Pushing for better tablet apps, Google adds new developer optimization tool

Android tablets essentially began life as super-sized smartphones, meaning apps weren’t optimally sized for bigger screens. This was a valid early criticism of Android tablets that I witnessed firsthand in 2010 when I bought a 7-inch Galaxy Tab. I often found very large buttons in apps or text that didn’t fit properly in a section of an app.

Unlike Apple’s approach — which offers apps specific both phones and tablets (save for the universal apps) — Google doesn’t support have tablet-specific apps. Instead, the company created guidelines and coding tools for apps to work properly on both phones and tablets with a single .apk installation file. But developers have to take advantage of these and properly code for different screen sizes. Not all of them do; in fact, I’d say a fair amount actually don’t. Hence, Google is trying to subtly nudge developers to do so with the new optimization tips tool.


For the second time in two weeks, Google(s goog) is showing increasingly serious commitment to Android tablet applications. Last week, the company announced support for tablet app screenshots in the Google Play store. On Thursday, Google introduced a new tablet optimization tips tool in its developer dashboard.

The new tool allows developers to see how their app “is doing against basic guidelines for tablet app distribution and quality.” That means upon uploading a new or updated version of an Android app, developers will get instant feedback on how well their software is optimized for Android tablets.

Google tablet optimization tip

If a developer didn’t target the right screen sizes or Android version for tablets, for example, they’ll get a reminder to do so. After addressing the un-optimized app components, devs can then upload a version better suited for larger-screen Android devices.

So why the big push? I can think of two reasons:…

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