Google rewarms Android Market, still half baked next to iPhone App Store

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Despite the delivery of a variety of new and improved smartphone models, the Android experience is still straggling behind Apple's iPhone, particularly in the area of its App Store.



To address the shortcomings of Android Market, Google has announced plans to roll out a new store client app for all smartphones running Android OS 1.6 or higher. The new version of the store plans to make it easier to discover software and facilitate sales.



The new store uses a Cover Flow-like browsable control for flipping through app icons (shown below), and plans to add new categories for popular types of content, including Live Wallpapers and Widgets, which make up a large portion of the Android app catalog.



Also like Apple's App Store, Android Market app listings will now present a variety of information about the apps on a single page and include links to related content. Google's update adds, "we?re also introducing application content rating to provide users with more information about applications they are interested in."



Android Market is also changing its policy on software returns, which has long been a thorn in the side of developers trying to release commercial products, rather than just the ad supported titles that Google favors. Instead of allowing users to instantly refund any purchase made within 24 hours, buyers will now only have 15 minutes to decide they don't want an app.



To address the hardware fragmentation issues inherent in running Android apps across a variety of different hardware designs, Google also announced plans to "make it easier for developers to distribute and manage their products" by introducing "support for device targeting based on screen sizes and densities, as well as on GL texture compression formats."



App size restrictions



Finally, in order to make it possible for developers to offer more interesting games, Google will be relaxing its limit on app files sizes sold through Android Market to 50MB, up from a previous limit of 25MB. Some Android developers skirt this limitation by delivering a tiny app that can download resources (such as music and graphics) to the phone after purchase.



Apple's limit for iOS app downloads is 40 times larger. Many games already weigh in at 125MB (Sega's early SuperMonkey Ball from 2008), 150-300MB (including titles such as Firemint's Real Racing HD and Gameloft's Modern Combat: Sandstorm) or even more than 300MB, such as latest Infinity Blade. TomTom's iOS GPS app, which includes maps for the US and Canada, is nearly 2GB, the limit Apple has established for iOS titles.



Apple can accommodate large software sizes because iOS apps don't exclusively rely upon over the air installation as Android Market apps do. While mobile providers can limit the download size of apps that are delivered over the mobile network (typically set at around 20MB), Apple allows users to get big apps from iTunes directly via WiFi or by syncing with iTunes. Google offers no desktop application version of Android Market, nor even a web version that supports downloads. This results in more difficult development and distribution for companies trying to port apps to Android.







Gaming on Android



None of the large games previously mentioned for the iOS are available via Android Market (although there are unauthorized "themes" available in Android Market named "Super Monkey Ball" and "Modern Combat." Of the top iOS apps listed by Apple for 2010, only three are available for Android: "Angry Birds," "Fruit Ninja" and "Doodle Jump," although you can download a "Plants vs Zombies" or "Cut the Rope" theme and find knockoff adware pretending to be the App Store's popular "Hipstamatic" photography app.



Last year, gaming legend John Carmack told CNBC that while he was excited about the prospects of the iPhone, "I have mixed feelings about Android. I've got a warm feeling about the open source model, but a lot of the things that make Linux not-so-wonderful seem to be there in Android. On the iPhone, you know everyone on that device [has the same functionality and hardware], while on Android, you?re across the board on a number of different things."



Carmack added, "the [Android] marketplace is also apparently not well handled. And from what I hear, nobody?s making a lot of money on these [Android titles].? Ten days ago, Carmack reiterated his view of the Android platform in interview with Ars Technica, where he said, "The official word here is that we are definitely going to get some games compiled on the Android platform, but we are not yet committed to selling something on the Marketplace. Because I'm honestly still a little scared of the support burden and the effort that it's going to take for our products, which are very graphics-intensive."



Carmack explained that "the iOS platform has really been a pleasure to work on compared to all of the... half of the reason for us ditching the old feature phones was that it was so much more pleasant to develop for iOS. And I fear that we would be slipping back into some of that quagmire on the Android side of things. [?] There's a lot of things that happen automagically for us on iOS that we'll have to deal with particularly on the Android space. And that's not a lot of work that's going to be huge heaps of fun to do. It's going to be dreary, tedious work that I would certainly push on somebody else personally, but I'm not sure that even as a company it's something that we want to be involved in."



On page 2 of 2: Market mismanagement on Android, Theft and advertising, Situation unlikely to change dramatically



Market mismanagement on Android



This summer, Jon Lech Johansen (aka DVD Jon), the developer of DoubleTwist, a desktop Mac and Windows app that provides Android with a third party option for media sync and desktop Android Market access resembling Apple's iTunes, complained about "Google's mismanagement of the Android Market," noting that "one should not need a PhD in Computer Science to use a smartphone," and that "Google does far too little curation of the Android Market."



