While Google is officially positioning Android 3.0 Honeycomb (due out next year) as the first truly tablet-friendly version of Android, the company has added support for “extra large screens” to Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Gingerbread was officially launched yesterday, and in the developer guide there’s information about coding apps to fit multiple screen sizes. That includes everything from smartphones with 320 x 240 pixel displays to larger tablets with 10 inch screens and resolutions as high as 1280 x 800 pixels.

That’s good news, since tablet makers clearly aren’t waiting for Honeycomb to release tablets with large displays. A number of models including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Archos 70, Archos 101, and Barnes & Noble NOOKcolor are already available in various parts of the globe with 7 to 10 inch displays and resolutions as high as 1024 x 600 pixels.

While the basic Android interface already scales pretty well to these larger screens, many apps aren’t currently optimized for higher resolution displays. That means you sometimes end up viewing the apps in small windows in the center of the screen surrounded by thick black borders. It also means that apps that do scale up to the larger display might not really take advantage of the space properly. For instance, eBook readers could have a two-page view for tablets and a single-page view for smartphones.

Hopefully developers will start to follow these guidelines so that we’ll see some good third party tablet apps even before Honeycomb tablets start to hit the market next year.

via Android Tablets

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8 replies on “Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread adds support for tablet displays”

  1. I have yet to see any android apps that don’t scale to fit my 800 x 480 Archos 70’s screen. Could you mention a few specific examples?

    1. That’s because your Archos 70 has the same resolution as a number of Android phones including the Motorola Droid line, the Samsung Galaxy S, and the Google Nexus One. It’s just physically larger, but all of those phones have screens that are roughly 800 x 480 pixels.

      What’s new is support for 1024 x 600 pixel displays like the one on the Samsung Galaxy Tab and several other tablets, smartbooks and similar devices.

  2. I’m just selling my android tablet, as ALL application are useless for that form factor (not even a decent word processor available). Android is perfect for phones…not for tablets. I will buy an Ipad instead. My next phone will be for sure Android, that I have no doubt.

  3. i just hope Google wakes up and makes their device approval system more fine grained, so that a device without gps and without compass can still get market and gmail, but perhaps not maps and other location related Google apps. Their current all or nothing system seems to leave many confused.

  4. Just FYI on my gmail there was a header just now that asked if I would like to test drive a new chrome notebook. I clicked it and was taken to a basic contact information page. No details. I filled it out. Thought it was interesting.

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