With not a lot of apps optimized for tablets yet, the Android Market for Honeycomb tablets is pretty thin. Sure, sure, there is more trickling in every week. But frankly, it pales in comparison to the iPad’s vast selection. On top of that, searching for tablet apps is non existent. You won’t know whether an app is tablet optimized until you dig down into the app description. Of course Apple takes care of this by letting you search only for iPad apps, or even putting a little + sign in the corner to let you know it’s worth your time to click on it. That must be too clever for the Android method.
With that said, we have a little review for ya. Drawfree, one of the only drawing apps available for Honeycomb on Android lets you doodle and have a little fun when you want to kill some time. How does it stack up to the competition…wait, there really isn’t any, so let’s see how it stacks up to the Apple offering for good measure.
The app is free in the Android Market and is currently carrying a 3 out of 5 stars rating. That’s actually pretty nice considering they don’t use ads of any kind. There aren’t any banner or pop up ads at all. Now they do have a pro version for $1.99, but all it really does is give you a toolbar of the same options you have in the pop up toolbar on the freebie. Until they add some real features, I’d say the free version is the way to go.
As far as features, DrawFree gives you the ability to use a pen, marker or an eraser as your brush hardware. You get a customizable color palate to choose from, and can slide around the cursor to pull out different shades of colors, as well as darken or lighten them up. You can share your work from the app by choosing email, Dropbox and the usuals, as well as save the image to your memory. You have the option to clear your work too! Well, that’s really all the features at this point. There isn’t an option for more utencils, or marker “sizes”, smudging, etc. You can start to see how much of a difference Android and iOS is at this point in the tablet game.
As for using it, it’s ok. I use the Just Mobile Alupen with it, and it works prett well. Everything flows as you would expect in a drawing app with minimal features. However, one thing that pisses me off is the multi-touch issue. When most people draw/write, they tend to rest the side of their palm on the paper next to your work. If you do this with the iPad, you can still write or draw no problems. There might be some “drawing” with your hand, but you can still concentrate on what your doing with the stylus and go over and erase whatever you “wrote” with your hand. If your hand touches the screen in Android (maybe just the XOOM hardware?), you get a straight line from your last input on your stylus to the contact point with your hand(check the Deutschland image). So imagine being 90% of the way finished with some artwork, only to accidentally make contact with the screen and see a solid straight line burning through your work! That’s not a good thing, and just makes it that much harder to try to enjoy creating some “art” on the tablet in your spare time.
Another thing to point out regarding the app itself is the lack of an auto-save feature. In another scenario, I was spelling Nothing But Tablets in the bottom of the screen when I needed to erase the N to make it look a little better. Well, I erased too far, and hit the home button, which exited me out of the app. Now, I was basically finished with my masterpiece when I clicked back into DrawFree to finish my work, when up popped my last saved artwork from 2 weeks ago. It doesn’t exactly have me screaming to use the app when these accidents ruin anything I could have done.
The doodle app is basically just that. There is nothing artistic or really of value this brings to the table. There isn’t anything to really compare it to in iOS as I don’t even believe they have such a basic, poor attempt to put something like this on the market for iPad users. Even the free iPad drawing apps (such as Doodle Buddy) have auto-save features, more utensils, and brush size variations. Trying to erase your work with the same size eraser as your pen doesn’t get you far. It’s a free app, so there isn’t much to complain about. But the complete lack of solid applications for the Honeycomb platform is apparent. Hopefully Sketchbook will eventually come out with a tablet optimized app, but until then, this won’t satisfy many people.