Tag Archives: Tablets

High engagement, larger screens: How Android developers can reach users on any device

Posted by Allan Livingston, Product Management Director, Chrome OS App Ecosystem

Android fuels mobile apps on devices that range far beyond your typical small-screen smartphone, from new Chromebooks like the lightweight, high-performance Google Pixelbook Go to multi-display devices and foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Not to mention the more than 175M Android tablets that have the Google Play store installed.1

These large-screen devices set the stage for more engaging and visually immersive experiences, whether by creating a larger canvas for creativity or by giving users faster, more flexible ways to work. As we’ve continued to prioritize large-screen devices with OEM partners like Samsung, Asus, and Lenovo, we’ve been able to expand our reach to a huge new audience of users.

During the week of Black Friday in 2018, 1 in 3 notebooks sold in the U.S. were Chromebooks.2 Chromebook unit sales also increased 22% YoY, while the rest of the notebook category decreased -6.1%.3 And we’re not just reaching more users — we’re reaching more engaged users. In fact, in just the last year, the total amount of time spent in Android apps on Chrome OS has grown 4X.4

YoY notebook sales in the U.S.

By making adjustments for larger screens, you can provide richer experiences across all these devices and tap into a wider audience of app users. Development teams around the world — including Adobe Lightroom, Evernote, and Gameloft, among many others — have already seen some incredible results:

App developers driving engagement on larger screens

With the goal of allowing users to play any video file, anywhere, on any device or screen size, the developers at VideoLAN project decided to adapt VLC — an open source, cross-platform multimedia player — for all screens. The team started by adding keyboard and mouse support before designing multiple versions of the layout to allow users to easily scale and resize the app.

Users can now enjoy the same immersive experience across a range of different devices and form factors, and VideoLAN has already received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users around the world.

War Robots — a 12-player real-time battle game developed by Pixonic — was originally designed for early-generation phones. The team enabled windowed gameplay so users could play in one window while watching their favorite streamers or upgrading their robots in another, created new tutorials and controls that appear whenever players switch between desktop and tablet mode, and added support for keyboard and mouse input.

More than 100,000 players have already played War Robots on Chrome OS since Pixonic rolled out the latest optimizations, which made War Robots’ battles even more thrilling and engaging on larger screens, and Pixonic has seen 25% longer user sessions on Chromebooks as a result.

Is your app optimized for large-screen devices? Here are a few things to consider:

1) Laptop and tablet mode
Test your core app functions to make sure everything works smoothly without crashing as users switch between different modes.

2) Window management and layout
Support multi-window mode and free-form window resizing, and be sure to design optimized layouts for both landscape and portrait orientations. Set up your app to correctly handle configuration changes to avoid crashes when people rotate their devices.

Suite of devices

3) Keyboard and mouse input
Make sure your app is fully functional without touch input, and add support for keyboards, mice, and game controllers (if applicable).

4) Hardware support
If you’re using NDK, be sure to support x86 (32 and 64bit) ABIs to ensure the highest possible performance.

Build, test, and run Android apps on a Chromebook

From the start, our goal has been to make the Chromebook a simple, secure, and speedy environment for everyone. The launch of Linux (Beta) on Chrome OS allowed Android developers to build and test apps with a Chromebook. And earlier this year at I/O, we announced that Android Studio 3.5 now fully supports Chrome OS with a simple one-click installation.

Since then, we’ve been working on a few improvements that make Chromebooks an even better place for safe and seamless Android app development. Let’s start with the biggest one:

Deploying an app directly to Chrome OS to enable full Android development
In the past, you could only test your apps by deploying them to Android phones. With Chrome OS’s upcoming M80 release, you’ll be able to deploy Android apps directly to your Chromebook. That way, you can develop and test your app on the same machine, all without a connected device or needing to put your laptop in developer mode. Developers can start testing this feature in developer channel in November.

GPU acceleration for a snappier, jank-free UI (now in beta channel)
We’ve enabled GPU support to reduce latency and deliver a snappier UI. That goes for developer apps such as Android Studio, Unity Editor, or Visual Studio Code. And for developers who also work on web apps, GPU acceleration means faster testing with Chrome Canary or Firefox.

