If you thought Android was a mere smartphone platform, think again. Google is gleefully celebrating the fact that its operating system is finding a home on a Galaxy of devices, from tablets to TVs to home phone systems. Further, the company is claiming to Android developers that their wares need only be written once to support any number of screen sizes and resolutions.
A high level of ubiquity, portability, and flexibility may prove critical in the battle of portable, lightweight operating systems against rivals such as Apple iOS and HP's webOS. Users will want to be able to get at their familiar apps, regardless of device. Developers, meanwhile, may see a benefit developing for a platform that lends itself well to relatively easy porting among devices.
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In a post on the Android Developers blog, open source and compatibility program manager Dan Morrill talks about the impact of having such an array of devices emerging with varying screen sizes, such as the 5-inch Dell Streak and the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab. "It's pretty rare that we see problems with existing apps running on large-screen devices, but at the same time many apps would benefit from making better use of the additional screen space," he writes. "For instance, an email app might be improved by changing its UI from a list-oriented layout to a two-pane view."