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We Still Need Better Tablet Apps [Opinion]

For the past week I’ve been spending some quality time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. While I like the hardware for the most part and I don’t mind TouchWiz, I’ve been struggling to find a place for the device in my life. While a large part of it is simply that I’m not entirely convinced that a tablet is the best form factor, I keep finding myself disappointed with the app selection and quality. There are some great apps available for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, but overall I’ve been disappointed time and time again. 

Twitter

I use Twitter all the time, so having a great Twitter app is important to me. I’ve tried all the apps out there and the official Twitter app remains my favorite (mostly because TweetDeck has become abandonware). Unfortunately, the Twitter team hasn’t taken the time to make the Twitter app optimized for tablets, which leads to the hideous layout above. It’s usable (though very laggy), but I’ve been forced to switch between Tweetcaster, Plume, and Tweetcomb, all of which have issues. Perhaps the most maddening part of the situation is not that there are only three tablet optimized Twitter apps, but that Twitter has a tablet optimized version of their app for iOS.

Document Editing

Another major disappointment was Google Docs. The application has a great view for choosing documents, but once you get into typing up a document you’re better off scouring the Market for an actual attempt at a decent app. The Galaxy Tab comes with Quickoffice HD which offers much more functionality (including the option to sync with Google Docs, Dropbox, box, huddle, SugarSync, or mobileme), but lacks some key functionality like inserting a period after two spaces. It really is a shame that Google hasn’t done anything to make Google Docs a usable experience. Sure, there’s always the option to use the website, but I’d rather have a useful app.

Music

Apps like Google Music look great on Honeycomb/ICS, but apps like rdio and Google Listen are once again simply blown up apps. Google Listen is the definition of abandonware at this point, but apps like rdio deserve a tablet optimized version (especially since rdio has an app for iPad).  Apps like Google Listen and rdio still function properly, but the experience is tolerable at best. Why Google didn’t just push Google Listen into Google Music is beyond me.

Browser

The stock browser offers decent functionality, but it’s again limited. The browser performed fine for simple sites like Droid-Life, but it had some seriously delay when loading heavier websites like The Verge. Opera had less issues, but Dolphin Browser HD had the best performance of the three. It’s a little disappointing to me that it took downloading a 3rd party browser for me to get a good experience, but I imagine things will improve for the stock browser when ICS is released for the Galaxy Tab.

Netflix

The Netflix app is a great example of the state of Android apps. The app works fine on the Galaxy Tab, though scrolling through a list of films is very jittery. Playing actual video in the app was great, but the experience of finding a movie to watch was sluggish. It felt like Netflix pushed the app out just to get it out without any intention of really optimizing the performance for browsing. It’s a minor issue, sure, but if I’m going to shell out four to five benjamins for a piece of hardware, I’d like to have some assurance that the apps available are high quality.

Gaming

Over the weekend I played a little Dead Space on a friend’s HTC Rezound. I enjoyed the experience, so I figured I’d buy the app to play on the Galaxy Tab. Unfortunately, there is no  tablet version of Dead Space. I can’t even play the phone version. Many other games like Cut the Rope and Hex Defense are just blown up versions of the app, but there’s little reason to expect a tablet optimized version of those apps. Most games played fine, though many could have used some high resolution images so that they looked better when blown up to fit the Galaxy Tab’s screen.

We Still Need Better Apps

I understand that Honeycomb tablets have only been on shelves for eleven months, but I expected there to be better apps on the Market by now. I know the transition from one screen size to another takes time, but I think it’s clear that most developers simply don’t see the value in optimizing their apps to run on tablets. It makes sense; most tablet owners have an iPad, not an Android tablet. I get it, but that doesn’t make me happy about it. It makes it harder for me to recommend something like the Transformer Prime to clients and friends. Sure, it has a keyboard dock, but without a great market of apps it’s worse off than a $250 Windows netbook.

Google needs to start throwing some of their billions at app developers to ensure that major apps like Netflix have a buttery smooth, reliable, fun experience. Just as importantly, Google’s own apps should be optimized for tablets. Gmail looks and works great, but Google Docs is useless. That should never happen. Google’s apps should showcase what developers can do with Android. Google’s apps should number the best in the Market. Right now, many are among the worst available.

