Print 16 comment(s) - last by cruisin3style.. on Oct 8 at 3:10 PM


Google illustrates the single pane/multi-pane approach of condensing pop out selections into screen transitions when switching from tablet to smart phone.  (Source: Google)

The action bar will now be on smart phones in pint size form, so beware.  (Source: Google)
Android devs are urged to make their tablets apps friendly for small screens

Google Inc. (GOOG) is giving developers their first of the next version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.  Ice Cream Sandwich will merge together the tablet and smartphone branches of Android.  This is a drastic departure from the current situation where Android tablets are powered by the closed-source Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" (latest version 3.2), while smartphones are powered by a separate open source, Android 2.3.x "Gingerbread".

Ice Cream Sandwich is set to release in October or November 2011, according to Google's Eric Schmidt.  When that release occurs, Google will become only the second major smartphone and tablet maker to use a single source to support both tablets and smart phones.

That creates both a unique opportunity and a unique challenge for developers of Android, the world's most used smartphone and second most used tablet operating system.  

Android Developers Blog
 carried a special post entitled "Preparing for Handsets."  The post is written by Scott Main, lead technical writer for Android's developer site.  It offers a useful guide of how developers can minimize the pain of the multi-size transition.  His guide offers suggestions for streamlining the "Action Bar" tablet-centric interface element, which will now appear in pint-size form on smartphone apps.  The post also suggests that secondary menus now be placed alongside the main screen, for tablet devices, but use a screen transition in smartphones (a single pane/multi-pane approach).

The alternative to making a fully compatible app is to use techniques to prevent your tablet app from being installed on smart phones/small slabs.  Android 3.1 and older apps bin screen sizes into four general classes and allow apps' xml code to define which sizes are supported via the "supports-screens" attribute.  In Android 3.2, the latest version of Honeycomb, the "support-screens" entry sticks around, but its format changes.  Now instead of bins, users define a specific minimum size they wish to allow.  Setting this high enough will essentially disallow most smartphones.

An example of the code to ban smartphones in both 3.1 and 3.2 (and forward compatible with 3.x Ice Cream Sandwich) is:

?manifest ... ? 
   ?supports-screens android:smallscreens="false"
                                 android:requiresSmallestWidthDp="600" /?
   ?application ... ?

Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) may soon follow Google's example and offer a homogenized OS for its tablets and smartphones.  Currently, the company's PlayBook tablet runs on QNX, an OS RIM recently required.  RIM is porting the OS for use in its BlackBerry business-minded smart phones.  It plans to switch to QNX for its new smartphones in 2012.

Apple Inc. (AAPL), who sits in second place in the smartphone market, and first place in the tablet business, was the first vendor to offer a single operating system for both its tablet and its phone.  Thus far this approach has appeared to overall be beneficial to developers.  Like Ice Cream Sandwich, iOS reserves certain functions for tablets, but have large overarching similarities between tablet and smartphone code within its SDK.

By contrast Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) appears to be the odd man out in insisting on keeping its tablet operating system and smart phone operating system separate.  While Windows 8 will borrow Windows Phone 7's Metro UI look, there's no plans to make the WP7 smartphone operating system run on tablets, or to have the Windows 8 tablet-geared OS run on smartphones.

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RE: I just want to say
By retrospooty on 9/20/2011 6:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
"Not like RIM is behind the times or anything... "

Yes, RIM, the "ya me too" company. I still cant believe a company with as deep pockets as they have took 4 years after the iphone to come up with a comparable product. Even broke assed Palm only took 2 years... And Palm is slow as molasses. RIM= 1/2 molasses.

RE: I just want to say
By Paj on 9/21/2011 8:34:18 AM , Rating: 4
Dont you mean RIM = 2*molasses? :)

RE: I just want to say
By Pirks on 9/21/2011 3:53:42 PM , Rating: 1
I still can't believe Microsoft, a company with even deeper than RIM pockets, took 4 years after the iPhone to come up with a comparable product (WP7).

Hehe you American pussies are so hilarious, small RIM made the move to tablets faster than large MS who _maybe_ will see some decent Win8 tablets released in 2013 and you all immediately got your panties in a bunch, hahaha. Funny trolls are funny :)

Troll me some more anti-RIM idiocy, please.

RE: I just want to say
By Samus on 9/22/2011 4:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
Considering RIM stole their core product funcionality from some poor guy in Chicago, I wouldn't call them just slow, but stuborn, unimaginitive, and for the most part, purely Canadian; dependant on the United States for everything.

Amazingly, RIM didn't even settle with his initial requested $50,000 licensing fee, and instead after years in court and the patent holders death, a settlement for $612 million dollars.

If you haven't heard of NTP v RIM, I suggest you look it up, its a doozy.

RE: I just want to say
By Pirks on 9/22/2011 4:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah? Really? Patent troll is now a "poor guy" eh? Nice double standards, my friend. Won't work with me tho :P

"The Campana patents are currently undergoing reexamination in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patents have been rejected by the patent examiner based on the discovery of previously unknown prior art"

This patent troll raked in some cash from RIM 'cause he got lucky, but now because some prior art has been discovered - good luck with raking in more cash from others!

Looks like you'll have to go troll somewhere else too, Samus :)

RE: I just want to say
By flyingpants1 on 9/23/2011 6:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
This guy Pirks is really messed up. Trolls have an emotional need to draw negative attention. We should feel sorry for him.

RE: I just want to say
By Pirks on 9/26/2011 10:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
This guy flyingpants1 has really nothing to say and his farts don't smell healthy. Such poisonous fartheads have a physiological need to pollute forum atmosphere. We should make his farts less smelly.

RE: I just want to say
By cruisin3style on 10/8/2011 3:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight.

American companies dominate the smartphone market in OS usage.

One American company started the tablet fad (Apple) and another giant AMERICAN company jumped in with their OS (Google).

But americans are hilarious pussies because a third american company is missing the boat while a Canadian company has a tablet no one wants and smartphones that are losing marketshare like crazy?

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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