Container backup and restore to easily move between devices
Previously, Linux files and apps were tied entirely to the device — if you lost your device, you lost all the work inside of it. Now, Chrome OS’s container-based architecture allows you to pack up your entire workspace and export it to external storage or Drive. The backup file can be restored at any point, either on the same machine — which is helpful when jumping back to a previous state — or to move to another Chromebook.

You can now find import and export buttons in your Linux settings.

Picture-in-picture (PiP) support

If you’ve built PIP support into your Android apps, you’ll see that function work seamlessly in Chrome OS in 2020. But you can start testing this feature now by enabling PiP in Android settings → Developer options.

Build your apps with larger screens in mind

With millions of users on Chromebooks, tablets, foldables, and now multi-display devices, designing app experiences with larger screens in mind is crucial. Seize this opportunity to engage more users by optimizing your existing apps to work great across all screens. And the latest Linux features on Chrome OS give you the power to use a single machine to build and run Android apps. Don’t hesitate to take action to ensure your apps work seamlessly on larger screens with Linux on Chrome OS.









Sources

1. The number of tablets only accounts for devices that have the Google Play Store installed (e.g., excluding tablets in China); the actual number of tablets capable of running Android applications is much larger.

2. The NPD Group, Inc., Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Notebook Computers, Chrome OS, based on units, Nov. 18, 2018–Nov. 24, 2018 vs. Nov. 19, 2017–Nov. 25, 2017.

3. The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Notebook Computers, based on units, Sept. 2018–Aug. 2019. Sales are adjusted for 5 weeks in Jan. 2018 vs. 4 weeks in Jan. 2019.

4. Google Internal Data, March 2018–March 2019.

Bring Your Apps into the Classroom, with Google Play for Education

Posted by Shazia Makhdumi, Head of Strategic EDU Partnerships, Google Play team

Google Play for Education has officially launched. It’s an extension of Google Play that’s designed for schools, simplifying discovery of educational apps and enabling developers and content providers to reach K-12 educators in the U.S. It offers bulk purchasing with purchase orders and instant distribution of educational apps, videos and other educational content to students' Android tablets via the cloud. Google Play for Education helps your apps gain visibility with the right audiences, without having to knock on school doors.

If you've built an Android app that would be awesome for schools—or even have an idea for one—now's the time to jump in. We'll put you one click away from getting purchased and installed by entire school districts. Class Dojo, Explain Everything, Nearpod, and Socrative are already getting discovered in Google Play for Education.

How to join Google Play for Education

If you already have an educational Android app you can use the Google Play Developer Console to mark your apps for inclusion in Google Play for Education. Marking your app identifies it as suitable for the US K-12 educational market and queues it for educator approval. These educators perform a first-pass qualification of apps, assigning the appropriate subject, grade, and common core standards metadata, while evaluating if the app meets the Google Play for Education criteria for classroom use.

Designing great apps for classrooms

High quality apps are top priority for teachers. Whether you already have an existing K-12 educational app or are looking to build one, take a look at our detailed requirements and guidelines—which we have compiled for you based on educator feedback—to ensure your app is appropriate for a K-12 environment. Also ensure that your app is optimized for both 7” and 10” Android tablets. Then, upload your new or updated app through the Developer Console, opt in to Google Play for Education, and publish. We will email you when your app has been evaluated.

For more information, please visit the Google Play for Education pages on the Android developer site. We are excited to be supporting schools to bring the best content and tools to their students. We look forward to seeing your app on Google Play for Education.



Tablet changes in Google Play

Posted by Ellie Powers, Google Play team

Fueled by the Nexus 7 and other great devices, more than 70 million Android tablets have been activated. Thousands of developers have already designed their apps to look great on tablets, and with the holidays fast approaching, we’re making it even easier for the next wave of tablet owners to discover great apps and games.

Play Store tablet changes coming up on November 21

Last year, Google Play added a “designed for tablets” section, where users could easily discover apps that look great on their 7”- and 10”-tablets. This section includes only apps and games which meet criteria and guidelines we established last year. (Here’s an overview if you missed it.) Developers who invest the time to meet the criteria are seeing great results; take Remember The Milk, which saw an 83% increase in tablet downloads from being in this section. (see the whole story here).

