For those thinking about Android tablets...

Discussion in 'iPad' started by cubist, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. cubist macrumors 68020

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    #1
    e.g. the Samsung Tab: These tablets cannot access the Android Marketplace. Google did not plan the API to support larger screens and they are blocking anything which is not a small-screen phone. So, each vendor will set up their own rinky-dink store. Great, huh?

    Add that to the fact that very few Android devices are upgradable to a newer Android version, with new versions coming out very frequently (we're currently at 2.2, I think, with 3.0 and 3.5 expected real soon now?) and you have a real customer-hostile mess.

    One certainly worth avoiding, imo.:cool:
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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  3. LinkMx macrumors member

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    #3
    That's not exactly true, the galaxy tab does have access to the marketplace (if you don't believe me, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaBi13FnJo8 it clearly shows a market icon on the homescreen). The only devices that don't have access to the market are the ones that are WiFi only, so if they release a WiFi only version of the Tab, I guess that version wouldn't have access to the market.
     
  4. blomma macrumors member

    blomma

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    #4
    Indeed, the only problem i forsee with the android market is the size, since all applications have been designed for a smaller size screen im not sure how the tablet is going to cope with that. Either it will do something akin to what the ipad is doing with phone applications or it will just display them at the smaller resoultion. Whatever the solution it will sadly give a less than stellar user experience for tablet users.
     
  5. thetruth1985 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    So it's a bad idea when they release updates? I thought bug fixes and upgrades was what everyone wanted. Come November, the ipad would have already had 2 updates in 7 months. I have an ipad myself so I don't plan on getting a tab either way.
     
  6. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

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    #6
    It's actually a bit more complicated than that though, because all of the Android tablets that are coming which I know of are all in different formats - be it resolution, size or perspective - as those specifications have been left up to the manufacturers by Google. Sounds like fun times ahead for devs trying to make apps work on a myriad of different formats.
     
  7. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #7
    An Android app is pretty likely to have been written to work on multiple screen sizes already.

    So variations in shapes and sizes won't matter much to apps that use the standard screen definition files and/or calculate positions from the current window size.

    As with any UI, the big problem comes when you use preconstructed bitmap images that might not scale too well to a much higher res screen... usually games.
     
  8. ConceptVBS macrumors member

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    #8
    This is easily rectified with the post above me.


    Apple also has fragmentation issues. It isnt just Android. iOS 4.1 now and 4.2 a little later and so on and so forth.
     
  9. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

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    #9
    But wouldn't it make for very awkward programming when constructing an app that relies heavily on multiple touch elements (e.g. Looptastic)? Having many different touch elements as well as displays that need to be constantly viewable would be a nightmare to arrange in such a way that no matter what size and shape of screen it needs to scale to, the buttons, displays etc. would remain a usable size and shape whilst not shifting position irrationaly.

    The only solution to these apps that I can think of would be to develop an app to use a very limited default size/perspective that they can be displayed in, resulting in letterboxing, hardmatting, pillar boxing or, even worse, windowboxing due to the possible confusion. I just don't see, however, any other way to maintain a usable and intelligible UI for apps with many touch elements.

    I know I am probably getting ahead of the game here, but we can clearly see what a mess just a simple shift from 4:3 to 16:9 has caused for TV, so there must be provisions made now to address the issues that otherwise wil arise when we have several dozen variables which affect user experience.
     
  10. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #10
    I don't understand why some people are constantly out to bash Apple's competitors. Yeah a lot of them aren't as good as Apple's stuff, but you should be rooting for high-quality competition. The existence of an Android tablet or a Windows tablet is a good thing for two reasons:
    1. More good devices means less time waiting for the newest tech at release because not as many people are salivating over it.
    2. More high-quality, competing devices means more competition; more competition (typically) means more innovation and lower prices across the board.
     
  11. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

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    #11
    I'm not bashing - I am pointing out a rather serious flaw which, in my opinion, could result in a serious fragmentation of Android tablet app markets or a less than pleasurable experience with apps.

