For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, with its IR blaster for controlling your entertainment system and the S-Pen for taking notes. The real issue with the Android tablet market is not the hardware, it is the software.

Google realizes this, and to get more people onto their Android ecosystem they want to change this image. Recently there were two posts, a blog post and an informational post, that show Google’s focus on improving the tablet ecosystem.

The first step towards Android tablet dominance is the Tablet App Quality Checklist from the Android Developers Site. Here. Google lays out some basic items that you should focus on for your Tablet App. Items mentioned include optimizing your app for larger tablet screens, using the right resolution graphics to prevent pixelization that comes from stretching and zooming a phone app. Plus, you have more screen real estate on tablets, and they recommend you use it to offer many content intensive screens. For example, instead of just listing headlines, you can show a thumbnail of a photo in a news article in addition to the headline. Other recommendations include adjusting the size of fonts, icons, widgets and touch targets to match tablet screens. Lastly, Google says to not require items that tablets don’t have, such as telephony. They also say to offer at least the same amount of features and functionality as handset apps, if not more.

The second step towards Android tablet acceptance is the Android Developers blog post by Nick Butcher discussing Jelly Bean and Nexus 7, Google’s current flagship tablet. The full SDK for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is now available to developers. Butcher discusses some tips and tricks for optimizing apps for the Nexus 7, and it pretty much follows the checklist discussed above. With the post talking about the Nexus 7’s screen size and its lack of telephony and rear-facing camera. The most important line in his post is perhaps this one.

A lot of work has gone into making Jelly Bean buttery smooth; make sure your app is as well. If you haven’t yet opted in to hardware accelerated rendering then now is the time to implement and test this.

We certainly hope that these checklists and discussions help app developers create wonderful and buttery-smooth tablet apps or tablet versions of handset apps. Google is making a strong push in the tablet market to shake up the iPad’s share. The recent release of a landscape lock and home screen for the Nexus 7 in Android 4.1.2 definitely reinforces this.

[Thank you to XDA Portal Administrator Will Verduzco for the tip!]
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