On November 21 2013, the Play Store made a series of changes so it’s even easier for tablet users to find those apps that are best for their devices. First, by default, users browsing Google Play on a tablet will now see apps and games that are designed for tablets on the top lists (Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free, and Trending). Tablet users will still be able to switch the view so they can see all apps or games if they choose. Also starting November 21, apps and games that do not meet the “designed for tablets” criteria will be marked as “designed for phones” for users who browse the Play Store on tablets.

You’ll want to make sure that your app is designed for tablets; read more about how to do this at the end of this blog post.

Make sure your app is ready!

If you want to be sure your app is included in the “Designed for tablets” view, go to the Developer Console to check your tablet optimization tips. If you see any issues listed there, you’ll need to address them in your app and upload a new binary for distribution. If there are no issues listed, your app is eligible to be included in the “Designed for tablets" view in the top lists.

Also, make sure to read the full tablet quality checklist to understand how to build outstanding tablet experiences.

Everyday, thousands of Android developers are taking advantage of the tremendous Android tablet opportunity. The flood of new users coupled with the increased screen size means new user experiences, more engagement and more monetization opportunities. We’re excited to see what you do!

Unlocking More Users, with Tablets and Games

Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications

Last week, we unveiled a number of new things in the world of Android. And while we already showcased the new tools available at your disposal in Android 4.3, we also unveiled a new Nexus 7 tablet, as well as the Google Play Games app, both of which represent opportunities to take advantage of a growing number of users.

Nexus 7 and the Android tablet revolution

If you’re a developer optimizing your app for Android tablets, no doubt you’re familiar with the original Nexus 7. It was Google’s statement on what a great Android tablet experience should look like, and since then, the Android tablet ecosystem has come a long way. There have already been more than 70 million activations of Android tablets, with more than 1 in 2 tablets sold today running Android. We’re starting to see with Android tablets what could be the hockey stick growth all of us experienced a couple of years ago with Android smartphones, and we hope that the new Nexus 7 continues to fuel this growth even further.

Most top developers on Android have already prepared their applications for this wave of new Android tablet users, including many of the essentials, like the New York Times, Zappos, Evernote, Flipboard, Pinterest and more. To help users find your tablet-designed apps more easily on Google Play, you can now choose to only see apps designed for tablets in the top lists. There are also over 50 new collections, which highlight outstanding tablet apps.

To take advantage of the Android tablet revolution, check out our Tablet App Quality Checklist, which has tips and techniques on how to deliver a great app experience for tablet users. It details all of the key things you need to do to optimize your app for tablets, like taking advantage of the extra screen real estate and adjusting font sizes and touch targets, to things you can do on the distribution side, like declaring support for tablet screens and showcasing your tablet UI on Google Play by uploading tablet-specific screenshots. Optimizing your app for Android tablets will unlock a whole new group of users, like those who are about to receive their new Nexus 7 tablets.

Taking your game to the next level

The Android games category on Google Play is on fire; in fact, the vast majority of top mobile game developers are building Android tablet games, and most new titles launch immediately on Android. To help game developers take advantage of the next generation of games, at Google I/O in May, we introduced Google Play game services, our gaming platform for Android, iOS, and the web. By building on Google’s strengths in mobile and cloud services, Google Play game services allows game developers to focus on what they’re good at: creating great gaming experiences for their users.

Turbocharging that growth even more, on Wednesday we introduced the Google Play Games app, which brings your friends together with the games you love, where you can invite a friend and start challenging gamers around the world, compete for top achievements, and race to the top of the leaderboard.

Since the launch at Google I/O, just over two months ago, over one thousand games have added Google Play game services, with millions of users enjoying features like leaderboards and multiplayer inside of the games they love. Some of those early developers using Google Play game services are reporting incredible upticks in vital engagement metrics; for instance, Concrete Software is seeing session length up 15%, and Glu is reporting a 40% increase in 7-day user retention.

Here are a few things you can do to take your game to the next level with Google Play:

  • Integrate with Play Games using achievements and leaderboards to activate your players.
  • Add real-time multiplayer to competitive and cooperative games and increase engagement.
  • Use Play Games branding guidelines and create rich visuals that bolster your presence in the Google Play Games app.

Whether it be getting your app ready for the wave of new Android tablets that are lighting up each day, or opening up a whole new set of features for your users with Google Play game services, a great Android experience starts with a great app or game. That’s why we’re working hard to help provide you with the tools and features needed to create those great experiences for your users, and to help you reach as many of them as possible in the process, with Google Play.