The home rental listings site already has mobile apps for iOS and Android smartphones, and estimates that more than 60 percent of its bookings involve mobile in some way.
The tablet app delivers big, high quality photos of people's homes on the screen in varying layouts, which can be easily flicked through. The tablets' larger screen size, pages for individual listings also feature photos and links to similar listings, resembling the look of a print magazine's sidebar article. Rotate the tablet from a horizontal to vertical position, and the app's interface will reorient itself.
These new features may eventually make it to the company's smartphone app, but "the tablet is a natural device for Airbnb. It's more photo driven," said Alex Schleifer, head of design at the company.
Airbnb has over the past year cleaned up its desktop site and its mobile apps to make them easier to use and help people discover more listings. The company spotlights themed listings like "traditional yurts" or "underground homes," as well as getaways in select areas like California's wine country or Lake Tahoe. Last year, the company added an instant booking feature, which does away with the traditional pre-approval process for reserving places to stay.
As Airbnb strives to make its service more appealing to more people, it faces regulatory questions over its legality in some cities like New York but has been given the regulatory all clear in London.