What are the key factors which makes an app more of android or iPad specific. Would like to hear about usability part of it also.

  • Android is the operating system installed on many smart phones as well as tables. iPad is a specific tablet with iOS installed. What exactly are you asking? What's the difference between tablets with Android installed and the iPad, or what's the difference between Android and iOS? Aug 26, 2011 at 8:43
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    Am talking about an app, for example am creating a app both in iPad and android, is there any specific elements which we can use specifically for ipad and specifically for android.
    – user7614
    Aug 26, 2011 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


There are some major differences:

  1. Screen Size and Orientation
  2. System Bar
  3. “Back” Button
  4. Action Bar
  5. Widgets
  6. Notifications
  7. Settings
  8. UI Elements
  9. Fonts

Take a look at Designing for Android Tablets for more details.

  • thanks Jonas it was very much use full, even i know smashing magazine i missed it some how.
    – user7614
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:11
  • No problem :) The best thanks, though, are often upvotes and accepting the answer. Aug 10, 2012 at 10:40

The biggest issues in my mind on Android are the wide variation in screen sizes and pixel densities; relative layouts can help solve this issue somewhat. Remember on the iPhone/iPad you have exactly two screen sizes (times two orientations). Across Android you have indefinite potential screen sizes, in both physical size and pixels.

Another issue is that on Android you have buttons; home, menu, back and search, whereas the iPhone just has the home button (which should remain as a home button). Android also has the potential to have a keyboard or trackball included as well. This gives you extra capabilities, but I would not depend on them. Many/most android users don't have keyboards or trackballs, and avoiding use of these buttons can help you keep an app consistant across phones. They can help bring a little added functionality though, and many people know to use the menu button at least.

Multitasking is a big difference programatically; android lets you run a "service" in the background for live updating data, which has some great potential, but always consider if this is appropriate. When your app runs in the background this adds memory and CPU usage, reduces battery and can affect system stability. If you're designing an app for both Android and iPhone I would stay away from this unless there's something really cool you can do with it; you'll keep your app simple and consistent across both platforms, and you can avoid complications with the process lifecycle.

Widgets are a cool feature you can add for an android version; however most non-technical Android users I know had never heard of widgets or were unclear what they were or how they worked, much less how to add a new one to their screen. Don't depend on a widget, they're extra goodies most of the time and often overlooked.

The biggest problem people usually have is when an iOS app is different from the Android version. People hate this, and most of us with smartphones have at least one friend with the other OS, and word travels fast if an app doesn't function as well/the same on both platforms. If you're looking at developing on both, I would intentionally avoid unique features of both, only consider them when you can give the same functionality transparently to the users.

Generally speaking Android gives you more functionality than iOS actually, yet people tend to prefer iPhone versions of apps; this is in part because many companies put more effort into their iPhone version, but remember you can avoid this if you just keep them the same.

  • Thanks a ton! But is there any android specific feature like dragging of the notification from top. Apart from widgets, action bar, Layout, context menu, overflow menu... For example i saw a app called News360 in that a nice feature was there, it actually takes the images alone from the news section and makes it scroll one on another horizontally on tapping on a pic it pops up and gives it details... do we have anything like that...again thanks for the help
    – user7614
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:57
  • What do you mean "dragging the notification"? If you mean the little notifications in the top bar like new texts, the only functionality I'm aware of are persistent notifications, and the fact you can click a notification to launch an app. Persistent notifications have some cool features though, for instance the notification while you're in a call will let you hang up right from the notification bar. I don't know how but you can implant buttons in those notifications to provide functions from the top bar, I've never done this in an app myself though, and don't know if iOS does this at all.
    – Ben Brocka
    Aug 26, 2011 at 16:37
  • okay, i meant the Persistent notification. Any ways thanks for the info..
    – user7614
    Aug 28, 2011 at 8:37
  • "The biggest problem people usually have is when an iOS app is different from the Android version." -- Do you mean that users expect the methods of interaction to be the same across platforms? Or do you mean that the same functionality needs to be available in both platforms, but perhaps accessed in a platform-specific way?
    – Ted Hopp
    Dec 12, 2011 at 6:42

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