Android Central

With the launch and relative success of the Nexus 7 -- and other popular large tablets -- it's apparent that Google is trying to take Android tablets seriously. One sticking point with Android on larger screens though was the conflict between having separate tablet apps, scaled-up phone apps or universal binaries that can handle all screen sizes. Today on the Android Developers Blog, Google is highlighting several points that Android developers should keep in mind when getting their apps ready for use on tablets.

As a follow-up to previous pushes for better design, these latest guidelines help developers manage making apps look better on large screens by recommending ways to make the app scale properly, make use of the extra screen real estate and improve graphics for tablets. In the post, popular tablet-optimized apps from, TinyCo and Instapaper are highlighted as good examples of what developers should be trying to do with their app designs.

The idea of having a single app available in Google Play that scales and changes based on the device is a very compelling one, provided that developers do a good job of managing those different screen sizes. It's good to see that the Android team is doing what it can to help along the process.

Source: Android Developers Blog


Reader comments

Google wants developers to start building quality tablet apps


I'd love to see more tablet optimized apps. Hopefully tablet sales will start to make development of a tablet application make sense. It doesn't help though when I see some tablet apps not get supported very well. I can use the game fruit ninja for example, that game has probably never had an update on the tablet version. If you're going to make the tablet app please support it the same. I use my tablets all the time and I do actually purchase tablet versions of apps when available.

Consider this a guide or reference for how Google feels a developer should approach to making a decent Anroid tablet app (read: Not Facebook...then again...any Facebook app sucks)

This is great news! If the apps are optimized to work on Android tablets within the same apk that would be fantastic. There are several examples of this being done and it works quite well. I hope developers are able to take advantage of these guidelines!

It is about time Google has made a push for this. There are already thousands of properly optimized Android tablet apps (just check Tablified Market) but we need a LOT more choices to choose from!

I saw the title and thought "No s**t!"

Trouble is, Mobius360, the main argument on why you shouldn't buy an Android tablet is lack of optimized apps. So essentially Android tablets will start selling when there are more good apps available, and devs will start making more/better apps for them when they start selling. Hopefully the Nexus 7 is helping, but it's not gonna happen overnight :-(

So it only took them two years (and the release of their own tablet) to get them to push tablet optimized apps. Speaks volumes about the extent to which they (don't) place their customers first....

If you are going to make an opinion, make an intelligent one based on facts.

Android began supporting devices of various resolutions long ago. In ICS, post-Honeycomb, they introduced OS features to make a single app for various screen sizes easier. Before you cry fragmentation, Google added support libraries to their SDK to give previous versions of Android the same abilities.

Ditto Google has been pushing ICS (aka tablet) support for a while. The main issue was that most phones in the hands of customers were still using 2.2 (now 2.3). It wasn't really until this year that most phones were released w/ ICS.

For developers, getting stuff to be backwards compatible w/ 2.x was a royal PITA. Google released a library that support some tabbed UI support but huge chunks were missing (filled in partially by ActionBarSherlock) so that apps run on 2.x didn't have all the features of ICS...

One program supporting both phone and tablet is good especially for paid apps so you don't have to buy them twice.

I want a really good clock radio app that can turn off with one station and turn on with another, have a nice interface and a large variety of streaming sources including on board playlists. A merging of tune in's station library and shoutcast with a nice interface.

This is so devs can make a one size fits all app.
The same app having to be purchased multiple times for different devices fragments the app.

Upgrading two or three apps to perform the same is tiresome.