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Google wants developers to optimize their apps for tall screens

An example of an app taking advantage of an expanded screen ratio. (Source: Google)
An example of an app taking advantage of an expanded screen ratio. (Source: Google)
Citing the advent of smartphones featuring expanded screen aspect ratios, Google is encouraging developers to update their apps appropriately. The company's words might fall on deaf ears, however; after several years Google's request for tablet-optimized apps is yet to be fulfilled.

There is a new trend among flagship smartphones this year, and it involves having displays that are slightly taller than usual. This 18:9 screen aspect ratio was first seen in the LG G6 during last month's Mobile World Congress; the new Samsung Galaxy S8's display uses a virtually-identical ratio. It's not limited to Android devices, either; Apple's upcoming iPhone is rumored to feature an expanded display as well.

In anticipation of this upcoming "tall screen" revolution, Google is asking developers to update their Android apps accordingly. The company wants apps to "take full advantage" of these larger screens, and it has provided seemingly easy instructions to accomplish that; in essence, they boil down to adding a few additional lines to an app's code.

The results are immediately noticeable. An app that supported up to a 16:9 aspect ratio would display black bars above and below it on a taller screen. With support for 18:9 displays, that empty space is filled in by the app. It looks and works great, with a minimal increase in effort.

Implementing support for tall screens seems simple enough; whether app developers will bother to do so is far from certain. For several years, Google has encouraged a similar type of optimization, support for tablets, without much success. Of course, redesigning an app's user interface for a tablet involves a bit more work than simply adding a few lines of code. Hopefully the ease of this process will translate to faster adoption by Android app devs.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 03 > Google wants developers to optimize their apps for tall screens
John Garcia, 2017-03-30 (Update: 2017-03-30)
John Garcia
John Garcia - News Editor
Notebooks, tablets, smartphones, handheld consoles—if it's a computer you can carry with you, then it's in my wheelhouse. I started my journey in tech journalism as a writer for a mobile games website. But the allure of covering hardware soon won me over, so now I'm here at Notebookcheck, sharing my passion with similarly passionate individuals.