If you grab your Android tablet and head to the Google Play Store right now to search for an app, you’ll likely have a frustrating time. While you’ll probably be able to find the app you want, you won’t have any idea if that app works well on your tablet. You also won’t know if there is a different version of that app that is better for tablets.
See also: Your guide to the best tablets
This has been an ongoing problem for years, with Google essentially ignoring that Android tablets even exist. However, with the launch of Android 12L and Google’s surprising new interest in the success of Android tablets, the problem is getting addressed. On the Android Developers Blog, Google has laid out a plan for improving the method of finding apps on the Play Store for tablets.
Play Store for tablets: Three improvements
In the blog post, Google breaks its overall plan down into three main points:
- Ranking: The ranking logic on the Play Store will now take into account apps that meet the fundamental compatibility requirements for tablets. In other words, apps that support portrait/landscape modes, keyboard and stylus integration, etc. will head to the top of the list. This will also apply outside of the search section, such as on the home page.
- Alerts: If a tablet user tries to install an app that doesn’t meet the fundamental requirements, an alert will pop up to warn them of this. Google hopes this will help set proper expectations.
- Device-specific ratings: Google actually announced this last year. This will show ratings and reviews for an app based on the platform. In other words, if an app works incredibly well on a phone but terribly on a tablet, a tablet user will see a rating for tablets only.
The rest of the post about optimizing the Play Store for tablets is more developer-focused. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t give any specific timeframe for the rollout of these changes, other than its usual “in the coming months.” Still, better late than never, right?