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March 24, 2015


abdul muis

"Followed was a blurb and link to their mobile apps: iPhone, iPad, Android. Notice no special Android tablet app."

That's because Android is NOT iOS.
In Android, the apps, if made correctly, could ANALYSE the screen size and display the different layout for specific screen size. So, there is NO NEED to separate the apps for phone and tablet. This is also good for gamer, they could purchase the apps once and play both in tablet and phone.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi LeeBase, Baron and abdul

LeeBase - I wasn't actually suggesting SMS as an advertising channel haha, although obviously it is used as one. It is far better as a customer service platform - think of say you losing your password on some web service and receiving the confirmation code to your mobile phone - via SMS. Or using SMS as a media channel - breaking news alerts, or using SMS as interactive TV participation, or SMS as digital signature to contracts, or SMS as remote control of say pay toilets, or yeah, payments, or say voting like in Estonian elections, or an airline boarding pass, etc etc etc.

Haha but yeah, funny coincidence in timing that you then received that email. Now on 'who needs to reach all people' - actually we ALL have that need. In South Africa they have that service on SMS 'Please Call Me' which is free to any user, can send the request for help to anyone else on any of the networks - for free (sponsored by advertising). 85% of South Africans had sent such an SMS - but get this, 100% of South Africans had RECEIVED that type of message. This is totally beyond 'economically viable' population, the poor relative in the village, is visiting your mom, mom has an accident, your poor relative has no balance left on the phone. Needs to call you urgently, how to do that? Send Please Call Me message for free. You call the relative and find out about the emergency, arrange an ambulance, etc... Only SMS can do this. Or take emergency alerts, tsunamis in the Philippines or volcanos in Guatemala etc. The primary emergency alert system in almost all countries is now SMS, as it reaches the largest population - even in their sleep (an normal FM radio turned off for the night will not wake you when the natural disaster hits but SMS will wake you up in bed..). I could go on for days haha...

Now back to your point of reach and demographics, SMS vs social media. We had that survey by RadiumOne of USA sports fans watching NFL games on TV. 41% used social media while watching TV, that is to be expected. So if you're selling say beer, and want to reach the TV-watching audience, yes Facebook can get you 4 in 10 of those NFL fans watching the game. But what if you now add - ADD - SMS to the mix? 56% of those NFL fans send SMS text messages WHILE watching the games live. Yes, after all the great reach you can achieve with Facebook, even in America, home of Facebook and laggard in SMS, even among couch-potato middle-aged men, hardly youth teen audience - you reach nearly 50% BIGGER audience using SMS - or to put it in another way - of TV-watching beer-drinking target audience, if you ignore SMS and only use Facebook, you abandon a THIRD of the addressable audience. In every other country and in any other demographic the advantage of SMS will be even greater. I rest my case.

PS on selling that app? None other than Peggy Anne Salz in her big brand new smartphone apps book says - app developers can sell more apps by engaging with mobile users, by using.. yes.. SMS.

Baron - all of the above obviously applies to your comment too haha... yes there is diminishing returns. But that is TOTALLY not true with SMS vs social media (or Whatsapp etc) see NFL football example in the above.

abdul - that is sub-optimal. A tablet has a lot of screen space and should take good use of it, not just seem like a greatly magnified 'small screen'. Similarly smarpthone screen should not be tiny print squeezed-tight tablet screen. Its exactly the 30 minute / 3 minute / 30 second thinking I've been teaching for years on this blog and now increasingly tablet experts also start to agree on. The optimal digital service (game, app, whatever) is OPTIMIZED for the device and its screen, not trying to do the bland compromise never using the strengths of the given gadget.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

abdul muis


You obviously don't have android tablet experience.

In Android, devices come with many display size and screen density. Therefore, Google has created a way to determine how things were displayed in android. For example a 2650x1980 5" phone should have BIGGER font compared to 1280x720 10" tablet. Therefore, a good developer can create an apps with a SINGLE apk for lots of phone & tablet.

This is NOT by means as what you said, a tablet as magnified 'small screen'.


@Abdul, there are universal apps for the iPhone and iPad, too. The point is that tablet optimized apps still make sense even if the underlying OS is resolution independent. The problem with Android is that it lets developers be "lazy" and write a single app that doesn't provide an ideal experience for one platform vs. another.



