Goodreader’s reply to Android requests may explain lack of Android tablet software

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I’ve given up on Android tablets, simply because they can’t do what I need them to. My soon to be two year old iPad 2 doesn’t care if I throw several multi-thousand page PDF files at it, while the closest app on Android acts as if I just asked it to sprout wings and become an airplane. I’ve wished for Goodreader on Android for so long, as that single app would change absolutely everything for me personally, but it’s not happening. Here’s Goodreader’s reason:

To all those pleading and campaigning so earnestly for an Android version of GoodReader, THANK YOU! We appreciate the love and devotion. Please don’t think your pleas are falling on deaf ears. The truth is, GoodReader is very iOS-oriented. It heavily relies on an internal structure of iOS, its libraries and APIs, and also on certain hardware acceleration that is specific to iOS devices. Considering the high expectations that people have about GoodReader, we currently don’t feel that we could port it to the Android platform while keeping the same level of performance that iOS users associate with the GoodReader name.

We’ll keep our eyes on the Android platform, but in the meantime our focus is on giving iOS users the absolute best reader app they could ever dream of!

If you read between the lines, it basically says “too fragmented.” You could probably develop an app that utilizes a specific chipset really well, or just wait until the hardware is fast enough to handle it anyways, but it’s like forcing a square peg through a round hole. I’m not bringing up this issue to piss on Android, as you simply have no idea how much I wish that this wasn’t the case. If there’s an app out there I’m not aware of that’s an actual competitor to Goodreader, please, for the love of Thor, give me its name. I’m however not holding my breath here. Not even apps dedicated to only reading PDF files (Goodreader’s annotation and sync capabilities are another story altogether) can keep up from what I’ve seen.

Goodreader is a big name on iOS, as are so many others that have never stepped their foot on Android. Android doesn’t lack users, so why aren’t more of the successful companies trying its luck in that market? I’m just guessing of course, but Goodreader’s reason might be more universal than it looks. I wish I could believe that it would ever change, but I don’t. I think it’s just an unavoidable side effect of the way Android works, and if what Google is doing lately is what’s needed to change it, I’d even prefer that it didn’t try. At least the way it is now, I can have one of each device, and get everything I need – even if it involves some compromises.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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