Ice Cream Sandwich was a great first step in making Android more usable on tablets, but Google has to know how important apps are in this space. There is no excuse for the official Twitter app to not be optimized for HC/ICS, much less for Google Docs to offer such limited functionality. If Google really wants to compete with Apple, that means we need better apps now.

  • Blade

    There are over 10,000 tablet optimized apps for webOS.  Dozens of them are coming in the near future for Android and for iOS, and for every other platform as well, now that their framework is open sourced.  Just need to workaround some performance issues for the truly craptastic parts of the Android and iOS browsers.

  • Larry Paseornek

    Can anyone tell me if scrabble free works on ICS yet?

  • http://twitter.com/zhephree Geoff Gauchet

    I’m in the process of porting two of my webOS tablet apps over to Android. They’re made for tablets, so they feel right at home.

  • Atsen

    Google needs to change its attitude to its tablets. If there’s anything that they really need to get right, it’s apps and support for ICS on phones AND tablets.

    I hate to encourage copycats or sheeping, but Google should really try to follow Apple’s seamless apps-for-iPad-loving.

  • Dmzman

    Al the best apps are being written for the iPad.

  • Anonymous

    Props for David Crowder Band and Rob Bell!!!!

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Thanks!

  • Hitek9

    People on pc still dont use the stock browser. Just sayin’ its gonna take some time for people to appreciate the tablet and its usefulness. I love having a pc too, but no laptop for $500 can do what a tablet does.(Thin and light, touch screen with better resolution,way better battery life,decent graphics, can run multiple apps at once, and connected to your phone. Granted the hd sizes are not that big, but with more and more stuff being stored on the cloud its not that big of an issue) And you dont even have to buy a lap cooler so it does’nt burn your legs.I don’t see it replacing pc’s or mac’s anytime soon, but I can see it living in perfect harmony in between my phone and pc. And there are apps to control your pc from anywhere, so do you really wanna drag your $3000 gaming rig around when your tablet with a fast connection can do everything your computer is limited to do?

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Every laptop can do what a tablet does and more except for having a touchscreen (though some do have them). I think you’re right that tablets will have to fit in between a phone and a PC, but I’m not sure tablets are the perfect form factor. I still don’t see the point of one with thin and light laptops like the MacBook Air.

  • Anonymous

    Is quickoffice on the market?

  • Anonymous

    I think that ICS will help solve the app shortage problem.  As developers port their apps to ICS for phone, it will be a simple stretch to actually tablet optimize them because of fragments, and people *will* optimize apps for ICS as more phones get that OS.  

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      The problem with that logic is that Google hasn’t done that with their own apps. Where’s the incentive? If Google doesn’t have it, why should others?

  • Deiter42

    That’s why I don’t get any of these tablets. They’re really just smartphones with a bigger screen and usually no cellular voice. Not even worth $100 if you already have a smartphone.

    • Hendricks122

      I won a Transformer Prime for some event at work and I’d rather put up with the slow Intel Atom netbook I have than use the speedy but not very useful Prime. Even for just web browsing on the Prime there are just too many incompatibilities with various web standards to make a good experience.

      Android and iOS are great for phones but I expect more functionality when it comes to larger devices. I don’t want just a blown up smartphone.

      • http://twitter.com/Urboyissues Yourissues

        If you don’t want it I’ll gladly take it off your hands… just saying

      • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

        The Android browsing experience is okay, but it does have trouble with a lot of websites. I tried three different Android browsers (stock, Dolphin HD, Opera Mini), and all three had issues loading comments on this site. The stock browser on iOS, on the other hand, had no issue. If Google wants to succeed in the tablet space, they need a browser that matches desktop browsers. Right now they’re far from that standard.

    • John

      you would rather write a paper on your phone than a tablet? you would rather watch videos on your phone that a tablet? you would rather play some games on your phone rather than your tablet? you would rather browse the web on your phone than your tablet? you would rather read an e-book on your phone than a tablet? 

