Why Mint on Android tablets could boost its user base

Mint’s financial management software made the move from Android phones to Android tablets on Wednesday. A new tablet-optimized version is freely available in the Android Market (s goog) and supports slates running Android 3.0 or better. The software offers the same functionality as Mint’s iPad (s aapl) app, which is experiencing much higher take-up rates on tablets as compared to smartphones.
Here’s a quick overview of the app’s functionality:

  • Organize all accounts. One complete overview of your finances.
  • Obtain financial insight. Detailed graphs drill into spending by category or spending over time.
  • Stay on top of spending. Personalized budgets to track spending.
  • Get personalized updates. Account alerts, bill reminders and personalized advice.
  • Track cash spending. Enter cash transactions while on the go.
  • Easily find transactions. Search transactions or purchases by merchant, category or tags.
  • Review finances anywhere. Offline support from the latest download.

Last week I spoke with Ken Sun, the mobile product manager for Intuit (s intu) PFG, the company that purchased Mint in 2009. With Android tablets only just showing signs of sales momentum, Sun says he is unsure of download expectations. However, there is an interesting precedent and good reason to suspect Mint for Android tablets could see heavy downloads.
“Mint for iPad really boosted registrations,” Sun told me by phone. “Since Christmas until a few days ago, the user-base growth rate on the iPad is 10 times higher than on the iPhone.”
Sun also noted the different use cases and times for Mint usage on phones compared to tablets. “Tablets offer a landscape aspect and more real estate that offer more opportunity for exploration,” Sun said. Mint on phones starts to be used early in the morning and sparingly during the day, with a peak time of 10 a.m., dropping off by 6 p.m. That’s the time when tablet use largely picks up, with spikes around 10 to 11 p.m., when people have more time to delve into their finances.

One interesting programming tidbit came out of my conversation with Sun. Graphs for the Android version weren’t as snappy as those for the iPad initially. The Mint team reached out to Google, which readily supplied some coding suggestions and hardware acceleration knowledge, which brought the graphs up to a zippy 40 frames per second rendering.
The higher take-up rates for tablet owners make sense for an app such as Mint’s. While some apps excel at bringing a mobile experience to small-screened phones, others are prime candidates for tablets. Software that offers large amounts of data, charts and the ability for heavy interaction can surely benefit from the larger screen of a slate. Perhaps we will start seeing these types of apps arrive first for tablets instead of smartphones going forward.