When news was let out that certain Google Android tablets wouldn’t have access to the Android Market, those looking forward to nabbing one were confused and a bit disappointed. However, it was made pretty clear by Google’s mobile product development director, Hugo Barra, that the apps on Android may not play well with tablets and screen resolutions that are much higher than that of smartphones.
Now Barra is also coming out and reminding everyone of the obvious:
“Android is an open platform. We saw at IFA 2010 all sorts of devices running Android, so it already running on tablets.But the way Android Market works is it’s not going to be available on devices that don’t allow applications to run correctly.“Which devices do, and which don’t will be unit specific, but Froyo is not optimised for use on tablets.“If you want Android market on that platform, the apps just wouldn’t run, [Froyo] is just not designed for that form factor.“We want to make sure that we’re going to create a application distribution mechanism for the Android market, to ensure our users have right experience.”
Now really, what is a tablet running Android without Android applications? It isn’t much. That’s the problem with Android and fragmentation. Now, we can argue all day that fragmentation isn’t the correct word to use, but I don’t see the same kind of consistency with Android that iOS has across different devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad).
Some manufacturers support certain apps, others don’t. There are many different user interfaces for Android. Applications have to play nicely with different screen resolutions. Some tablets will have Android Market, others won’t. Right now, it’s going to be very hard for Android to compete in the tablet market not only because of these limitations, restrictions and rules, but because manufacturers aren’t building anything as sexy and solid as the iPad.