      • Anonymous

        You forgot the most important question: Would you rather watch p0rn on a phone or a tablet?

        • http://twitter.com/matbeeDOTcom Mathieu Gosbee

          Would YOU take your tablet to your works washroom or your phone? ;)

      • Morris

        If I have a smartphone already then I’ll do all those things on a notebook. Except for games since I don’t play games.

        • Deiter42

          Exactly. Heck, I’ll take a dual core Atom powered netbook over these tablets any day.

          • Weird

            So you would rather have a chip that is slower(not clock speed), no GPU built in and drawing more power. Interesting.

          • Not Weird

            That’s pretty much what he implied. He’s really comparing what a Windows PC can do and what an Android tablet can’t (or not well).  He’s implying that a slow Windows notebook is more useful than an Android tablet. Especially when you already have an Android phone.

            The GPU doesn’t matter if you don’t play games and the new dual core Atoms have hardware decoding for H.264 videos up to 1080p resolution. Probably lower resolutions for Flash.

          • Weird

            I guess i am comparing tablets in general not just Android tablets. I too would rather have a netbook(which is really what an Atom powered computer is) over an Android tablet because Android tablets are terrible. However, an iPad vs a equally priced netbook is no comparison for me. The iPad is lighter, faster, just as capable(obviously this depends on your usage) and has superior battery life. Now if you have an Android tablet and phone i agree it is kind of overkill because there are no killer tablet apps which make the purchase worthwhile. You are basically just using a big phone. The iPad is a totally different monster from an iPhone though. With so many specifically designed apps they are different experiences and have different use cases. 

            Now on to the GPU. I am not sure what good decoding in 1080p is for a $500 netbook which doesn’t have a screen that supports 1080p. Maybe there are sub $500 netbooks with 1080p LCDs but i’ve never seen them. So the only way to take advantage of this capability is to connect it to a external monitor which supports 1080p. So unless you already own the monitor that is going to set you back another $150(for a crappy monitor) up to $1000(for a man’s monitor). This addition totally blows the price point out of the water so we are in an entirely different ballgame. Not to mention that most netbooks run terrible mobile GPUs which would have a hard time producing a quality image on a larger screen. 

            So if by tablet the guy mean Android only then i suppose he is correct. If he meant tablet as including iPad then he is completely wrong. Unless of course he is one of these Apple is bad and Google is good type of guys in which case he needs to wait till his 18th birthday when he is a grown up to make his purchasing decisions. 

  • Sean Skeels

    NOPs’s cracked version of deadspace worked for me when I installed it on the Galaxy tab 10.1 I am testing for work. 

    I have to agree with you here, I am having a hard time incorporating the device into my life because of the limited amount of apps I would find myself actually using day by day. My galaxy nexus can do everything and more that this tablet can. I mostly find myself browsing the web on it, when I don’t want to read on my nexus.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! I didn’t know stating the obvious could be an article on here! How about you post an opinion article about the sky being blue or android being open? Also, its hard to take anyone serious who actually likes the TW on tablets.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I never said I like TouchWiz. Perhaps you’ve missed my 1000s of articles stating my disgust for Android skins. I said I didn’t mind it. There’s a difference between saying that I like TouchWiz and saying that it actually didn’t bother me for once. The whole point of this article was to remind people that we’re close to a year in to having Android on tablets and the apps still aren’t there. That’s a problem that needs to be addressed. 

  • Anonymous

    I just want to point out Tweetcomb, Its been my go to for twitter on tablets. Lets you have multiple columns and has a quick browser window that comes up on links.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Plume has the same features, but it actually lets you do things like add media or fill in Twitter handles when tweeting. Tweetcomb is a massive disappointment. 

      • Anonymous

        Plume is really cool, thanks for the advice.

  • Sk102704

    I have a tab 10.1 and a Bionic and I love them both but I agree that there aren’t enough tablet optimized apps available. My tab is wifi only so I pretty much use my phone for on the go stuff and use my tab when I’m home. I have a app called Tablet Talk that lets me get my text messages on my tab and let me know when a call comes in so I can virtually do what I can on my tab ( except calls) what I’d do on my phone which is nice, but those tablet optimized apps look so good and function must better than a blown up app.

