One persistent complaint hurled at Android tablets is that many Android smartphone apps look lousy on a larger tablet-sized screen. Some are awkwardly stretched to fill the space, resulting in an odd and sometimes barely functional application, while others run at smartphone size bordered by black space.
Google is looking for a solution while it builds up its tablet app catalogue, and beginning with what the search giant calls “the upcoming [Android] release,” or Android Honeycomb version 3.2, developers will be able to add a user-enabled option to run apps in stretched or zoomed mode.
Stretched apps will look exactly as they do with current Honeycomb tablets running version 3.0 or 3.1; that is, the apps will stretch to fill the screen. Google notes in its developer’s blog that many apps stretch just fine and look acceptable on the big screen, in which case, developers can disable the user option.
Zoom mode takes a page out of iOS and the iPad by running the apps at smartphone resolution, and then zooms in on them to fill the screen. This results in a pixilated app that may be preferable should stretching ruin the app’s functionality.
Of course, neither option is preferable to having a large selection of quality tablet-optimized apps, something Android tablets currently lack when compared to the iPad, which just hit the 100,000 iPad app milestone. While it’s tough to discern just how many tablet apps the Android Market offers, the general consensus is just shy of 300 as of July 12, 2011.