In a world void of many Honeycomb-specific apps, we often turn to small screen variants in order to fulfill our on-the-go needs. While many of the apps designed for phones work and scale appropriately on the large screen, it often to leads to odd placement of objects, tiny buttons to tap, and other inconveniences that end up being less-than-ideal. Fortunately, Google incorporated a solution to this problem in Android 3.2 (Honeycomb): "zoom mode."


Currently, when you run an app designed for phones on a Honeycomb tablet it stretches everything to fit the screen. With the new "zoom to fill" option, it will instead run the app in MDPI resolution (320*480) and upscale everything - effectively running the app at 200% its original size. Undoubtedly, this will cause some pixelation on the big screen, but it should make most phone apps a bit more usable.

Below is an example of how zoom mode should look:


As you can see, it looks quite usable. The best part, though, is the fact that you can switch back-and-forth between the two modes, which should come in quite handy.

[Android Developers Blog]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Jordan

    This will hopefully end my frustration with TigerArcade's appalling non-scaling.

  • ocdtrekkie

    Will it remember which mode you like to use a particular app in?

  • Drew DeNardo

    I've always wondered why they don't just have a "virtual phone" mode for Honeycomb (as if you were running a virtual machine on your desktop). You could launch phone apps into a 800x480 "window" that would be a comfortable home for them. Go ahead and let the user launch several at a time and drag them around.

  • Jim Waite

    Anyone know if there is anything to the "Warning" splash screen that comes up when you try to enable this Zoom Mode? (Droid Bionic, Android 2.3.4) Something about the "accessibility service" being potentially able to capture "all the text"you type, "including personal data credit card numbers". But NOT passwords. Wonder how/why it would be everything EXCEPT the passwords? In any event, much as I hate, hate, hate it when the app will not allow for even a swipe zoom, I think that risking access by unknown programs to personal data is a risk I'll avoid as much as possible.