Flipboard’s tablet-optimized version of its Android app is everything you expect if you’ve ever used Flipboard on another gadget, which is to say it’s awesome. And it’s exactly what other big-time app makers should be doing, but too many aren’t.
The elegant app puts Twitter, Facebook, Rdio, Spotify, Instagram, Dropbox, eBay, Yelp, Foursquare and everyone else on notice: Your Android tablet apps don’t have to suck, and if they do, it’s because you’re lazy. It isn’t that these companies can’t make apps that look as great as they work, it’s just that they chose not to.
Flipboard’s app looks and works fantastically on both 7-inch and 10-inch slates. The stiff board turns seen in Flipboard’s other apps are just as responsive on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets we tested the app on. My Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud, Tumblr and Facebook feeds appeared without a hitch. So did articles and videos pulled from dozens of sources around the web. Everything was laid out in Flipboard’s lovely magazine-like user interface — exactly as expected.
The app responds to the various screen sizes found in Android tablets, taking full advantage of the platform’s widescreen displays and perfectly scaling as needed. Flipboard said it spent more than a year working with Samsung to ensure its app works seamlessly on the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note tablets, but you can also run it on any other Android tablet, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes Noble’s Nook.
Flipboard isn’t alone in making a slick Android tablet app. Netflix, Hulu, Plume, Mint, Instapaper and Tiny Co. offer tablet-optimized apps that rock. Google has released plenty of design tools for tablet-optimized Android apps and practically begged developers to get on board. And of course Google builds fantastic tablet apps, providing many examples for others to follow.
But Flipboard remains remarkable. The app that Steve Jobs loved on his iPad has lost nothing in its translation to Android tablets and makes full use of their different form factors. This is significant, because it proves once again that good Android tablet apps are possible and gives users the great experience they deserve.