Despite a slew of Android-powered tablets that have either hit the market or will be released in the coming months, Android is currently not optimized for tablets, according to a key Google executive.
Hugo Barra, the director of mobile products at Google, told TechRadar that the latest iteration of Android--2.2, or Froyo--is not optimized for tablets. The most high-profile tablet running on Android, Samsung's GalaxyTab, runs on Android 2.2. Barra acknowledged that there are many tablets running on Android, including many that were at the IFA consumer electronics show earlier this month, where Samsung showed off the GalaxyTab.
"But the way Android Market works is it's not going to be available on devices that don't allow applications to run correctly," Barra said. "Which devices do, and which don't will be unit specific, but Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets. If you want Android Market on that platform, the apps just wouldn't run, [Froyo] is just not designed for that form factor."
The GalaxyTab runs on Android 2.2 and has access to the Android Market. A Samsung spokesman declined to comment directly on Barra's remarks, but pointed to Google's Android develper guidelines for supporting multiple screens.
The guidlines state, in part: "Applications do not need to work with the actual physical size or density of the device screen. At run time, the platform handles the loading of the correct size or density resources, based on the generalized size or density of the current device screen, and adapts them to the actual pixel map of the screen."
Future versions of Android have been tipped as potential tablet-friendly versions of the platform. Numerous companies, including LG and ZTE, have indicated they will produce Android tablets to challenge Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad, but it is unclear what version of Android they will run. Motorola (NYSE:MOT) has been rumored to be working on a tablet running Android 3.0 for release this fall.
"We want to make sure that we're going to create an application distribution mechanism for the Android Market, to ensure our users have the right experience," Barra added.
According to the blog IntoMobile, J.K. Shin, the president of Samsung's mobile communications business, told reporters at the IFA show in Berlin that Samsung will release more Android tablets next year, including ones running Android 3.5. Samsung also confirmed its GalaxyTab will be upgraded to Android 3.0 in the future.
- see this TechRadar article
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Article updated Sept. 10 with Android developer guidlines for multiple screens.