Johansen added that, "unlike Apple?s App Store, the Android Market has few high quality apps. A study by Larva Labs (the developers of the excellent Slidescreen app) estimates that Apple has paid out 50 times more money to developers than Google has. While the Android Market is available in 46 countries, developers can only offer paid apps in 13 countries." Google has since expanded the number of countries where developers can sell paid apps to 32, out of 44 total (12 only support free distribution). Apple supports App Store sales in 90 countries.



"In addition," Johansen wrote, "the price for foreign apps is not displayed in the user?s local currency and developers do not have the option of customizing pricing by country. To make matters worse, you can?t pay for foreign apps using your Amex card or carrier billing. There?s also no support for in-app payments and changelogs (to communicate app changes)."



Johansen also complained of "spam ringtone apps (which are clearly infringing copyright) [that] are currently cluttering the top ranks of the Multimedia category. I was not surprised to find that they were being monetized through Google Ads," while also pointing at other examples showing that "trademark and copyright infringement is widespread in the Android Market," including apps pretending to be iTunes and paid themes that use Disney characters (or artwork from third party games, as noted above.) "it?s time for Google to clean up the house," Johansen wrote.



Six months later, none of the fake apps or infringing themes Johansen depicted in his blog posting have been removed from the Android Market catalog by Google.







Theft and advertising



This fall, a report noted that the developer of Radiant, an Android top ten game title, had found 97 percent of players in Asia were using an illegal copy, 70 percent in Europe, and 43 percent in North America. The game was priced at just $2.40, but the majority of Android users found it more attractive to steal the game than support the developer's efforts by buying it legitimately.



Despite figures showing that Android smartphones are selling in volumes that now exceed Apple's iPhone, the fractionalization of the Android platform (which attempts to reach a much wider range of hardware performance, with different versions of the core operating system installed across devices), the primary business model Google promotes for Android apps is not paid apps, but in game advertising, which Google stands to benefits from as the largest mobile advertiser targeting the platform.



Proportionally, more than twice as many apps are distributed for free and supported by ads than any other mobile platform, according to Distimo.







Situation unlikely to change dramatically



"Angry Birds" developer Rovio brought its title to Android as an free ad-based title, noting "that is the Google way," in a tweet. Google's Android Market has also come under assault from top Android developers for sloppy policies regarding app approval, poor security for users' data and allowing developers to collect inappropriate information from users without their consent.



Building an iTunes-like desktop sync application for Android and policing its software catalog would require Google to make significant investments in the platform. However, Google employees have noted that the company sees web apps as the future, rather than a native app platform like that built by Apple, or the new mobile platforms being released, including Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, and HP's webOS, acquired from Palm.



Google's delayed Chrome OS pursues web apps exclusively, and already provides a web-based market for apps, closely patterned after Apple's iTunes App Store.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 115
    Well that shows perfectly how Google "cares" about the consumer. All sane people should ignore Google.
  • Reply 2 of 115
    Wow. That percentage chart on the last page is really messed up. Nearly all the categories have over 100%. Very odd.
  • Reply 3 of 115
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post


    Wow. That percentage chart on the last page is really messed up. Nearly all the categories have over 100%. Very odd.



    LOL, that's true -- and it seems more than just a rounding error, sometimes the sum is 103%. I guess arithmetics isn't Distimo's strongest area. I wonder what is.
  • Reply 4 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Povilas View Post


    Well that shows perfectly how Google "cares" about the consumer. All sane people should ignore Google.



    Being an android developer myself, I am very hesitant to download apps from android market because of security concerns. Android gives developers a lot of access to system data, yet not enough for the user experiences. It is very geek minded. The market is a joke, it is the worst among the app stores launched in the past couple of years, even blackberry app world beats the pants off it. Given googles ability for innovation, the only explanation is negligence. As for Android Os itself, the main reason it got so popular is ironically because of iPhone.with iPhone os light years ahead of the last generation properiatery mobile Platforms, the phone manufactures finally realized customers would not tolerate their make do platforms any longer. And the only viable alternative is Android for now. I hope windows 7 can make a change, at least their development tools are superior.
  • Reply 5 of 115
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,597member
    A great perspective on how Android buyers are being grossly misled about what a crappy OS Android is. The majority of Android device owners are buying devices that are already obsolete the day they receive them, and are totally misled about the supposed "advantages", features and functions of these devices. The carriers and handset makers certainly command some of the blame for this situation as their laziness and inability to develop their own inventive and innovative platforms is causing them to take this easy road around a truly superior platform presented in the iPhone, iPad and iOS.



