It’s been a four weeks since Steve Jobs took the stage to unveil the iPad 2 and take a few cracks at Android’s tablet app count. You remember the slides. Jobs talked about the 65,000 apps that are designed to improve the iPad experience. He then put up a slide with the Android Honeycomb logo and the number 100. Even at that time, many considered the 100 app count to be a generous round number.
Since we are nearly a month out from that event, I thought I would see how many new apps designed for Android tablets are now available.
My criteria for considering an app for this list is that it either requires Android 3.0 or have its user interface be specifically designed for a tablet experience. I didn’t count games or existing Android apps that are just upconverted to take advantage of the existing screen real estate. While it is a marginally better experience than trying to run an iPhone app on an iPad, I’m not counting it given that Apple doesn’t count the hundreds of thousands of iPhone exclusive apps in its 65,000 iPad app count. There is little point in buying a $600 - $800 device just to run larger versions of apps you run on your phone.
Based on my criteria, I found 20 apps in the Android Marketplace for the Motorola Xoom.1
- CNN App For Android
- Electrum Drum Machine/Sampler
- Speedx 3D
- Grocery iQ - Tablet
- Vendetta Online
- Google Body
- USA Today For Tablet
- WeatherBug for Honeycomb
- Thumb Keyboard (Phone/Tablet
- DrawFree - Honeycomb Tablet
- TouchDown for Tablets
- Draft Manager 11
- NY Times2
- File Station Tablet
If you look at the Featured Android Apps For Tablets section of the Android Marketplace, there are 50 items listed and most are upconverted and offer no significant advantages on a tablet other than a larger screen.
No matter how many billions of dollars Google drains into the Android project to make it relevant in the tablet space, it will never succeed without a thriving app marketplace. The biggest reason the iPad is a success is because of its thriving App Store which continues to add value to the device years after purchase.
It is far too early to count them out as they seem to be slow burners when it comes to building a platform. If you compare where Android on the phone was with the G1 back in the fall of 2008 to today, it’s a drastic difference. Maybe once Google releases its vice grip on the Android 3.0 source code and more tablets are out on the market, development efforts will ramp up.
Thanks to Xoom owner and carpeaqua reader CJ for answering some questions on the Honeycomb marketplace for me.