With Gingerbread (Android 2.3) still not out of the door
errm, yes it is, I was using it last night infact.
Google's Andy Rubin has been showing off Honeycomb, the next version of Android and one with proper tablet support, explaining how Android applications will work across form factors. With Gingerbread (Android 2.3) still not out of the door, Google has already started hyping Honeycomb (Android 3), which promises support for …
The idea of fragments essentially is a shortcut many lazy devs will abuse to avoid actually making a different views, different options, different graphics and more that actually use the larger screen.
This works well for a "pane" based application like mail, but how this might apply to a document viewer, graphic application, game, etc, it doesn't work out. It's not just about using more pixels without "scaling," its about USING the additional space offered in more productive ways.
Maybe its possible to show one pane on a hone, and a completely different one on a pad, but even so, without the UI itself being naively aware of the resolution, and determining WITHIN a pane what to show and not, then you;re either asking devs to make dozens of frames, one each for every possible resolution, or they'll just scale it up anyway, or they'll show inconsistent panes that don;t completely fill the screen and may or may not show up if the device is not detected properly. Also, resolution alone is a bad idea, unless the app understands the actual native screen size, and can accommodate the appropriate panes (in their appropriate resolutions), for that screen, this could go badly.
I anticipate gingerbread, but i was hoping it would have some native UI elements and custom APIs to actually make creating a GUI that is appropriate for a larger screen both easier and more consistent across devices, this "fragments" idea sounds like it's going to introduce fragmentation into not only app performance development and OS version fragmentation, but screen scaling issues too. Neat trick to get a lot of simple apps "optimized" for the panel, but the devs are going to hate it, and any app actually coded to work as a single pane on a larger screen is going to need completely separate code to work on a smaller one (if it would at all).
When iOS got bigger, they added featyures specific to what a tablet UI could take advantage of. I'm hearing very little of that happening on Google's end.
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