  • DJyoSNOW

    I got an Acer and it utilities a usb prot! As in I can use a key board and mouse just like a pc. So I like the fact I don’t always have to run to my PC and can surf the web or type emails with eas! Though yes I agree some apps don’t seem nice on a tablet. My personal opinion is that android needs a wave ~ mp3 editor app. Not a ringtone maker, so I can supposedly dj with out my pc.

  • http://photo.katzmatt.com Matt Katzenberger

    I’ve had pretty good experiences with my Acer Iconia a500 (now running an ICS rom).

    Most apps have a good tablet form factor, and most of the ones that don’t at least look half-decent on the tablet. There are GLARING exceptions (you mentioned twitter, and it’s my big one — I use twitter’s official app for the push notifications and plume for browsing) but overall I’ve found the experience to be positive.

    That said, this article hits the real problem with android tablets nail straight to the head. We definitely need MORE tablet apps, we need a lot of major apps to support tablets properly (Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Mint.com, GOOGLE+, GOOGLE VOICE).

  • Granpa

    I couldn’t agree more with this article.  I have a Xoom and while I like the tablet, the lack of compelling tablet apps on Android is certainly a problem. 

  • Mmoreimi

    There are apps that I have grown to LOVE that are on my phone and depend on and have been disappointed when I was able to get them on the Transformer, but the ratio was messed up, etc…

  • Jay

    not just apps, but app usability.

    Thumbs!!!!!  When you hold a tablet, your THUMBS are the most accessible part of the body.  Why aren’t all the menus on the sides, within thumb-distance?

    This is a huge reason why I might convert to Win8 for tabs.  The have OS Menus on the right side, and app multi tasking on the left.  Menu’s seems to be at the top and bottom, but I wonder if that’s customizable.

    I love my Transformer, but I’m also the type of person who, once he’s used to annoyances, look’s past them.

    THUMBS!

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      That is definitely something I agree with. I addressed this a bit in a previous article. The UI for Honeycomb and ICS is repugnant. I don’t want everything that I use to be spread across the four corners of the screen. That’s not helpful. 

  • Friendly Critic

    Ron, you need to get an editor. I like your opinions, but the way you qualify all your statements and makes your articles too wordy.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Feel free to shoot me some suggestions on Twitter if you have some concrete examples. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

    And this is why the iPad cleans Android’s clock right now.

    You can talk about theoretical-but-not-really openness, the variety of design choices, and widgets, but it doesn’t matter if you stare at your Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus/7.7/8.9/10.1 and say “well, now what?”

    A tablet is a canvas for apps: you don’t sit staring at the home screen, you launch into a browser, media player, productivity app (they exist), or game.  The platform with the best tablet apps therefore wins, and that’s unambiguously the iPad right now.  It has 170,000 apps that are either iPad-only or optimized for both the iPad and iPhone.  Google maybe has a few thousand, and Andy Rubin has made it clear he has no intention of encouraging tablet-native apps or making it easy to find them.

    It’s telling when Apple has no problem selling a $499 iPad, but Google partners can’t sell an Android tablet unless it’s $199 and does its best to mask the “Androidness” in favor of specialized apps.

    • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

      Well, maybe $199 is just a right price for a tablet.
      Look at laptops, for example. Apple have no problems selling $1K+ laptops, while most of the Windows laptops are priced well below that.
      If this year we’ll get a flood of a sub $300 ICS quadcore tablets (as it’s expected), then iPad will get dominated by Android tablets as the same story will happen over again.

      • John

        please point me in the direction of a windows laptop that can hold a candle to either the power of a MacBook Pro or the design and portability of a MacBook Air for “well below” $1000.

        • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

          You completely missed my point.
          I’m just saying that Apple is doing very well is a high priced laptop market, while everybody else is not. But mass laptop market is below $1000. Likewise, Android tablets should not compete directly with iPad. Instead, they should explore the huge market below $500.
          Market for $500+ tablets is saturated and even iPads not selling that hot any more. But $200+ market is super hot.

