In the last couple of years, tablets running Google’s Android operating system have risen to match or surpass Apple’s iPads in all but one crucial area – the amount of tablet optimised apps.
While there are plentiful apps for devices like the Nexus 7, some of the top hitters are often simply upscaled from smartphone apps for larger screens. They work just fine, but the experience could be better.
Now Google wants to rectify this by giving preferential treatment for apps ‘Designed for tablets’ within Google Play charts, when users search on their devices.
The move is designed to put those optimised apps front and centre for tablet owners, but also to give developers a nudge into fine tuning their applications in order to receive greater visibility on the shop floor.
Get ready, devs
In a post on the Android Developers blog, the company wrote: “Developers, if your apps are targeting tablets, take note. On November 21, 2013, Google Play will roll out some changes that will improve the visibility of tablet-optimized apps. Make sure your app is ready!
“Starting November 21, the “Designed for tablets” view will become the default for users browsing the top lists on their tablets (Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free, and Trending).
“Also, apps and games that do not meet the “Designed for tablets” criteria will be marked as “Designed for phones” for users browsing the Play Store on their tablets.”
Could this result in a surge of devs updating their wares to offer better user experiences for tablet owners? Android fans will hope so.
Posted on 28 September 2013.
Intel’s Atom processor was always a good idea. Shrink the power profile associated with the full-power x86 instruction to ultra-mobile proportions.
Or rather, it was a good idea ahead of its time. In fairness, Intel probably had to get the Atom project rolling when it did, back in 2009.
That’s because mobile is such an epically important market. Intel not only had to be seen to be doing something, even if manufacturing technology wasn’t quite ready to do x86 justice in ultra-mobile form factors like phones and tablets.
Long march to mobile
It also had to commit to mobile in the long run and give itself the best chance of succeeding. Ironically, that meant wheeling out a series of Atom chips which I’m fairly sure the company knew weren’t terribly compelling. But it was all part of the process of preparing both the market and its own design, engineering and manufacturing processes for the coming ultra-mobile uplift.
Anyway, Intel has been showing off its latest and greatest Atom platform, codenamed Bay Trail, at the IDF conference in San Francisco and as the news is all good.
Early benchmarks indicate that a quad-core Bay Trail system has CPU performance very close to AMD’s quad-core Jaguar-based chips.
Plausible Windows portable
I happen to have been running a quad-core Jaguar-based thin and light system for several months now, so I’m very familiar with the experience you can expect in Windows 8. And it’s just dandy. OK, you wouldn’t really want to encode 1080p video on the fly.
But for day-to-day computing, it fits the good-enough definition just fine. But here’s the thing. Under heavy load, it’s thought Bay Trail consumes just one to two watts of power.
Now making direct comparisons is very difficult. But it looks like an equivalent AMD Jaguar-based chip guzzles at least four times and maybe as much as ten times as much power.
Good-enough is best
That matters because it means Intel will be able to drive true good-enough x86 computing into smaller form factors than ever before. Does that include smartphones?
The verdict is out on that question, unfortunately. Bay Trail is targeted at tablets, not smartphones. There will be an Atom platform known as Merrifield and based on the same new CPU cores found in Bay Trail. But it’s not yet clear just how much performance will be lost in that transition.
Whatever, I’m not too worried. For me, it’s step-by-step. Given me a proper x86 Windows experience in a 10-inch tablet convertible at the same low prices as the ARM-powered Android masses and I’ll be a very happy bunny indeed.