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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10 thoughts on “Goodreader’s reply to Android requests may explain lack of Android tablet software

  • Avatar of Calob Horton

    That is rather unfortunate, but that’s the biggest reason I went with an iPad instead of a high-end Android tablet: there just weren’t enough tablet apps at the time that I bought my iPad, and it seems that’s an unfortunate trend that continues through today.

  • Avatar of lexfiend

    I hear you. Goodreader’s also one of my go-to apps.

    In retrospect, of all the tablets I own (iPad 2, GTab 7.0+, Toshiba Thrive 10…and a Blackberry Playbook), I actually use the Android ones the least. (Bested by a PLAYBOOK? Shock! Horror!)

    For me, I think it boils down to two R’s: responsiveness and refinement. Both the iPad and Playbook just respond snappily, and for all regular tablet tasks (document/news/book-reading, music creation, video podcast-watching, quick note taking, etc.), the Android apps I tried just feel clunky compared to the iOS and/or BB alternatives.

    To be fair, the Nexus 7 I tried recently does greatly improve on responsiveness…for the base OS. Same old apps though, so that doesn’t help much.

    In fact, if the GTab wasn’t the only device I owned that does mobile data (enabling me to do stock-trading anywhere), it would probably have been consigned to my desk drawer a long time ago.

    At least the Thrive was my travel companion for a month, where its full-size expansion ports (no dongles to carry) and laptop-class charger proved their utility.

    • Hey there,
      to say it frankly I just started using a tablet and went for a BB Playbook. Simply because it works perfectly together with my Bold 9900. One of my professors sent me a pdf with corrections done via GoodReader. So I stumbled across this article while searching for an BB alternative. I am very interested in the alternatives for the Playbook that lexifiend pointed out. What equivalents are available?

      • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

        Goodreader doesn’t use any proprietary formats for annotations, so any half-decent PDF reader should be able to read them. I grade papers for my students with Goodreader, and they can simply use Adobe’s Windows-side app to read them just fine.

        • Thank you for your reply, Andreas. I think my post was a bit ambiguous. I am an junior lecturer and PhD candidate at university and am looking for an BB app that can do almost the same as GoodReader to correct papers etc. Reading the pdfs is no problem. ;-)

          • Just a quick response for everyone who might be interested. I found an GoodReader equivalent for the PlayBook. It’s called qPDF Notes and costs $4,99 / EUR 4,49. Works perfectly for my purposes!!

  • Avatar of ethibault

    goodreader seems really a good software.

    I would be interested because I read a lot of pdf on my tablet. having several readers allow to have several pdf open at the same time.

    My tablet is an android samsung GT8.9 perfect format for me for reading because it is light enough for holding it for hours (and then read).

    The pdf reader I prefer on android is repligo, it is a paying app but not much 5 € at most.

    On windows I use a lot foxit reader because it has tabs (why adobe has not ?) it is free and you can very well annotate.

    I prefer android for its openness I use a lot of USB flash drives and yes with my android equipment and this is very convenient.

    about your article, you will find Mr Fereira (wicked4u2c on youtube) who has compared iphone and android and he says the contrary that the fact that for Apple each app can only use its own document and data is a limitation in apple android does not have.

    while I have not a single apple equipment, I am grateful to Mr Job who devised those great ideas and concepts like podcasts, pinch to zoom, smartphones and tablets.

    I prefer the android implementation for its openness but I know it would not be there without the Genius of Mr Job in finding out the concept that will create something people will appreciate.

    And thanks to android and google we have the choice to buy from apple or from other brillant competitors.

  • On Android I prefer ezPDF. I’ve thrown several thousand page books at it with no problems whatsoever.

  • regardless I need a fine point rugged stylus as I don’t potato print in the real world.

    Fingers crossed for the new sony range of Ebooks so that the planets can finally be aligned.

  • Avatar of derek

    This is true of any OS that tries to be hardware agnostic, it’s the same problem with Windows. The Android hardware platform is so fragmented from cheap throw aways to high end, almost PC level computing tablets, it’s difficult for software developers to ensure consistent performance across the spectrum. Also, having to tell consumers they need xyz flavor of the OS and xyz hardware to run their programs is unacceptable for the tablet market, especially when tablets are suppose to be simple for ages 8 to 80 to use.


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