With the festive season just around the corner and the Nexus 7 at the top of many Christmas lists, Google is stepping up competition in the tablet market by urging developers to create better tablet apps for Android.
The company has published a Tablet App Quality Checklist, which it says will make it easier for developers to ensure their apps meet tablet users’ expectations. Key areas in the list include optimising layout for larger screen, taking advantage of the extra screen area and using icons and other assets that are designed for tablet screens
Google doesn’t say it, of course, but in focusing on screen size the company is reflecting one of the weak points for Android tablets –notably that many apps are just blown-up smartphone applications that do nothing to take advantage of the tablet’s bigger screen size.
This is an area where Apple and the iPad are streets ahead. At the launch of the iPhone 5 last month Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that 250,000 of the 700,000 apps in the App Store have been specifically tailored for iPad “to take full advantage of the larger, beautiful canvas”.
The Nexus 7 may have been a very strong entry into the tablet market for Google – selling out on the Google Play stores in the US and UK on release – and there are a range of impressive Android tablets available from other manufacturers.
But if Google is serious about taking on the iPad it will need Android developers to up their game on tablet apps. Hence the Quality Checklist – but also a raft of tips coming for Android developers.
“The Tablet Quality Checklist is a great place to get started, but it’s just the beginning,” Google wrote on its Android Developers Blog.
“We’ll be sharing more tablet development tips every day this week on +Android Developers. In Android Developers Live, Tuesday’s Android Design in Action broadcast will focus on optimising user experience for tablets, on Thursday we’ll be interviewing our tablet case studies during Developers Strike Back, and on Friday’s live YouTube broadcasts of The App Clinic and Friday Games Review will be reviewing apps and games on Android tablets.”