As Android Ice Cream Sandwich seeks to reunite the tablet and handset branches of the Android tree, an influx of Honeycomb apps will have their first opportunities to run on smaller screens. While we’re still waiting for the new OS update to arrive, Google is getting Android developers ready for the transition, advising them about how ICS will interpret Honeycomb apps, and what steps they can take to make sure their apps look good, no matter on what size screen they’re being viewed.
The good news is that, so long as an app follows standard interface cues, it should make the leap to ICS with little issue. The OS will scale Honeycomb’s Action Bar to fit a smartphone’s screen, but there are steps developers can take to ensure that their vision remains intact; options include repackaging the app to exclude devices with non-tablet-sized screens, or building multiple versions of the app into one APK to be optimized for displays of varying sizes.
One of the problems, though, is that for now there’s no way to see just how ICS will scale apps to smartphone screens. Google hasn’t released the SDK for ICS to developers, so for now it can only offer some general tips on preparing for the update, and developers will have to sit on their code until the time comes that they’re able to actually test it.