Jul 11 AT 3:28 PM Alberto Vildosola 9 Comments

Android 3.2 allows switching to zoom mode on apps not optimized for Honeycomb

Android apps optimized for Honeycomb are growing by the day. The most popular ones already have a tablet version on the Market. However, there are still a lot of apps that haven’t made the jump to larger-sized screens. Most the time, these phone-only apps look pretty awful on tablet devices. And the experience feels a lot like using an over-sized phone and not a powerful computer (what Android tablets really are). Thankfully, Google feels your pain.

The company announced today that the next version of Honeycomb (Android 3.2) will support a new kind of compatibility mode that will let users change between stretch and zoom mode. If you’ve been using a phone app on your Honeycomb tablet, then you already know what stretch mode looks like–a “normal layout resizing” (using your app’s alternative resources for size and density).

Zoom mode on the other hand “runs your app in an emulated normal/mdpi screen” (approximately 320dp x 480dp) and scales that up to fill the screen. Imagine viewing your app at the size of a phone screen then zooming in about 200%. iOS users might be familiar with this mode, as this is the same way the iPad deals with iPhone apps. The result is that everything looks “bigger, but also more pixelated, because the system does not resize the layout.”

Neither of these modes are the perfect way to interact with apps on Android tablets, but at least Google is giving us options. This should become less of an issue once Ice Cream Sandwich arrives this Christmas, as the company plans to release an accompanying API framework that will make it as easy as possible to develop for all Android devices, including phones, tablets and TVs.

compat-toggle compat-compare

Source: Android Developers Blog

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • http://varemenos.com/ Varemenos

    Seems like google stopped caring about android smartphones and only bothers with android tablets

    • http://Website Blueman

      Wha? They are currently working to get their newest platform up to 100%, then it will meld with the smartphones OS to create Ice Cream.

    • http://Website The_Omega_Man

      Google release Gingerbread ~6 mo. ago and look how many manufactures and carriers have upgraded to that! What would be their hurry to update yet another version of the OS that does not carry forward?

  • keridel

    hoping asus keeps the trend and is the first person to release this as well for the transformer

  • http://maxtechnewz.blogspot.com max

    i like this but it is sort of copying ipad they should make it automatic

  • http://Website welcome to android fragmentation

    another round of fragmentation?

    • http://Website mike

      Naah… Ice Cream Sandwich will get rid of fragmentation issue on Android… I’m sure iOS has it’s fragmentations too… newer IOS updates will not work with original iphone and iphone 3G. I’ve seen this before…

  • http://www.twitter.com/mytharak mytharak

    Cant we just have a window manager already.

  • http://Website eadred

    Could someone tell me the name of the email widget present on the picture above? It looks amazing.