Today a good friend of mine asked me what apps can be loaded on the Xoom. That’s actually an interesting question at this point, since the Xoom is still new. I did a little bit of research (when I said a little I mean less than 5 minutes), and I found some interesting numbers.
According to one source, Honeycomb had 16 applications on the 25th of February. I’ll be pretty frank on this. 16 applications is L-A-M-E. No one is going to buy any device that only has 16 applications. The trick about that particular number is that the Xoom, which is effectively the first Honeycomb based tablet, was released on the 24th. So, at that time the Xoom and Honeycomb were a day old. Puts that in perspective.
Then, in comes Apple. On March 2nd, Apple announced the iPad 2. Now Apple is really working hard to dismiss their competitors, and they didn’t pull any punches with Android. According to the Apple presentation, Honeycomb had 100 applications. 100 applications is pretty lame too, but again, we’re talking about an Operating System that had been released for a grand total of 7 days.
It’s impossible to argue that Honeycomb has a large number of applications at this point. What makes things really interesting is that on the 3rd of March (one day after Jobs’s pompous presentation), Google expanded its Fragments API to applications running older versions of Android. What this means is apps that are compatible with Android 1.6 and higher can tap into Fragments to create apps that work on larger-screened devices like tablets. This makes it trivial to move your app for a handheld to an app for a tablet. The Android market is growing by leaps and bounds, and it has been shown to be growing faster than the App Store.
What this means is this: Gloat now while you have the chance Steve. It won’t be long before you hear that familiar whooooshing sound of your competition passing you by. It should be interesting to hear you try to explain why the number of applications available for a device doesn’t matter after the numbers for the iPad fall behind.