What makes a good tablet app? | Ars Technica

What makes a good tablet app?

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The Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 are both good tablets that deserve better apps.

Andrew Cunningham

In our review of the Nexus 10, our single biggest gripe about the device was that the Android's tablet ecosystem continues to lag behind that of iOS, despite its nearly two years on the market. With Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, Google has done a good job of keeping pace (and exceeding) the competition on the first-party front, but third-party Android apps are all too often just phone apps scaled up, with no adjustments made for larger 7-inch and 10-inch screens.
But what makes a good tablet app in the first place? And what are we complaining about, specifically, when we say that Android's tablet apps are usually inferior to their iOS counterparts? The deficiencies are both aesthetic and functional—the best tablet apps not only make changes to look better than the worst ones, but they also use that extra screen space to enable (or simplify) common activities that aren't possible on a smartphone's smaller screen.
I am not going to attempt to call out every bad tablet app, nor will I try to point out every good one. Instead, I'll choose specific, widely used apps that exemplify the worst things about Android tablet apps and highlight some of the changes (small and large) that could be made to improve them.Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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