Google Play update puts tablet-optimized apps front and center for slate users

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Anyone visiting the Google Play Store using a tablet should now find it easier to discover apps and games optimized for their device following an update rolled out Thursday.

The Android app store has undergone a redesign that brings to the fore software made especially for tablets. The new default view will highlight top lists (top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free, and trending) made up of tablet-optimized apps, with smartphone apps filtered out.

‘Designed for tablets’

Google Play has actually had a ‘designed for tablets’ section for a while, though with Friday’s update this is pushed front and center.

Apps that don’t meet the ‘designed for tablets’ criteria will live in the ‘designed for phones’ section instead. Tablet owners who wish to view apps for both tablets and phones, or just phones, can still do so by switching between the various viewing options.

Besides helping users of large-screen devices find suitable apps more easily, the changes are also designed to encourage developers to create more tablet-specific apps with the reassurance that their work will be easier to find rather than lost under a pile of smartphone-optimized alternatives.

Last month Ellie Powers of the Android Developers Blog reminded developers that more than 70 million Android tablets have now been activated. Powers said she hoped that with improvements to app discoverability like the one rolled out Friday, developers will be more likely to start adapting their existing smartphone apps for tablets, or build brand new ones that take full advantage of a slate’s larger display. 

“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,” Powers wrote last month in a message to developers.

She continued, “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.”