          • John

            Oh my goodness. Did you actually read this before you posted? 

            “even iPads not selling that hot anymore”

            last quarter Apple sold more iPads then ever before. by what measure are they “not selling that hot anymore”?

            Apple sold more $500 and up tablets than everybody sold $200 tablets combined.

            The reason others aren’t selling that great in the laptop market is because Apple dominates the premium market($1000 and up) and the iPad is dominating everything below. The non laptop market is cratering because of the iPad. If you are going to spend $500 bucks on a laptop most people just get the iPad instead. If you are going to spend a grand who would buy a samsung ultra book(which is a complete rip-off of the MacBook Air) over a Mac? The answer is nobody. 

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            I think you’re right that Android will find more success by going after the cheaper market, but I don’t think anyone wants them to pursue that market. That means cheaper products. We really just need a better OS with great apps. No one wants to have the netbook of tablets. That’s not a good road to go down. 

    • Raven

      I disagree.  A tablet is an excellent canvas for widgets.  I do sit staring at my home screen for many things.  Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Email, news, weather, music, etc. all nicely displayed on my tablet screen for me to consume.  Sure, I use Dolphin HD, Polaris Office, video players and games full screen, but I couldn’t imagine not having widgets available to me.  I would feel totally crippled without them and would not even bother to own a tablet that did not have the ability to put them on its home screen.

      • Getreal

        you would feel totally crippled because you love seeing your Facebook widget at the same time as your twitter feed? you can’t even look at two widgets and the same time yet without the ability you would be crippled? hahah. do you even read the stuff you write?

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to disagree with the majority of your opinions. After a few weeks of testing my lifestyle with my Xoom as a primary means of portable computing I have stopped carrying a laptop. 

    Notably, the battery life is phenomenal- I can easily go 2 days on a charge whereas a laptop powerful enough to meet my ‘non-portable’ needs is lucky to get 2 hours with a brand new battery and weighs ten times more. 

    Also, the experience of using it is indescribably more rewarding and less frustrating after the ICS upgrade. Your browser concerns are fully addressed- it is a desktop quality browsing experience entirely.

    Dead Space is the ONLY game I have that doesn’t work on a tablet- and I blame EA for that. GTA3 was broken last I checked, but that only started after the OS update.

    I agree with the point on document editing. QuickOffice is a horrible piece of software- no autosave, very few keyboard shortcuts, and an overall very unfriendly user experience. Docs is at least courteous enough to save your work as you go. Also, Netflix is a bit frustrating, but the picture is higher quality than the phone version as well, so it balances out.

    I’d like to see a few apps like HBO Go with tablet support, and it seems strange that Facebook still doesn’t natively support tablet resolutions (I loved their webOS app) but I am confident that the increasing prevalence of ICS will remedy that.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      The increasing prevalence of ICS on what? More Android tablets? We saw the market get flooded with Android tablets for a year and the apps didn’t come. Even Google isn’t updating their apps. Saying that the picture quality of Netflix is great doesn’t make up for the jittery UI. It’s one of the worst user experiences I’ve seen. The app is clearly not optimized for hardware acceleration. It’s great if you’re just resuming a video, but that’s only because you don’t have to interact with the rest of the app. The bottom line is we need a better OS with better apps. 

      • Anonymous

        I spend 30 seconds picking out a selection that I’ll be watching for an hour or two. I find it to be a very minimal hassle. YMMV.

        And the problem with the current Android tablet market is that we have a couple dozen models running Honeycomb compared to a few hundred cheap knockoffs (and Nook Colors) running Gingerbread. Given that it’s easier to develop for phones, it’s a no brainer to shoot for the larger market. Android as a whole was in the position of having a terrible app selection not so long ago (in fact, even as recently as when Honeycomb launched- we didn’t even HAVE Netflix then!) but as the platform picks up steam the app selection grows with it- which in turn leads to more platform growth.

  • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

    Apps? We don’t need no freaking apps. We need a better web support, a browser which would rival a desktop browsers in speed and functionality. Apps are mostly the crutches for a weak devices.
    Worse than a Windows netbook? How many “apps” do you have on a windows netbook? Are you seriously using a Windows Twitter app for example? And there is no Google Docs Windows app either.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. People are thinking like Apple in that EVERTHING needs its own app. That is false. If you have an amazing browser, screw apps!

      • Duh

        Hahaha. You really are clueless. Keep telling yourself that the browser is just as good as apps. Now do some things work better on the browser than the app? Of course but that is only the case for things designed originally as web apps. Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and things like that are better on the web because that is where all the development time was spent. How does that Infinity Blade run on the browser, how does Rom Manager run on the browser, how does Angry Birds run on the browser? You need to learn about development and the difference between a web app and native stand alone app. 

        • Anonymous

          Okay, obviously you can’t possibly play games on a phone/tablet browser. Maybe in a few years, but I wasn’t even talking about that. I’m talking about other apps. You don’t really need an app for anything except tools like a calculator or Rom Manager as you said.
          I know the difference between developing a web app and a stand alone app. I also know that developing a webapp is cheaper and universal, a one-size fits all type of thing. If devs focused on creating rich webapps (and Android’s/iOS’s browsers are improved) we wouldn’t need half of the apps on either the Marketplace and App Store.
          However, I guess you’re right that for now we do need more native apps for Android Tablets. But the web is definitely the future.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

      And netbooks are dying on the vine while everyone goes to buy iPads instead.  Microsoft specifically blamed a 6% drop in Windows revenue this fall on netbook declines and “new form factors” (read: iPad and Android tablets).

      Browsers are getting there, but there are still plenty of experiences that demand more customization or low-level performance than the web can give.  Anyone who uses Plume on an Android tablet or TweetDeck on an iPad can tell you they get a lot more control and responsiveness from an app than Twitter’s web page (or even Seesmic Web).  Until we get to the point where both the hardware *and* the browser are strong enough to let you do anything, apps still rule the mobile planet.

      • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

        I agree with you regarding netbooks. They can’t stand a competition from tablets, even a price-wise when we have a low cost Android tablet options. They are to weak to compete with laptops and too bulky and power hungry to compete with tablets.

        As for the browser vs app experience: I can’t say about Twitter (I only and solely use it from my phone where it’s performing just fine – I’m using an app though) but both Google+ and Facebook desktop web sites are leaps and bounds more useful than any apps. Faster and a way more functional.

        • Duh

          because that is where the bulk of development hours are spent. of course something which was designed from the ground as a website is going to work better as a website than as a standalone app which in the case of Google+ and Facebook is simply a wrapper on the website. the two “apps” you mentioned are not actually native apps, they are just wrappers for the UI WebView. 

      • Eh

        That’s because they’re sheep. Trend following is all it is.

        This summarizes why people get tablets:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV0qs1gz8mo

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      We do need apps. The web might be the future, but it isn’t there yet. Web apps are still a frustrating experience. We absolutely need a desktop-class browser, but there are some things that an app does better than a browser in 2012. Hopefully that will change, but for now the web is not the solution. Native apps are still the best solution. 

  • Woobaker

    Google needs to make tablet (phone would be nice too) PRINTING truly a native function. if they want us to use tabs for business, business needs to have simple free printing options that are built in 

    • Raven

      I agree, it should be built in, but there are some nice third party apps for that.  I love
      Samsung MobilePrint with Samsung WiFi Color Laser Printer.  I can easily print from my phone and both of my tablets.

  • ddevito

    I’ve said all along I still don’t think Google cares all that much tablets. I think they’re in the game because the iPad gives iOS a bigger mobile presence, so they felt the need to get into it right away. You’ll hear folks like Hugo Barra and Matias Duarte say things like Honeycomb being “an emergency landing” and you see why – Android 3 and 4 are nice but there’s no incentive to use one over an Android phone. ICS is merely a joining the two OSs onto both platforms so there isn’t any more fragmentation among Android (internally at Google not the OEMs).

