Are Android app developers just lazier than their iOS counterparts?

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android-developers

I am currently reviewing an Android tablet. As a rule, I use tablets exclusively in landscape mode. So, I have this tab configured not to switch to portrait and I am installing and running apps. I immediately noticed two things:

1. Many Android apps do not have a tablet mode.
You know that split screen mode like you would find on the iPad. Twitter, Facebook and a host of other apps on Android are just bigger versions of the standard smartphone apps. And it looks terrible.

Facebook for Android

See the pic above? That’s Facebook app on a tablet. No; that’s not how to do a tablet app. That’s just taking an interface designed for smartphones and slapping it on a bigger display.

2. Some Android apps display only in portrait mode on tablet.
What gives? Yes; I launch them, and they open up in portrait mode. I either twist my neck to be able to read/use them, or turn the tablet to hold it in portrait.

Portrait-only app on Android

The second pic above is an example of an app that displays in portrait mode only. Bad. Appalling actually.

Laziness?
I’m sorry to put it this way, but its no wonder that the iPad rules the tablet space. It looks to me like in general, Android app developers are just lazier than their iOS counterparts. I cannot find any other logical conclusion for this.

Yahoo Messenger split

The exceptions seem far in between and few. The Yahoo Messenger app (above), for example, has a tablet view that gives the user a split screen interface. Same goes for WordPress. Kudos, guys. The others? Shame on the developers. Most of them. Get back to your PCs and tweak your apps some more for tablet support, and then perhaps Android tablets stand a fair chance of doing well against the iPad.

For now, with the appalling level of tablet support on the Android platform that I see, there’s no fighting chance. Pick up an iPad, and the majority of apps – at least the ones that I have used – look stunning in split screen mode. That’s what sets the iPad apart from the iPhone. I don’t want a giant Android smartphone in my hands. I want a tablet. The apps should reflect that I’m using a tablet.


I can’t shout please.

READER COMMENTS

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  1. Display Orientator ( http://is.gd/eXSdL4 ) should mitigate the Orientation problem of most apps..

    It has a feature to swap the x and y coordinates, for tablet apps that are stubborn regarding orientation.

    ///

    It is doubtful if the Android Programmers are a different set from the iOS ones.

    Besides, you are lazy not because of the platform you write for, but because is intrinsic to your nature.

    Many App Developers develop for both platforms, so we can not easily compartmentalize Android Programmers from the iOS ones.

    One reason for the difference in tablet app quality could be the fact that Apple vets all the apps submitted to the AppStore for quality (and other nebulous factors), while Android does not.

    So, only the good Software Author get exposure.

    I can write any crap, and place it in the Google Play. All Comers’ affair!

    Less likely, it could be a matter of the difference in the quality and comprehensiveness of Development Tools (APIs) made available by the two platforms to the Software Author, that make the difference. I say less likely because many Android apps exist that look and work great on Android Tablet.

    Most likely there are more bad (lazy?) programmers than sterling ones..

  2. My thinking is that the Android developers have little incentives customizing their apps to work well on Android tablets because of the slow uptake. Economy of scale you know. They are more concerned about phone and I’m convinced they are doing just fine in that area.

    I think Google and the device manufacturers should be the ones to encourage developers to adapt their apps properly for optimized view and operation on tablets. I could be wrong there. unfortunately, it is like a vicious cycle where lack of optimized apps for tablets is putting consumers off while the slow adoption rate is impacting negatively on the user base and in effect, discouraging developers from channelling energy on tablets.

  3. I think it is because to write apps for android tablets is not as commercially viable as writing apps for the iPad so the android developers don’t pay too much attention to the android tabs. The volumes are not there I think.

  4. Android app developers lazier….hm lemme see, the same developers who gave us Flipboard for iOS also gave us Flipboard for Android. Same goes for Twitter and Facebook, the example being used. So is it the developers with the problem or the platform for the tablet?

  5. the same developers who gave us Flipboard for iOS also gave us Flipboard for Android. Same goes for Twitter and Facebook, the example being used. So is it the developers with the problem or the platform for the tablet?

    Noni,

    The platform has no problem in itself. I included two examples of Android apps that have the split screen feature implemented for tablets. If some apps have it working, there’s no reason other than laziness for the others not to have it.

    Look again. Same developer or not, it is laziness, pure and simple. What exactly would it cost these developers to add split screen functionality for tablets? If someone says or thinks that the Android platform isn’t viable for development, why bother at all?

  6. … If someone says or thinks that the Android platform isn ’ t viable for development, why bother at all?

    Well I think it is not the Android platform that is at issue here but rather the tablet segment. The developers are not devoting enough time and effort or probably not devoting resources at all to the tablet segment. What you have on your tablet are probably versions of the apps that were made for phones but with higher resolution icons included in the package to enable the apps scale well on larger screen phones in the landscape mode without pixilation, like the Samsung Galaxy Note. And you appear to have acknowledged that with this statement:

    See the pic above? That’s Facebook app on a tablet. No; that’s not how to do a tablet app. That’s just taking an interface designed for smartphones and slapping it on a bigger display.

    Maybe laziness, but I doubt that very much. I still believe that the numbers and the adoption rate is not encouraging them enough to design interfaces targeting tablets on Android. And well, that very much could be labelled laziness but it is laziness engendered by lack of motivation just like we don’t have so many developers working on Bada OS right now.

    Assuming the Blackberry Playbook used the same package as the blackberry phone, if you take an app that does not have the tablet version and slap it on the Playbook, you will get similar effect. You may tag it laziness alright but the laziness is not something inherent or unique to Android developers but rather more like a business decision. Maybe with this launch of Google Nexus 7 tablets, that will begin to change gradually.

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