Google presented its recent work in the area of large-screen devices during today’s The Android Show as well as its lofty goal for the form factor, which includes “tablet-first” apps.
A brief cameo by the co-founder of Android and current CTO of tablets for Google was made during the webcast. “What’s different with tablets this time around?” should be answered by Rich Miner.
In 2011, we released the initial Android tablet version. The usage that led to the uptake of tablets was primarily consumption. The inexpensive tablets were suitable for eating. Just to scale that movie up on a bigger screen, the media players, YouTubes, and other apps performed admirably. It remained that way for a very long time, and tablet growth essentially stopped.
But even before COVID, Google observed a surge in the sales of large-screen tablets, with COVID acting as a “accelerator” for growth the following year. Keyboard attach rates were mentioned as one piece of data that was “going substantially higher.”
According to the theory, tablets started to be better for uses other than simple consumption since they were being utilized for productivity and creativity, which necessitated the usage of more displays and gadgets.
The most intriguing aspect is how Miner compares tablets to computers. especially how tablets are “less expensive than a laptop” and “extremely competent.” He observes that tablet sales in 2020 came close to matching laptop shipment levels and predicts that trend will persist after COVID.
In fact, I believe that there will come a moment in the not-too-distant future where the number of tablets sold each year surpasses that of laptops. I believe that once you pass that threshold, there is no turning back.
Miner was questioned about the preparations that developers should make in light of Google’s pushback. The first entails looking at Google’s newest Jetpack Libraries and other items introduced with Android 12L to see how an app might utilize extra screen space.
The second, about which Miner is more enthusiastic, encourages programmers to create new tablet-first applications:
What new apps might benefit from individuals who would be doing things stylus-enabled out of the gate if tablets truly become this new platform for people to be creative and productive? What does that mean for the mobility a tablet offers you that a laptop doesn’t even come close to?
He, and indirectly Google, think that the tablet form factor will open up a wide range of novel use cases. He compares it to how, in the early years of smartphones, many just ported desktop applications to mobile before learning they needed to create entirely new experiences for the new form factors.
In fact, I believe that there will soon be a new wave of apps that are designed with tablets in mind. What can I accomplish that maybe I couldn’t easily do with something that was physically attached to a keyboard with that bigger screen?