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As a company that has helped host 25 million guests in more than 35,000 cities around the world since its founding seven years ago, it may surprise you to learn that Airbnb has yet to offer an app specifically built for tablets. Indeed, while the existing iPhone incarnation does work on iPads, it’s essentially a “blown up” version of its smaller-screened counterpart. And while Airbnb for Android already works on tablets too, it also wasn’t built with big screens in mind.
Airbnb itself says that the new creation is “more than a tablet app,” instead referring to the app as a “picture book.” Certainly, with more screen real-estate to play with, this does open things up somewhat, with high-resolution photos and imagery playing a more central role.
From a more practical standpoint, however, the new app now serves up “dual-paned” browsing that lets you view messages and properties at the same time, while new “immersive maps” reveal more information about each listing before clicking through.
This is a common philosophy when companies look to recreate their apps for bigger-screened devices — it’s more of a “lean back” approach. “Our tablet apps were inspired by the elegance of magazines and coffee table books,” said Alex Schleifer, head of design at Airbnb. “Designing for a new platform allowed us to think much more broadly than simply scaling a mobile phone app to a larger screen.”
Founded out of San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb has emerged at the forefront of the peer-to-peer private property rental space. Back in February, the company announced its first ever mobile network partnership, with Deutsche Telekom in Europe, which will see its Android app preinstalled on devices in 13 countries. In a further sign that Europe is embracing the so-called “sharing economy,” Paris nudged New York into second place to become Airbnb’s number one spot for active listings globally.
The new tablet-optimized offerings from Airbnb will be going live around the world today.
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