Honeycomb update to fix screen resize issues

Google is prepping a Honeycomb update that is expected to fix screen resize issues on various Android tablets.

According to company rep Scott Main, beginning with the upcoming release, any app that does not target Android 3.0 or explicitly set large screen mode will include a button in the system bar that, when touched, allows users to select between two viewing modes on large-screen devices.

Indeed, ‘stretch to fill screen’ is normal layout resizing (using an app’s alternative resources for size and density), while ‘zoom to fill screen’ is the new screen compatibility mode.

“When a user enables the new screen compatibility mode, the system no longer resizes your layout to fit the screen. Instead, it runs your app in an emulated normal/mdpi screen (approximately 320dp x 480dp) and scales that up to fill the screen,” Main explained in an official post on Google’s Android Dev blog.

“[So] imagine viewing your app at the size of a phone screen then zooming in about 200%. The effect is that everything is bigger, but also more pixelated, because the system does not resize your layout or use your alternative resources for the current device.”

Main also noted that in cases where an app does not properly resize for larger screens, the new screen compatibility mode is expected to help improve usability by emulating the app’s phone-style look – but “zoomed in” to fill a tablet’s screen.

“However, most apps  – even those that don’t specifically target Honeycomb –  look just fine on tablets without screen compatibility mode, due to the use of alternative layouts for different screen sizes and the framework’s flexibility when resizing layouts,” he added.