Honeycomb, the Android OS specifically for tablets, has been criticized quite a bit , mainly because of the lack of applications that are tablet specific. Most apps are not made for the large, higher resolution displays, and as such aren’t really “fully” compatible. Well, Google has stepped in to address that, stating that in the near future release of honeycomb, there will be an option to toggle between stretching the app display to fill the screen, or zooming in to fill the screen.
From the post of the Android Developers Blog:
Android tablets are becoming more popular, and we’re pleased to note that the vast majority of apps resize to the larger screens just fine. To keep the few apps that don’t resize well from frustrating users with awkward-looking apps on their tablets, a near-future release of Honeycomb is introducing a new screen compatibility mode to make these apps more usable on tablets. If your app is one of the many that do resize well, however, you should update your app as soon as possible to disable screen compatibility mode so that users experience your app the way you intend.
Beginning with the upcoming release, any app that does not target Android 3.0 (set either
android:targetSdkVersionto “11” or higher) or does not explicitly set
<supports-screens>element will include a button in the system bar that, when touched, allows users to select between two viewing modes on large-screen devices.
“Stretch to fill screen” is normal layout resizing (using your app’s alternative resources for size and density) and “Zoom to fill screen” is the new screen compatibility mode.
When the user enables this new screen compatibility mode, the system no longer resizes your layout to fit the screen. Instead, it 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%. The effect is that everything is bigger, but also more pixelated, because the system does not resize your layout or use your alternative resources for the current device (the system uses all resources for a normal/mdpi device). In cases where an app does not properly resize for larger screens, this screen compatibility mode can improve the app’s usability by emulating the app’s phone-style look, but zoomed in to fill the screen on a tablet.
Interesting workaround, and if it really does give me access to a lot of the feed/news apps for Android phones, it’ll be really useful. Read the rest of the post over at the Android Developers Blog, here.