You do not even need two apps to provide an ideal experience on both phone and tablet. And with many tablets being a mere 7'' the size difference to a phone is marginal anyway.

The major difference between iOS and Android is that Android promotes a flexible approach that allows to properly support both without having to resort to two separate apps. I'm quite certain that this isn't even necessary on iOS, it merely shows bad developer skills.

John Phamlore

In theory SMS the technology solved the problem of the unbanked way back in 2007 in Kenya. Yet here we are today with billions still unbanked yet SMS ubiquitous as a technology.

There are those such as the World Bank and the Gates Foundation who believe the problem could be solved relatively quickly, the World Bank estimating by 2020. We will see. As I get older I become more and more skeptical of any form of technological messianism.

It's 2015 and actually the towel has been thrown in on trying to dramatically extend technologies such as indoor plumbing and an electrical grid to those who currently do not have them. Ah but phones are different, look what a phone from 2007 can do. But that is the point. It is one thing to mass distribute mass produced consumer electronics; it appears to be something on a whole different level to develop within a country or region the necessary skills and institutional organization to fully leverage this technology.

To give an example from history, I have the impression the Romans had the technology that could have saved their empire. It was the heavy plow that could plow the earth of northern Europe, in particular Germany. But it was too late for Rome in the things that mattered, with the decay of its institutions having already occurred by then for centuries.



"Those "scaled up" apps look TERRIBLE on a 10" tablet. Unless it's an app like a browser or a book reader that simply has a menu and a large are to read."

Some of them do look funny, yes.

But Abdul Muis and RottenApple are right, on Android you can have a single app with different UIs for phones, phablets and tablets. Look no further than GMail for an example.

So from a pure technical point of view a tablet app on Android is unnecessary - if the developer has taken care of the different screen real estates and provides different menues etc.

But in the real world, lots of apps are simply upscaled.

OTOH, on a 10 inch tablet you can use the browser for Facebook etc., so there is not much need for an own app in many cases.


> on Android you can have a single app with different UIs for phones, phablets and tablets

Correct, and it works very well. Android introduced the concept of dynamic layouts, which adjust to the screen-size, rather early knowing that there will be a wide range of target devices. Beside auto-layouts Android gives 5 igh-level targets ranging from very low screen resolution (ie watch) to very high screen resolution (ie large-screen TV) and enables to easy optimize the complete layout (via xml files) for each to e.g. display more on high-res.

That concept is rather clever but sure does it depend on the developer to use it. Some do, gmail was named as prime example but there are many others, and some do not what results in this ugly upscale/downscale effects. As usual there is no 100% solution out of the box but developers need to still manually adjust. But in the case of Android this happens in the same application and its lesser work to optimize there then creating separate apps/apks for different screen-sizes.

iOS in contrast was many years very developer unfriendly if it comes to layouts. Mostly layouts where hardcoded to a fixed screen-size. Not a problem till iOS devices, like the iPad, appeared which had different screen-sizes. Developers had to support that and in most cases the easiest way was to duplicate the app and change the hardcoded layouts for the other screen. Horrible. Then we got retina, the iPhone6+, etc. Apple knew they need to fix that and offer an easy auto layout solution like Android has. They did and cameup with Swift. Introduced in iOS some time ago, improved since then, this days the suggested way to write iOS apps to address different screen-sizes in the same app rendering the need for specialized tablet/retina/etc apps useless. But I would expect that it will take some time till Swift is used in all this iOS apps and the different app screen-size versions vanish once and forever. The fate of changed requirements, legacy and slow adaption.

abdul muis


The point here is, just because some apps said available for iphone, ipad, android, doesn't mean that the apps will looks bad on android tablet. There were some apps that were written badly in android and will look bad in the device size/resolution that were not owned by the apps maker. But there were also good one. It's the same in Android world, or in Apple world. Some apps looks great, some looks like shit.



"Facebook, last I looked, is an example of how terrible an experience of designing an app for phone that "automatically scales" for a tablet. MOST Android apps behave like Facebook's.

There is no technology issue at's an economic incentive issue"

Right - in this case there is no economic incentive to adjust Facebook to 10" screens because on such a device you can access it via the browser anyways.

I'd ask the opposite question - why do you need a Facebook app on a 10" iPad at all?



"I'd ask the opposite question - why do you need a Facebook app on a 10" iPad at all?"

