Tablet-Only Apps Aren’t Relevant on Android
Rubin didn’t answer the latter part of that question specifically, but he did stress the one-app-for-all-devices strategy. “I don’t think there should be apps specific to a tablet,” he said. He also added that “if someone makes an Ice Cream Sandwich app it’s going to run on phones and it’s going to run on tablets.”
This strategy may caught the media in surprise, as it is squarely opposed to Apple’s strategy of apps separately designed for the iPhone and iPad. However, according to our Xyologic data, this view only reflects the reality of Android apps specifically designed for tablets – these apps have little traction with both developers and users.
Mind you, there are many ways how Android-specific tablet apps can be detected.
Second, these tablet-specific apps have only seen very limited download figures. As of September 2011, a tablet-specific app has been downloaded 350 times, on average. This compares to 1780 downloads of an average Abdroid app on other devices.
You can view an overview of the top 10 most downloaded Honeycomb apps here.
Furthermore, Android does not differentiate tablet-specific apps in its external marketing. Amongst others, the Android Market displays 250 “featured tablet apps.” However, only a small proportion of these apps are apps designed for tablets. Most of them are quality Open GL games like Angry Bird Rio designed for all app devices.
The Android Market is so constructed that it does not pay developers to create an app for a single SDK like Honeycomb. The Android Market does not support discovery mechanisms for tablet-specific apps to consumers – as illustrated by the inferior average downloads for such apps. Clearly Google wants developers to create single Android apps that scale differently to different screen sizes. Just like Andy Rubin stated.