The State of Android Market for Honeycomb: Sloppy

By  |  Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Earlier today, I put together a slideshow of 10 Android 3.0 Honeycomb apps for PC World. I don’t own a Motorola Xoom, so I used the Android Market website for research. It wasn’t easy finding apps that were designed with Google’s tablet OS in mind — there’s no dedicated section for them on the site — but I managed to eek out a list using a variety of search terms.

Then I noticed Kevin Tofel’s story for GigaOM on how the Android Market currently has 16 Honeycomb apps. He did it the easy way, by visiting the Market on a Xoom.

But here’s the problem: Kevin’s list doesn’t neatly overlap with mine. I found a few “3.0 and up” apps that don’t appear when you search directly on the tablet, such as TouchDown and Drawing Pad. I also missed a handful of apps that work fine on phones but are optimized for larger screens as well. Clearly, the system for finding tablet apps in the Android Market needs a lot of work.

On the web side, there’s no tablet app filter. Your only option is to search for terms like “Honeycomb” or to do a “ ‘3.0 and up‘” Google search. Even then, you’ll miss Honeycomb-friendly apps such as Pulse, which doesn’t announce its tablet capabilities in the app description. That problem could be fixed with something like the “+” icon Apple uses to denote universal apps, along with a way to search for them specifically on the web.

On the tablet side, some apps are simply missing from the Market’s master list. I don’t know what’s going on there, but if Google expects developers to create a thriving market of Honeycomb apps, the app list will need to update consistently. The Market could also use an indicator of whether a smartphone app will work on Honeycomb tablets in the first place.

Google’s made some great strides lately with the Android Market, including in-app purchases, the new website and the ability to install an app remotely from the web. I hope the problems with identifying Honeycomb apps don’t become a long-term setback.


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. Zandroid Says:

    Developers have only had access to a final 3.0 sdk for less than a week. The 3.0 emulator is too slow for anything but the most basic debugging tasks, and the hardware running 3.0 just became available. So, being surprised that there aren't any apps is a bit… silly.

  2. JaredNewman Says:

    Try reading again. The article has nothing to do with the number of apps available.

  3. Relwal Says:

    You don't seem to understand how Android Market nor Android app compatibility works. I think you should start with some basis research into understanding how the Android Market works in terms of app listings and filtering.

    The Android Developer Blog and the Android Developer Guide have had numerous articles on the subjects. Understanding these subjects would help you with your future research.

  4. pragmatist Says:

    That's not really relevant. I would hope that a developer reads those documents and uses the guidance they provide. But, what we're reading about is the experience that a "regular" user is going to come up against. That's a real problem. If users need to read the developer docs to find applications that they feel confident will work, then not too many people are going to be all that interested. Not a win for the platform or the developers who write for it.

  5. Harry McCracken Says:

    I like Honeycomb and am looking forward to more Honeycomb apps, but the Android Market still feels seedy and confusing. It's a huge issue.


  6. JAson Says:

    The fact the you would have to go to that link to get an understanding of how the filtering works and thus get better results for tablet apps proves a lack of usability or user-friendliness.

  7. Dave Says:

    As a long time android user, I have to agree to some extent. There really needs to be a better breakdown of apps into more sub categories.

  8. Muay Thai Says:

    Yep, or at-least let us sort them ourselves locally. Muay Thai | Muay Thai Kick | Martial Arts for Children

  9. BobH22 Says:

    I'm an avid fan of Android. Until then, it's one of the best mobile OS so far. Ankit Malik