Android market gets huge overhaul, but is it enough?

The updates, including improved merchandising of applications, take effect before the end of the year.

Google is overhauling its Android App Market in an effort to improve the experience for both users and developers. The updates, which are due before the end of 2010, will be applicable to all devices running Android 1.6 or higher. But with the Market's running tally of drawbacks -- mainly its developers' dissatisfaction with the process -- the renovation may not be enough to amend relations or compete with Apple's robust App Store.

Some of the changes that Android developer Eric Chu outlined in a blog post are:

  • Improved merchandising of applications
  • Streamlined browse-to-purchase experience
  • An easier method for developers to distribute their applications
  • A coverflow-like "carousel" on the home and category screens to improve discoverability and merchandising
  • Two new categories: Widgets and Live Wallpapers -- apps will automatically be added to these categories
  • Related Content on app details page

The Android Market has long been fodder for developer complaints, including gripes about "device fragmentation, a lax return policy, weak volumes of downloads, and a lack of strong developer support."

These types of complaints essentially began at the Market's inception. A Skyhook Wireless survey last year showed a predominance of irritated app-creators -- a sentiment that could push these creative minds away from Google and into Apple's open arms.

The Market's changes are predominantly positive for developers and should be greeted with relief. But one change to the refund policy is likely to be disputed by users. Previously, users could get a full refund within 24 hours of downloading an unwanted app. Now they have 15 minutes. This could be bad news for consumers afflicted by shopper's remorse, even though Google claims that most refunds are requested within minutes of initial download.

Google has a reputation for prolific improvement, such as updating its Google Chrome browser every six weeks. The Android Market is no exception to this principle:

"We plan to continue to rapidly enhance Android Market for both users and developers and make it the best content distribution service for the Android ecosystem," Chu wrote.

Still, with all of these improvements, the Android Market only has 100,000 apps, and even though Android has surged in mobile OS market share, it has a long way to go before becoming a forcible contender with the more than 300,000 apps in Apple's App Store. But if developers embrace the Android Market's overhaul, it could be a sign of better days to come.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googlesoftware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?