Google is doing something Apple should have done for the iPad years ago

Final Cut Pro on iPad
(Image credit: Matt Birchler)

Google has announced that it intends to make changes to the Google Play store that will help promote good quality tablet apps and then shame the ones whose developers might not have put in the extra work.

The move, Google seems to believe, will help to push developers to create apps that are designed specifically for large-screen devices which will also include foldable phones like the Pixel Fold.

The focus on apps that play well on tablets is something Apple could perhaps get behind. While some iPad apps are excellent, the App Store is still full of tablet apps that are little more than phone apps blown up for bigger screens.

Big screen plans

Google announced the new policy in a post on the Android Developers Blog, saying that "to promote high-quality apps that shine on large screens, we’ve made several ranking changes to boost quality across Play."

As a result, "apps and games that adhere to our large screen app quality guidelines will now be ranked higher in search and Apps and Games Home." That will mean that apps that "resize well, aren't letterboxed, and support both portrait and landscape orientations" will be easier for Android tablet and foldable phone users to find.

What's more, Google says that app product pages will include details about how well an app will behave on a large-screen device to help set user expectations.

Google and Android have historically struggled to get developers to build apps that work well on tablets, something that has also impacted large-screen foldable phones as well. The company will no doubt hope that this move will help incentivize developers to spend the extra time and effort to make their app look better on those devices.

As for Apple, this app resizing situation could be one of the reasons it's yet to enter the foldable phone market with a bendy iPhone of its own.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • jBrown
    I find it interesting that they are pushing for this

    That will mean that apps that "resize well, aren't letterboxed, and support both portrait and landscape orientations"

    Not all apps work in both orientations. Some productivity apps do. However, video editing, educational apps geared towards children, or games are not designed for both orientations. I hope there are exceptitions.
  • FFR
    Developers care about monetized subscriptions, best of luck with the shame.