    As I already pointed out, one mustn't look far to see examples of what confusion just a simple shift from 4:3 to 16:9 has resulted in, yet for touch input devices where resolution as well as perspective is an issue that must be accounted for by developers when formating the layout of their UI, this has the potential to create even more problems than we've had with TV where it was just a simple perspective change.

    As such, I would like Google take charge (seeing as the anarchy that exists amongst manufacturers is obviously to blame) to reduce or eliminate such variables that have the potential to cripple Android. They need to take charge now before too many different tablets with their own standard are already available, because then the horse would have bolted.
     
  12. PhelpsiPhan macrumors 6502

    PhelpsiPhan

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    #12
    Why would you go android when the iPad is available.... seriously?
     
  13. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #13
    I'm about to hit the sack, but I'll answer quickly for now with "it's not difficult" and a question for you:

    Ever use a web page with elements that adapt to the size of the browser window? Hint: such a page uses percentages instead of hardcoded sizes.

    When you program that way, then yes, even something like Looptastic can instantly work on almost any resolution imaginable.

    Off the top of my head:

    • Full Flash on demand. Very useful when a website has nothing else.
    • No wired tethering required to a host computer for OS updates.
    • Able to write programs for friends without paying anybody a fee.
    • No nanny company deciding what apps can be available or called.
    • Will have hardware and size choice from many vendors.
    • Real multitasking with context and a Back key.
    • Widgets possible on every homescreen.
    • Freedom to customize.
    • No iTunes needed.
     
  14. johnle15 macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Samsung Tab

    I actually played with a Tab for quite a bit and was able to download apps from the Android marketplace. Most of the apps just resized to the upper right hand corner.
     
  15. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

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    #15
    But you will need to set a minimum size limit because, unlike with a mouse pointer or a stylus, you need to ensure that the buttons stay big enough in both shape and area to be depressed by the finger of most of the population - upscaling is therefore not an issue (from say 6-7" to 10-11") but vice versa it will be. You will need to therefore set a limit for the maximum number of touch interfaces on a UI at any given time based on the limitations of the smallest table that you wish your app to be available on, unless you add the ability for downsized apps to create sub-menus.

    For example a touch rich app on the ipad may look like this:

    [​IMG]

    But if scaled down using percentages to a wider screen such as the Samsun Tab, the spaces between the rows starts to dimish, as does the amount of text that can be seen if not resized:

    [​IMG]

    Now if we shrink this smaller still, we start to have buttons so small that either you default to using a stylus, or you need to remove buttons:

    [​IMG]

    Now this is only for three different sizes with different aspect ratios (nothing to scale), but imagine how many variables one must account for considering the sizing limitations for touch elements if every time someone decided to make a tablet with different a hitherto unique resolution, size and aspect ratios.
     
  16. kAoTiX macrumors 6502

    kAoTiX

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    #16
    It's kind of pointless posting anything good about Android on MacRumors as the users here can be single minded, Apple driven sheep.
    I guess it's the same with any Android forum though, only the other way round of course.

    Anyway, do people not realise that Android is an Operating System and although it's currently very device dependant there's nothing stopping it turning into more of a Windows platform. Where by you can change the resolution based on what device you have (wow who would have thought of that?!)
    I also dont see why developers would have a hard time developing for multiple devices with different screen sizes. It's not like Android devices come in outrageous screen sizes never seen before. (unlike the iPads 9.7" LCD)

    App developers for iOS seem to have adjusted well enough to developing apps for both iPhone and iPad, it just takes a bit of time for developers to obviously get around to the new learning curve of developing on multiple screen sizes.
     
  17. RobBookPro macrumors regular

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    #17
    For over two decades developers have been making apps that work on many different screen sizes at once, with many of them even allowing you to resize the window :eek:

    The biggest problem in the mobile arena is not size and shape, it is the pixel density of the screen.

