Google Play to emphasise tablet-optimised apps from November 21

Google has announced a major change to its Google Play app store for Android, with tablet users set to only see “designed for tablets” apps by default.

In an update earlier this year, Google added a “designed for tablets” section for its app store.

From November 21, users viewing the store on the tablets will view it in “designed for tablets” mode by default, although there will be a menu option allowing them to view all apps if they so choose.

“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),” Google says in a statement.

“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.”

Google has also posted a checklist for developers, and is urging them to create tablet-optimised apps.

“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,” the company says in a statement.

“If you want to be sure your app is included in the ‘designed for tablets’ view in time for the November 21 Play Store changes, 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.”

The news comes ahead of the release of the next major version of Android, dubbed 4.4 KitKat, which will also see SMS text messaging handled through the company’s Hangouts app.


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