Here’s One Good Reason Android Tablets Don’t Match up to iPad

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The screenshot above is of the Quora iPhone app running on my iPad 2. It’s in 1X mode – iPhone size basically floating on the bigger iPad screen. It can also be run in 2X, doubled up, mode – so it fills the screen but loses quality as most any image does when sized up from its original size. Oh, and it also doesn’t rotate at all as iPad apps do – it forces you to use it in portrait mode.

I’m not trying to pick on Quora – I really like their Q&A site and use it often. I’m just showing this as a quick example of one of the things most iPad users discover very early on – while iPhone apps may run on the iPad they are mostly quite crappy to use compared to true iPad apps.

What made me think about this? MG Siegler’s recent post titled ‘Works Fine’. Here’s why:

When discussing whether or not there should be apps built specifically for tablets, Android chief Andy Rubin noted that “the Twitter phone app works fine on a tablet.”

In this case, I can’t determine if “works fine” is code for “looks like shit” or “‘meh’ is good enough”. Either is absolutely the wrong attitude and perhaps speaks a bit to why Android is doing so poorly in the tablet space.

I absolutely agree with Siegler. I’d say the percentage of iPhone apps on my iPad is well below 5% – because they’re nowhere near as good as full-blown iPad apps. And luckily there are close to 150,000 genuine iPad apps in the App Store now.

Siegler is spot-on in saying ‘“meh” isn’t good enough. “Works fine” isn’t good enough.’

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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5 thoughts on “Here’s One Good Reason Android Tablets Don’t Match up to iPad”

  1. I gave to disagree. The user experience with non-tablet Android apps on tablets is far superior to the user experience with iPhone apps on my iPad. Of course, the number of iPad apps is far greater than Android tablet apps, but that’s not a big deal. Just like it wasn’t a big deal when there were few iPad apps.

  2. I would totally agree with first comment. I’d say 90% of android phone apps work just fine on honeycomb but don’t take advantage of the real estate. I haven’t come across any that don’t resize to fill the screen.

  3. @Franklin – How is the user experience far superior? They are apps not designed to run on tablets? How does that work?

    @markdj – The question isn’t whether apps are able to resize to fill the larger screen – all iPhone apps do that as well, but they look crap at the doubled up size.

  4. There’s not much difference between going from a phone app to a tablet app on both iPad and Honeycomb. The phone apps are designed for touch screens so they are expecting the same type of user input.

    You have the same problem with both Honeycomb and iPad that the majority of phone apps are designed for the small screen, so 2X’n it will look like shit on both.

    I absolutely love Wordwarp on my iPhone, but the devs have since moved and pushed the app to Wordwarp Extreme which does have an iPad version… but I prefer the basic Wordwarp so I have to suffer with the pixelated blotchy shitty looking version on my iPad at 2x. Many of the Android apps I have seen on the Xoom and Thrive suffer from the same visual fuckups, but they still function and work.

    Of course I am not some elitist pig headed Apple sheep who always sides with Apple and think that every other non-Apple product is pure shit, so I see things with a bit less bias.

    1. I think you’re missing the point here. I haven’t said anything at all about iPhone apps scaled up on the iPad being any less shitty – in fact I’ve said the opposite.

      The point is the guy who’s the head honcho of Android says these shitty apps not designed for tablets ‘work fine’.

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