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Android Honeycomb apps still scarce prior to UK Motorola Xoom launch

A blogger has counted the number of apps in the Android Market developed specifically for tablets running Google's Honeycomb software. His tally amounts to a weedy 20.

With the Motorola Xoom about to go on sale in the UK, and a swathe of other Honeycomb-powered tablets following in its wake, it's an exciting time for Android slates. But are there many apps available that take full advantage of Google's tablet-optimised Honeycomb operating system? In a word, no.

Carpeaqua blogger Justin Williams has published an article counting up the number of native Honeycomb apps available in the Android Market store, discounting those that are simply 'upconverted' Android 2.x apps that make use of a tablet's bigger screen size.

How many did he find? Twenty. As Williams points out, that's far fewer than even Steve Jobs predicted at the iPad 2 launch earlier this month, when the Apple chief crowed about rival tablets launching with only 100 native apps available.

"No matter how many billions of dollars Google drains into the Android project to make it relevant in the tablet space, it will never succeed without a thriving app marketplace," Williams writes. "The biggest reason the iPad is a success is because of its thriving App Store, which continues to add value to the device years after purchase."

The 20 apps found by Williams include some impressive offerings, like CNN App for Android, Google Body and AccuWeather. But the tally is nevertheless surprisingly weedy, given the high hopes for Honeycomb held by potential buyers, developers and manufacturers alike.

There's one rather large caveat, though. Williams also left out another category of Android apps from his count -- games. It's unclear why, given that games are one of the most popular types of app for the iPad, and something Android tablet owners will undoubtedly be looking for too.

Should you be worried about the dearth of non-gaming Honeycomb apps? Probably not. We expect their numbers to swell considerably in the coming months. Also, don't forget that the Xoom only went on sale in the US a few weeks ago, so the number of Honeycomb devices in people's hands is still tiny in the grand scheme of things.

Google's own stats show that only 0.2 per cent of Android users are currently using Android 3.0 Honeycomb. As more tablets are sold, developers will release more apps.