The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect


Don’t believe the ‘no apps for Honeycomb’ meme

A couple of folks have purported to count up the number of apps that are "optimized" for or "designed" to run on Android's Honeycomb tablet format and reported back tiny numbers like 20 or 50. But Android developer Jean Hsu says the counts are bogus and flawed because, unlike on Apple's iOS, Android apps don't come in multiple versions for phone and tablet.

This is not true on Android. Theoretically, you don't have to push an update that "optimizes for Honeycomb" for your app to look good on Honeycomb. Everything in Android can be laid out relatively, so existing phone-targeted Android apps might already look pretty decent on a Honeycomb tablet.  When we started optimizing Pulse for Honeycomb, it actually looked pretty darn good with no changes at all. Sure, some of the font and buttons were a little small, but nothing a few more lines of xml couldn't fix. One of the first things we did was turn on hardware acceleration, and that made a huge difference as well--that only took one line of code.

My biggest frustration with these articles claiming to know how many apps are optimized on Honeycomb are that they don't explain their metrics. Are they just counting the ones in "Featured Android Apps for Tablets"? Admittedly, there isn't a great way to see which apps will look good on Honeycomb tablets, and the sparsity of apps in the "Android Apps for Tablets" section of Android Market on Honeycomb tablets does make it seem like there are only a handful of tablet apps, but "Honeycomb-optimized apps" is sort of a bogus term. What does it mean to optimize for Honeycomb? Turning on hardware acceleration--is that enough? Adding larger assets to your project? Using Honeycomb-specific features?

-Jean Hsu's blog, March 31, 2011

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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