PC Magazine writer Sascha Segan just gave the new iPad an Editors’ Choice award for large tablets. He didn’t give the device the award because of its lovely hardware, it got the award because “Android tablet apps suck”.
That’s the conventional wisdom, at least. The assertion is hard to test, but I wanted to try. Comparing app availability is difficult. You can’t just compare the number of apps available, especially when Google won’t give a number for Android tablet apps.
So Segan assembled his own list of potential app providers. He looked for, “Nielsen’s top 10 global Web companies, online video destinations, and U.S. TV networks; Alexa’s top 10 U.S. websites; the top 10 retail banks as measured by the Federal Reserve; 10 top online game publishing houses; Nielsen’s top 20 Android apps by usage; and Apple’s top 10 paid and top 10 free iPad apps by usage.” Then he looked for official apps from each of these companies.
While searching for Android tablet apps Sagan found it to be somewhat of a chore. He found some in the small “Suggested for Tablets” area on Google Play, also using search terms like “Tablet” and “HD”. He also found some success using the Tablified Market third-party directory.
He ran into problems with certain apps being listed to run on certain tablets, but the apps wouldn’t show up while browsing on the listed device. Then some of the apps that are listed to run on tablets were actually designed for smaller screens.
There are a group of people who won’t care, and they love to experiment and do some trial and error exploration. And as Sagan says, they’ll be rewarded with unique Android apps. But for now it’s all very puzzling for the mainstream consumer.
While the upcoming round of Android tablets might be a match for the new iPad hardware-wise, they’ll still rate below the iPad until a similar number of apps of comparable quality come out for the devices.
Segan’s article goes into much more detail about his search for Android tablet apps, and makes for informative reading. It’s available from the link at the beginning of this article.