    If it wasn't for apple starting the iPhone developer program with such a rigid "design for 320x240 and nothin else", then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. If iPhone apps had been made correctly in the first place, the ipad would have been able to run a lot of them natively to begin with, without the scaling.
     
  18. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

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    #18

    True, but you still need a minimum standard (e.g. 800x600), because otherwise a manufacturer might come out with a device that has some odd format (e.g. 750x750) which would require scrolling, which on a touch device is not ideal.

    I am not bagging Android, BTW, I am just pointing out that Google needs to take charge and implement some minimum standards in order to reduce the likelyhood of fragmentation which could result in Android users needing to constantly alter their device settings (e.g. resizing windows or changing resolutions) and/or having carnal knowledge of their mobile devices hardware capabilities and limitations in order to be able to ensure app compatibility, this would detract from Androids positive image and thereby lessening its ability to add a positive contribution to the mobile computing scene.
     
  19. gathart macrumors regular

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    #19
    And you are forgetting the price. Still i think it will become like the iPod: there might be cheaper and better gadgets availible but the iPad still remains the most sought after - hopefully
     
  20. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #20
    Hence why I decided to avoid android. I was looking at it before I got into iPhone development but as soon as I saw that cell companies can do whatever they want with it, I avoided it.

    I'm a hobbyist game developer so I'm always dealing with graphics. I don't want to remake graphics for every type of format out there and I don't want to scale things and ruin the original quality of the work.
     
  21. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #21
    Not really. The only actual fragmentation Apple has is at the consumer level for people hanging on to iOS 2.0.

    the dot updates are no big issue, even iOS 3 to 4 isn't really a big issue since most apps work, they just require a few refinements.

    The problem with the android market is that each cell phone manufacturer can change android however they see fit. If I make an app for just android, it may only work on a google phone, it may not work on motorola, or samsung, or whatever else is out there running android.

    Thats a huge problem and is very unattractive to developers who spend a ton of time making apps. This means to sell their apps, usually for much lower then what they are worth, they have to shell out money in hardware to test (if they care about their apps sales).

    Also, there is the support factor where if your app doesn't work on someones device, they just slammed you all over the internet or the market place and you have to rush to fix it or risk losing more sales.

    With Apple, if you make it you can test it on multiple versions of the OS while making it and can be extremely confident when you release it to the app store, that everything will work just fine.
     
  22. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

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    #22
    This week I've used an Android tablet and I'm currently on my way to buy an iPad. :) I will let you guys know my experience later today or tomorrow. ;)
     
  23. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #23
    Makes no difference how fragmentation happens, it happens to every OS. All have devices that will be left behind at some point. Moreover, iOS updates aren't done over the air, so users must tether with iTunes to find out about and install them.

    The same goes for Android updates and apps.

    Not true. There is a compatability document with rules and tests to make sure standard Android apps work on a manufacturer's implementation of any specific Android OS version. In other words, if you say you support 2.2, then any 2.2 app will work.

    The Apple App Store invented the idea of selling apps for much lower than they're worth. To make any kind of decent money, devs have to keep pumping out quickie shallow apps to get attention. This has turned out both good and bad.

    The Android simulator can be set up for any OS version at any screen resolution.

    The stock APIs are not the problem with Android, nor are the screen sizes. There are documented ways of dealing with all of that.

    The problems that some devs run into are more related to differences in the UI shells, such as Blur or Sense... which are mostly a pain to live wallpaper and widget devs, not for normal apps.
     
  24. kevingaffney macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Doubt if anyone thinking of buying one of those things is reading this forum anyway
     
  25. mrochester macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Is that really true? I thought that as long as you had the correct version of Android, you could install and use the app, so an app that works on a Samsung phone with 2.1 will work just as well as on an HTC phone running 2.1. To my mind it's only the variation in Android versions that has a baring on apps working, not the customisations that the manufacturers make specifically. Mind you, it's usually because of the customisations that manufacturers make that they are slow to update their devices.
     

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