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Google revamps the Android Market

by Scott Bicheno on 13 December 2010, 09:48

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa3jl

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Long overdue

One of the caveats we've most often encountered when people compare iPhones and Android phones is the store/market. While Apple has been a great pioneer of UI and industrial design, arguably its greatest achievement has been to create an substantial app developer ecosystem from scratch, and to redefine how software is sold and distributed on mobile phones.

Android also has a market, of course, but it generally loses out in comparison with the Apple app store, mainly on the grounds of usability. It's apparently (we don't have an iPhone) more user friendly and generally easier to use. This is something Google urgently needs to address if it hopes to keep grabbing market share and it recently announced some tweaks.

As they needed to, these tweaks focused on the user experience. The Android market client (the piece of software you use to access the market) has a new look, with the top of the screen now occupied by a ‘carousel' displaying promoted apps. Google talks about "improving discoverability", but this is clearly a prime new bit of advertising real estate.

Google has created two new sub-categories for widgets and live wallpaper, and will be adding other sub-categories shortly. There will also be ‘related content' listed on the app details page.

As previously announced, Android will be displaying a content rating system, with the stated aim of preventing children accessing ‘adult' apps, but which, of course, will have the opposite result. Right now purchasers can apply for a refund within 24 hours, but this has now been axed to 15 minutes, in apparent response to lobbying from developers.

One more change made to assist developers is best expressed in the blog's own words: "To make it easier for developers to distribute and manage their products, we will introduce support for device targeting based on screen sizes and densities, as well as on GL texture compression formats. We are also increasing the maximum size for .apk files on Market to 50MB, to better support richer games."

 

 



HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

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Apparently it's being pushed out an an update over the coming weeks.

Or you can head over the XDA-Devs and grab a .apk with the new version.
We are also increasing the maximum size for .apk files on Market to 50MB, to better support richer games.
That's still not enough for a Sat Nav is it ?
15 minutes! That is not nearly enough time to try out an app, especially the more feature rich apps. Surely a few hours or even an hour is a far better compromise. This will just mean that people will be making a decision in haste rather than if they actually like the app and think it is worth keeping.
Why is there a restriction on app size at all? This is something that id software was complaining about and one of the reasons they only support istuff.

Google started in the right direction but now they still have problems with their market place and the new nexus phone doesn't even have an SD slot (something that other makers may copy)
semo
Why is there a restriction on app size at all? This is something that id software was complaining about and one of the reasons they only support istuff.
The Apple app store is limited to 20MB over the air, if you want anything more you need to use Wifi or iTunes on a PC/Mac and sync it across. After that there is a 2GB hard limit to app downloads, probably due to file systems etc. However, there isn't really a big deal here, all SatNav makers have to do is make the front end a Marketplace app which will also grab the map data once installed. Simples. This has the added benefit of letting them release just one app that can then pull the map data for any part of the works directly from their servers, instead of publishing a dozen GB of data or so to Google's servers whenever they need an update.

Seems like Google could do that with the Marketplace as well though, after all, they give you the option of OS updates over Wifi or 3G.

semo
Google started in the right direction but now they still have problems with their market place and the new nexus phone doesn't even have an SD slot (something that other makers may copy)
I don't see the problem, iThings don't have SD card slots. The problem is often that devices do have SD card slots, meaning that the bulk storage cannot be used by apps unless the handset is using 2.2 or higher and the app supports being moved to SD card. With the Nexus S (and Galaxy S as well) the bulk storage is all the main storage, so apps don't have to be moved or managed. You either have enough space or you don't. The Desire is a bit of a pain in this regard, it's only got 147MB of main app memory, even when you have a 32GB card in there. I need to uninstall a few large apps that cannot be moved to SD whenever I want to install an OS update as there isn't enough free space in main memory.