Handcuffed by Honeycomb
by Seni Sangrujee on June 29, 2011The Honeycomb release of Android has been out for a while now, but I still haven't figured out what to do about it. Most of the Android developers I know have decided to just hold off since the users aren't there yet, but I don't know if that's the right move. It's funny, though, out of all the users across my apps, I've had only one email requesting a tablet version and that was on the day of the XOOM launch, but no other emails since then.
For a long time it was easy to ignore Honeycomb since the emulator was unusable. It was just too slow to do any serious development on it. But after Google gave away Galaxy Tab 10.1 devices to us at Google I/O, that excuse isn't valid anymore.
But I think I've been suffering from Paralysis by Analysis trying to figure out what to do, and it's been delaying updates of my apps, so I've got to make a decision.
One APK or TwoFor a long time I've been agonizing over going with one .apk for both phone and tablet versions or separate .apks for each device. I'd prefer to go with just one version like an iPhone/iPad Universal app, but it's such a big change to my existing codebase, I'm uneasy about subjectin all my users to this transition. My apps are pretty stable now and I have a fairly large userbase that isn't asking for Honeycomb compatibility, so I don't want to end up with a bunch of unhappy users for something they didn't ask for.
I've also been looking at making a separate tablet version of my apps similar to iPad HD versions of apps in the iOS AppStore. But I'm not thrilled at making my existing users pay for a tablet version when they already bought the phone version. If the Android Market had Promo Codes like the AppStore does I could gift the Tablet version to all my existing paid users. I'd love to reward the users that supported me, especially those who've been with me from the beginning.
DecisionSo after spending months trying to figure this out, I've decided to keep all my existing phone apps on Gingerbread (2.3) and wait for Ice Cream Sandwich due at the end of the year and re-evaluate things.
For new apps, I'm going to go with a combined phone/tablet app in one .apk. I wish I had come to a different conclusion, but I'm picturing a support nightmare for something that will only benefit a few users.