    Perhaps a Nexus tablet will change things, but until then I won’t change my stance. Add in the fact that Google releases tablet apps for the iPad at the same time doesn’t give Android tabs any real advantages.

    Plus having a phone with a huge screen kinda makes up for having a tablet in the first place.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I think they care, but I’m not sure they really have a clear strategy. The company is split between two visions: Android and Chromebooks. Android tablets and Chromebooks are in about the same place – mildly useful, but nowhere near being able to replace a laptop. Google needs to pick one solution and make it amazing, not passable. 

  • Sirx

    So badly want the TPrime to do document editing, but my girlfriend’s Ipad games selection makes it such a much more alluring option (and all-in-one media solution), that I still haven’t convinced myself to plunk down the money.  No matter how much we want to argue about “market share” and “fragmentation” and “[insert number of] cores”, we are still treated as the wart-faced step-child by nearly all developers.

    THAT, and nearly that alone, is why Android tables had such an abysmal year in 2011.

  • http://twitter.com/TheTechChat TheTechChat

    Agreed in general, but regarding Twitter I have one word for you: TweetCaster. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better tablet Twitter client.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I mentioned Tweetcaster by name in the article. It’s okay, but it still isn’t the experience I’m looking for. 

  • Josh Flowers

    Google Plus plain ol’ sucks on every tablet i’ve tried it on.
    messenger keeps force closing,
    Stream force closes.

    how is it not supported better?

    • Fixer

      Google Plus plain ol’ sucks

      there i fixed it for you

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree

  • Sirx

    +5

  • http://www.thecarners.com Matt R Carner

    Couldn’t agree more.  I keep seeing people buying tablets and bragging about them, but I can’t for the life of me figure when I would need one. 

    I test drove an iPhad 2 last summer, which HAS the tablet app selection you need, and it sat and collected dust for most of the two weeks Best Buy gave me before deciding to return it.

    For me, a tablet is never as convenient as just grabbing my phone or as functional as walking to my desktop computer.  
      

    • Bob

      so you use android yet you bought an iPad(or “test drove”) then you bought all of the apps for an iOS only device just so you could “test drive”? Even after all this it just sat there collecting dust???? Oh that’s right you are making that up. 

  • Anonymous

    Here here. My only quibble would be that web browsing on ICS is phenomenal. But for my Xoom to give me a complete experience, I really need Google Docs to be better, a better U/I on my music streaming app (I use Mog), and a non-laggy Netflix app. The OS is great, and with 4.0, so is the browser, but for some things, the app to access the content I want just looks terrible.

  • Kierra

    The reason I havent bought a tablet…

  • Lmrojas

    I hate that argument about Twitter and facebook. Use the browser, its better than any app. Btw the Browser on my prime is very very good. All i hear from Ron is complaints and complaints. Never comments on how much more advanced Android is over IOS.

    • Sirx

      Wow.  I have not seen someone miss a point so completely all week!  Thank you for meeting my quota.

      • Lmrojas1990

        How so? Because when I owned a iPad 2 I never used the “optimized” apps because they were limited in function compared to the browser. I mentioning specifically those 2 social networking sites because I’m sick of people using that argument about Android Tablets.

        • Liar

          you never owned a iPad 2. nice try though

    • Anonymous

      I respect Ron’s opinion (and his writing), but I agree on the browser bit. I generally load the full webpage even on my 7″ tablet.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Seriously? Have you used Twitter in a browser? The experience is horrific for power users. I could care less about a Facebook app, but the lack of a Twitter app is frustrating when Twitter made a tablet optimized version for iOS. 

      Also, I have done articles where I praised Android. No matter what I write there are some that don’t like it. If I criticize Android people assume that I secretly love Apple and hate Google. If I praise Android people call me an evangelistic fanboy. 

      I’ll write about how much more advanced Android is over iOS when it gets better apps and fixes the horrific tablet UI. ICS is great on phones, but it’s just warmed over Honeycomb on tablets. I expected more from Google. 

