Android 3.0 Honeycomb came out four months ago with the launch of the Motorola Xoom tablet and it was followed by a variety of tablets by several manufacturers. But so far the platform is yet to see a significant growth in the number of applications for it. In comparison, the iPad has racked over 100,000 apps, developed exclusively for it.
So to solve this mystery of the missing apps, Computerworld has been around asking developers regarding this issue and what according to them could be the reason.
First reason is that the developer don’t seem too keen on redesigning their apps for the bigger, higher resolution displays on the tablets. Almost every current Android smartphone app can run on Honeycomb but not all of them scale well. Even if they do the text and images won’t look good because they weren’t intended on being displayed on such a large display. Unlike on the iPad, Android developers aren’t rushing to create specialized versions for Honeycomb, rather relying on their current apps to get the job done, which hurts the users in the long run.
App discovery on Honeycomb is poor as well. There is no proper way to search for Honeycomb exclusive apps and even if there are such apps out there it’s difficult to tell because they don’t mention this fact anywhere.
Some have also speculated that developers may be waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich to come out, which is supposed to unify the smartphone and tablet versions of Android into one.
Lastly, and the biggest reason for the lack of apps is the lack of interest in Honeycomb. Apart from the Android fans, few people have interest in Honeycomb. Most people just want to buy an iPad. They probably don’t even know what a tablet is. Honeycomb is also yet to give a compelling reason why anyone would choose a tablet running on it instead of an iPad and most people clearly aren’t interested in things like USB ports.
This lack of interest in the platform prevent developers into putting in any effort in developing for it. This results in a chicken and egg kind of situation, where the users see that Honeycomb does not have enough apps so they decide not to buy and developers see that users aren’t buying so they decide not to waste their time with it. The iPad was a guaranteed success, anyone could have predicted that, which is why developers were on-board as soon as Apple made it possible for them. The same cannot be said about Honeycomb.
Eventually the apps will come. Android on smartphones took almost a year to get a decent selection of applications. At least Honeycomb users have existing Android applications to use on their devices. But for someone looking out to buy a new tablet for apps or a developer hoping to make some money selling apps, the iPad is still the platform of choice in the tablet space.