Google's Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" operating system is getting better at making existing Android phone apps usable on tablet computers.
Android team is adapting the next build of its Android 3.2
"Honeycomb" tablet operating system to let Android tablet owners
choose two modes with which to access phone apps not originally intended for
the larger tablet form factor.
idea is to boost the paucity of apps available for existing Honeycomb tablets,
such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10, Toshiba Thrive and Acer's Iconia Tab 500.
keep the few apps that don't resize well from frustrating users with
awkward-looking apps on their tablets, a near-future release of Honeycomb is
introducing a new screen compatibility mode to make these apps more usable on
tablets," wrote Scott Main, Google's lead tech writer for the Android
Android 3.2 arrives later this summer, any app not written to target the
original Android 3.0 Honeycomb specifications will include a button in the
system bar that allows users to toggle between two application viewing modes on
modes are "stretch to fill screen," which provides normal layout
resizing, and "Zoom to fill screen," which when enabled does not
resize an app's layout to fit the screen.
mode runs the app at 320dp by 480dp, scaling to fill the screen, which means
more pixilated images, according to this side-by-side
Google Maps comparison of the two modes
warned that developers' apps that already resize well should be updated
"as soon as possible to disable screen compatibility mode so that users
experience" the app the way the author intended.
where an app does not properly resize for larger screens, screen compatibility
mode improves the app's usability by emulating the app's phone-style look, albeit
zoomed in to fill the screen on a tablet.
offered some other cautionary tales, such
as the fact that screen compatibility mode likely makes for an inferior user
experience for developers
who have already written their apps for larger
screens, in his blog post.
3.2 is already rolling out to Motorola Xoom users
, according to CNET
. The build, which follows the
current Android 3.1 version, will include support for 7-inch tablets, Qualcomm
chips and media sync from SD cards