Google wants its developers to improve the quality of tablet apps. The company on Monday published a Tablet App Quality Checklist to help Android developers ensure that their apps meet “the basic expectations” in terms of features and user interface.
With the approach of the holiday season–and the expected sales of many tablets–Google is encouraging developers to try harder. Google is advising developers to optimize apps for larger screens, to use extra screen space when it’s available, and to use icons and other graphics assets designed for tablets. It is also encouraging developers to make apps just as functional on tablets as on phones and not to require features like telephony support that may not be available on all tablets.
Google’s interest in better tablet apps isn’t merely for the sake of its Android hardware partners and to promote more Google Play app purchases: In addition to the company’s 7″ Asus-made Nexus tablet, Google is said to be developing a 10″ Nexus tablet with Samsung.
Google is in a tablet war with Apple and Microsoft. It’s too early to declare a winner.
The new look-and-feel in Windows 8 will usher in a new software ecosystem with apps created specifically for the new tile-based interface. But the apps in the Microsoft App Store don’t yet compete in quantity or quality.
Last month, IDC raised its worldwide tablet market forecast to 117.1 million units, up from an earlier estimate of 107.4 million units this year. The extent to which Google and Android will benefit from this tablet surge remains to be seen: IDC expects Android’s share of the tablet market to decline from 35.3% this year to 30.5% by 2016, largely due to projected shipments of Windows 8 tablets.