If you’re developing Android apps and you’ve been ignoring tablet optimization, you might find yourself in trouble. Last month, Google Play added a designation to its app store that specifically highlights apps created and optimized for tablets. This filter will be the default view whenever a user visits Google Play via a tablet. From the Android Developers Blog:
First, users browsing Google Play on a tablet now see the “Designed for tablets” section as the default view in top lists, to better highlight the apps and games that look great on tablets. Tablet users can still switch the view so they can see all apps or games if they choose.
Second, apps and games that do not meet the “Designed for tablets” criteria are marked as “Designed for phones” for users browsing the Play Store on their tablets.
This can mean big changes for Android app developers. From Gigaom:
This update fixes what has long been one of my prime arguments against Android tablets. Yes, many phone apps look and work on tablets just fine, but before now there was no simple way to determine which was which. Now, any apps and games that don’t meet Google’s “Designed for tablets” criteria will be marked as “Designed for phones.”
This is a huge step forward for Android tablets, and should help narrow the gap between Google Play and Apple’s App Store, which has long distinguished between phone and tablet apps in separate windows.
So if you’ve noticed a drop off in your download numbers (or an uptick in downloads of your Android tablet app), this could be why.
It will also have the side effect of making your user rating and reviews more relevant. Android users will no longer download your app expecting one thing and getting another. Now, if they’re looking for the tablet version of your app, it’s easy for them to find. That means that the reviews they leave will hold more weight.