September 22, 2010, 1:35 PM — Samsung acknowledged today that some Android Market apps on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab will run at a smaller resolution than the 7-in. screen allows.
"If you download Android Market apps to the Galaxy Tab, you will find that many of those applications are fully scalable," a Samsung spokeswoman said via e-mail in response to an inquiry from Computerworld. "Those applications that are not scalable are framed in the display at 800-by-400 [pixel] resolution." The full 7-in. screen offers a larger 1024-by-600 pixel resolution.
The problem appears to be limited to apps downloaded from the Android Market. The spokeswoman said that Samsung did work with Google on the Galaxy Tab to make certain that Google's "entire suite of mobile services, including Google Maps, are fully scalable to fit the Galaxy Tab's 7-in. screen at 1024-by-600 resolution."
The extent of the problem is still unknown because the U.S. version of the Galaxy Tab, to be sold by all four major U.S. wireless carriers, is not final.
"It has not been exactly determined how many of the Android Market apps will be fully scalable/non-scalable," the spokeswoman said. "What Samsung is focusing on is bringing all of its own proprietary services and apps such as Social Hub, calendar, e-mail, etc., as fully scalable, along with Google mobile services like Google Maps, Gmail, etc. What we do know now is that many of the Android Market apps will be scalable, but it is just too early to put an exact number of percentage."
The problem with sub-optimal screen resolution was anticipated by Google's director of mobile products, Hugo Barra, in a recent interview with TechRadar. Barra said Android 2.2, or Froyo, is not designed for the larger tablet form factor and was intended for smaller screens of perhaps 4 inches or less used on smartphones and other smaller devices.
Some industry analysts, including Rob Enderle of Enderle Group, said the use of Froyo on tablets might result in applications, including games, that appear a "little ugly." Stretching an application to a larger screen can result in out-of-focus images and jagged edges or pixelation, he said.
The problem does not appear to affect applications native to the device or Web browsing or playing of videos.