October 11, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
When HTC Tattoo owners open the Android Market for the first time, they will discover a Market that is a bit lighter than what’s seen on other devices. That’s because the Market will not list any Android app that doesn’t expressly state in its manifest that the app will display and function correctly on a QVGA resolution.
The issue centers on the HTC Tattoo and its 2.8 inch screen using QVGA (240 x 320). Developers have previously designed their apps for devices like the HTC Dream and Samsung Galaxy, which have HVGA resolutions (320 x 480), so the Tattoo will have trouble displaying apps correctly.
That means unless a developer is willing to spend extra time testing his/her app and adjusting it to fit on smaller screens using the new sizing tools available in Donut, the Android Market on Tattoo devices will not list the app. We highlighted this problem last month, and the Google Developer blog has provided additional clarity on how developers can avoid the problem.
Android supports three classes of screen size: Small (Tattoo), Normal (Dream), and Large (tablets like Archos). While large devices have a compatibility mode to display Normal class apps, Small screen sizes will not be able to squeeze the content in.
Romain Guy wrote:
Devices with small-class screens, however, will only be shown apps which explicitly declare (via the AndroidManifest) that they will run properly on small screens. In our studies, we found that “squeezing” an app designed for a larger screen onto a smaller screen often produces a bad result. To prevent users with small screens from getting a bad impression of your app (and reviewing it negatively!), Android Market makes sure that they can’t see it until you upload a new version that declares itself compatible.
Guy provides tips to help developers address the issue of screen size differences. He also states that QVGA devices will be available this holiday season, so let’s hope most Android developers choose to support the smaller screens before then.