  • http://www.mobiletechview.com J_Dav1

    Apps drastically improve with ICS, they still don’t look good, but they do perform much better. Since the transformer Prime has updated, it has been a much better experience. For example, before ICS Netflix was terribly laggy, but since the update scrolling is extremely smooth. Turn on force you rendering and even non-ics apps are smooth. They still look terrible, but they are smooth.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’ve heard that performance is better with ICS. Unfortunately I don’t have an ICS tablet device (yet!). It’s a shame that it’ll take another year for that to roll out to people’s tablets, but hopefully by the time it does there will be more tablet optimized apps that look great and work well. 

  • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

    theverge has problems loading on a computer tablet let alone a tablet

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! The Verge has issues on my 12GB quad core 2.67 GHz workstation.

      • Anonymous

        The Verge has issues sucking on every device I load it on. That’s probably just the content and layout, though.

  • Chris G

    I got a TFPrime and dock and that is replacing both the computer and the phone at least when traveling.  Yes I wish some apps were more optimized for a tab but the basics work enough on the road.  Through in a mobile usb HDD and mouse and hub and the dock keyboard and this really is a laptop replacement in a travel situation.

  • Xray49er

    Ihave a transformer prime and the lack of tablet apps is dissapointing. i am willing to pay for quality apps but they are just not there. there are many games but i have a phone, xbox, ps3, ds, ipod touch, and a wii. I am good with games. need more practical apps.

  • Anonymous

    My brother has a Xoom with ICS which is nice and runs well but for me I am almost always in front of a machine or I have my Nexus on me which leaves little room for a tablet in my tech life.  I suppose if I got one I could find uses for it at work but again tablets don’t have enough extended functionality that I can’t get from my phone/laptop/netbook/desktop.  Until I see some more specifically tablet oriented applications or functionality extended what is readily available on phones I see no real reason to have a tablet. 

    It will be interesting to see what/if Google brings anything to the table with their rumored tablet.

  • Scott Willenborg

    Ironically, the ugliest, most force-close-iest* and visually unappealing app I have for my tablet is my Droid Life app.

    Still use it all the time though!

    * Laying claim to the word “force-crash-iest” copyright me, 2012.

    • Michael Forte

      Why not use the browser instead?

      • Scott Willenborg

        Because there’s an app…

        • Teng247

          you can always use google currents to make it look like a magazine.  Makes  for better viewing of droid-life.com

  • Michael Forte

    We don’t need two versions of apps for everything. It’s possible to have the same app perform differently on a phone and tablet. Most apps just haven’t been updated to support both to their full extent yet. I agree most definitely with the Netflix app on my Xoom though, scrolling is definitely slow. I’d say ICS fixes the browser issues though.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I don’t see why there are so many “tablet versions” on the Market. I wrote an app for Froyo+, and it works well on all form factors and Android versions

    • John

      yes you do need two versions. not for all apps of course but for most of them. if you think the gmail interface from the phone is the best use of tablet screen real estate then you are mistaken. if you think the exact same Facebook interface from the phone is ideal for a tablet you are mistaken. nearly every app with the exception of a video/music player and games looks much better with a tablet specific design. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2VDASTX5FE3JS4HBNSAJPH4SKM steve

    I couldn’t agree more. Our app selection is abysmal compared to iOS. ( im not an iphone/pad fan, just stating the facts ) …..

    • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

      What iPad apps are you missing in particular on Android?

      • http://profiles.google.com/vdogg89 Victor Stuber

        Facebook, twitter. skype, dropbox to name a few

      • John

        pages, instapaper, Facebook, infinity blade, iMovie, garage band, flipboard, iBook 2. shall i go on?

        • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

          Don’t expect Apple apps to be on Android any time soon. :)
          I meant 3rd party apps.
          I think Facebook was released for iPad not so long ago. I think the Android version is coming. But I would rather had a better, tablet optimized mobile site instead.
          Instapaper? Try Evernote, it’s amazing.

  • Teng247

    hahaha could use better/more google tv apps as well

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000106808261 Keith Sumner

    OMG THIS R NOT ABOUT GNEXUIS GET DIS OUTVE HERE LOL