The first tablet running Google Android 3.x hit the streets 4 months ago, but there are still only a few hundred apps designed specifically for Android tablets. Sure, you can run virtually any Android app on a Motorola XOOM or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. But apps that are designed for tablets simply look better since the text, graphics, and layout are all designed for the larger screen — and they’re often designed to look great in landscape mode on a tablet with a widescreen display.
With big-name companies including Acer, Asus, Motorola, Samsung, and Toshiba bringing Honeycomb tablets to market this year, why aren’t we seeing more Honeycomb apps in the Android Market? Computer World’s Brent Rose interviewed half a dozen top developers and got some answers. The conclusions clearly aren’t definitive… but they do tell us something about why there are hundreds of thousands of apps for Android phones but just a few hundred for Android tablets.
- While Google offers Honeycomb developer tools, it still takes a lot of work to take an app designed for a 4 inch display and retool it for a 10 inch high resolution display.
- Nobody wants to go through all that work until it’s clear that there’s demand for Android tablet apps.
- It doesn’t help that the Android Market doesn’t make it particularly easy to find apps optimized for tablets (except for a handful of featured apps), so even if you do develop a tablet-optimized version of your app, there’s no guarantee users will notice.
Ultimately there’s a chicken-and-egg problem here. Developers are holding off on writing apps for Honeycomb tablets until it’s clear that people are buying Android tablets… and many customers may be tempted to buy an iPad instead when they realize there are 100,000 apps for that platform and a minuscule fraction of that number for Android tablets.