Google has activated over 70 million Android tablets, plans to make tablet apps more prominent

In an obvious move that should have coincided with the release of the Nexus 10 last year, Google plans to make ‘Designed for tablets’ the default view for tablet users browsing the Play Store.

Starting on November 21st, users will find their app selection limited to just those apps that have been optimized for large-screen usage. Non-tablet apps will still be downloadable, but will have the caption “Designed for phones” appended to its Play Store release.

Google claims that over 70 million Android tablets have been activated, though it’s unclear how many of them are still being used or capable of running modern apps and games. Many Android tablets have substandard hardware and older versions of Android that render them incapable of performing optimally with tablet-optimized apps.

At the same time, companies are weary of spending time and resources creating tablet-optimized apps. Though the number has exploded — 70 million activations sounds like a great number — substantive data continually shows Android behind iOS in terms of actual usage. Building great tablet apps should bridge that gap somewhat, but Google needs to ensure that the experience is consistent throughout its ecosystem, on any number of screen sizes and resolutions.

To that end, the company has developed a comprehensive “Tablet Quality Checklist” that shows developers how to build for larger screens. There’s also a tablet optimization list within the Android Developer Console that outlines ways devs can get their apps seen by more people around the world.

With the impending release of the new Nexus 10, and the recent successful launch of the new Nexus 7, Android tablets are in the best shape ever. Apple is set to shortly counter with two of its own new iPads, but all that likely means is more tablets, not fewer Android tablets.

[source]Android Developer Blog[/source]