Jobs speaks about Android and 7″ tablets
Twitter client [TweetDeck] recently launched their app for Android. They reported that they had to contend with more than a hundred different versions of Android software on 244 different handsets. The multiple hardware and software iterations present developers with a daunting challenge. Many Android apps work only on selected Android handsets, running selected Android versions. And this is for handsets that have been shipped less than 12 months ago! Compare this with iPhone, where there are two versions of the software, the current and the most recent predecessor, to test against.
Iain Dodsworth, the CEO of TweetDeck, has responded via Twitter:
- Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Errr nope, no we didn’t. It wasn’t.
- @dannysullivan yes exactly! We only have 2 guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is
I would like to add that we also had no problems with Android development. In most cases you just need two sets of graphics for middle-res and hi-res devices. Our apps have more than one million downloads combined, and we received no reports yet about problems with specific devices.
In addition to Google’s own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon, and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want, and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid. This is gonna be a mess for both users and developers.
Contrast this with Apple’s integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.
The app stores from Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone do not exist yet, while there are already two stores for iOS – App Store and Cydia (which contains applications that have been banned by Apple). The Android Market will stay the biggest source of apps, because of a $25 one-time fee and no censorship. In other words, there is no reason for the developers to ignore the Market.
And we also think that our developers could be more innovative if they can target a singular platform, rather than a hundred variants. They can put their time into innovative new features, rather than testing on hundreds of different handsets.
Developers can simply use the Nexus One or similar phone as the main testing device, it will cover 75% of devices available on the market. Create one or two virtual devices in an emulator to make sure that your app will work properly on Android 1.6 (16%) and 1.5 (9%). So, basically, we are dealing with 2-3 versions of Android, not with some “hundred variants”.
One naturally thinks that a seven-inch screen would offer 70 percent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a seven-inch screen is only 45 percent as large as iPad’s 10-inch screen. … This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps, in our opinion.
iPad now has over 35,000 apps on the App Store. This new crop of tablets will have near zero.
Well, Samsung did tablet versions of Gmail, calendar and phone book. Developers can use the provided addon to emulate the Tab and test/tweak their apps.
Maybe its screen is not big enough to create full-fledge tablet apps, but this is also means that most apps from the Android Marketplace will run just fine and the Tab will have about 100,000 working apps on launch.
iPad too did not have many apps in the beginning. Twitter for iPad was released only in September, Skype still does not have an iPad version!
The Samsung Tab has many strong points: it’s smaller and lighter (good for an e-reader device), has cameras, Flash, widgets and more.