I find that the app version of Facebook works better than the web version on my iPads. The web version has some wonky issues when changing the orientation of the device.


adi purbakala


Only moron is told no listen.
All tell you android apps optimize tablet but no brag.
You close your ear and "lalala".


Leebase provides iFUD at its best. How convenient to ignore what everybody else is saying and getting hung up on one of the WORST known Android apps in existence.


So Facebook is one of the worst known Android apps in existence?
Twitter does not by today even have Symbian app. Never did, not even when Symbian was by far the largest OS.
On which platform did Instagram appear on first?

Is there any chance that the original point (measurement by market share does not work for developer attraction) is valid...
...or are social network companies just stupid?


@Leebase: "Do,you guys not have a 10" android tablet?"

Yes, Sony Z2 tablet running CM12.

I don't use Facebook at all, so I personally couldn't care less about its app. It may be ugly, but...

On the tablet, I use the browser most of the time. The web apps I use on my 5" phone are usually accessed via the browser on my tablet, since it is able to handle this very well. I also exclusively use the desktop view of web pages.

Some apps are upscaled, but use the space available on the tablet when displaying lists (e.g. Bubble UPNP). This is OK.

Other apps are only upscaled without providing anything, but most of the time I don't bother: E.g. the Denon app I use to control my receiver via WIFI (mostly for the volume control) looks loke an overblown phone app.
But I don't spend much time there, so I don't care (start app, adjust volume, close app).

So as a summary I can say that these upscaling issues do exist, but are not annoying enough to care about.

Of course OTOH one could imagine a user who spends hours per day on an ugly upscaled app which cannot be replaced by the browser. Yes that would suck. But I don't know such a use case in the real world.



"... ...or are social network companies just stupid?"

Yes, that is the explanation that we seem to end up with. Users are stupid. Phone manufacturers are stupid. Software companies are stupid.

"Stupid" is the new "black". It goes with any analysis, and explains everything.



@Baron 95:

"Boy every blog post on this site now becomes and anti-Apple tirade, by the same inadequate people. "

Quite the contrary. Every single blog post on this site becomes a tirade of Apple praise, by the same few obnoxious people (you and Leebase, primarily) who attempt to drown any intelligent discussion in their noise.


"But as I pointed out -- the Kohls ad has texting, iPhone app, iPad app, Android phone app, and half a dozen social links. But no Android Tablet app. That is the norm. Companies stop at creating an Android phone app and there apparently is little incentive to create the great android tablet experience."

You are repeating yourself. But you still haven't provided any proof that the Android app doesn't have proper tablet support, unless you do that I'll rule in favor of the accused.
Having both an iPhone and an iPad app when there should be one that serves both devices properly is just another kind of development failure, but apparently the common iUser needs this as a sign of reassurance that both devices work as intended and projects their expectations onto a platform that's different.


Had a hard lol to read about facebook's app since they do not only different apk's for different screen-sizes but also for different hardware. Hey, its facebook, they have money, loads of dev-resources and not so mainstream ideas (like this html5 app disaster in 2012 for example).

"Our colleagues in the Facebook London office focused on improving app size efficiency. They approached this problem by utilizing Google Play’s ability to upload multiple APKs for different Android OSes and screen resolutions. This allows us to exclude excess code for features or resources not supported on certain mobile devices."



"Having both an iPhone and an iPad app when there should be one that serves both devices properly is just another kind of development failure, but apparently the common iUser needs this as a sign of reassurance that both devices work as intended and projects their expectations onto a platform that's different."

I'm not sure what you mean by this. It's perfectly normal for iOS devices to have just one single universal app working both on iPhone and iPad. There is really no problem with that. Then again the developers are allowed to choose that they target only iPad or iPhone. It's a freedom of choice for the developers. Now suddenly you put that out like it was some kind of a problem that the developers can have a choice.



"But as I pointed out -- the Kohls ad has texting, iPhone app, iPad app, Android phone app, and half a dozen social links. But no Android Tablet app. That is the norm"

Could you please address the point? As far as I have seen, Kohls ad is just a web page where you can order stuff.

It's like Amazon, I don't need an app for such things on the tablet at all. The browser works fine for such things.

I wouldn't even look for an app for such tasks, why would you need one at all? It's not a phone, mind you, so the screen is big enough to display the regular page.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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