    The other twits buying these devices are the unethical techtards who think that it makes them special to be able to customize every single device in their lives to their hearts content, and that its ok to steal content from others. The fact that almost HALF of the US users of a major developer's game are stealing it is offensive yet these toads think its perfectly OK, and Google somehow thinks its OK to facilitate these thefts unencumbered. Shameless.



    Wakeup people before you buy this unsafe, misleading and unethical Android junkware.
  • Reply 6 of 115
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,597member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post


    Wow. That percentage chart on the last page is really messed up. Nearly all the categories have over 100%. Very odd.



    Oh please Doppio and Smiles - its simply caused by rounding off. If you don't have something intelligent to add, please go back to bed.
  • Reply 7 of 115
    pretty neat update i'd say



    way more beautiful than iOS app store



    its just getting better and better don't worry.

    what we are waiting though is for an desktop application =)

    come one google.. make it faster
  • Reply 8 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    However, Google employees have noted that the company sees web apps as the future, rather than a native app platform like that built by Apple, or the new mobile platforms being released, including Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, and HP's webOS, acquired from Palm.





    thats write i guess..



    we will probably see an Chrome Android App in Chrome Web Store instead of a Win/Mac app..

    makes more sense..
  • Reply 9 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post


    Wow. That percentage chart on the last page is really messed up. Nearly all the categories have over 100%. Very odd.





    lol... true XD
  • Reply 10 of 115
    enohpienohpi Posts: 103member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The game was priced at just $2.40, but the majority of Android users found it more attractive to steal the game than support the developer's efforts by buying it legitimately.








    That is amazing. How many total Android users are there? And the majority of them stole the game?



    I heard it was good for porn, but I didn't know that the majority of Android users stole games too.
  • Reply 11 of 115
    Quote:

    , poor security for users' data and allowing developers to collect inappropriate information from users without their consent.



    That's nice. This was blown out of proportion and cleared up months ago.



    http://www.pcworld.com/article/20243...roid_apps.html



    What credibility do you have left Dan? Why should I believe anything else you say?
  • Reply 12 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enohpI View Post


    but I didn't know that the majority of Android users stole games too.



    ahahah XDDDDDD

    tells a troll who's OS can be jailbroken over the air just by visiting a site and where all the cracked apps are easy to find anywhere rofl.
  • Reply 13 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post




    What credibility do you have left Dan? Why should I believe anything else you say?



    did you actually Believe everything he writes on ?

    hell this type of journalism is meant just for laughing and reading when you want to relax or to make fun of other trolls..
  • Reply 14 of 115
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,206member
    typical Google, looks like @ss.



    "for all smartphones running Android OS 1.6 or higher"

    can't make up their minds either. ;-)
  • Reply 15 of 115
    Wow...



    Quote:

    Many games already weigh in at 125MB (Sega's early SuperMonkey Ball from 2008), 150-300MB (including titles such as Firemint's Real Racing HD and Gameloft's Modern Combat: Sandstorm) or even more than 300MB, such as latest Infinity Blade.



    Quote:

    None of the large games previously mentioned for the iOS are available for Android (although there are unauthorized "themes" available in Android Market named "Super Monkey Ball" and "Modern Combat."



    Erm.. That is wrong:







    There are plenty of "large games for iOS" avaiable on Android, even Gameloft's Modern Combat: Sandstorm you mentioned earlier.
  • Reply 16 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lopata View Post


    did you actually Believe everything he writes on ?

    hell this type of journalism is meant just for laughing and reading when you want to relax or to make fun of other trolls..



    I didn't notice any bull shit written about Apple in that article. Or did you not notice that?
  • Reply 17 of 115
    enohpienohpi Posts: 103member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post


    Wow...











    Erm.. That is wrong:







    There are plenty of "large games for iOS" avaiable on Android, even Gameloft's Modern Combat: Sandstorm you mentioned earlier.







    I have heard that the Android versions are not nearly as good as the originals on iOS.
  • Reply 18 of 115
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    I remember when people used to say that Android would never outsell the iPhone. Then the bar got moved. Now it's about beating out iOS. Android is now getting close to doing that.



    So now the likes of DED have moved on to picking on things like the Android Market. As though things are static and Google won't improve them.



    Daniel's ascerbic tone used to bother me. Now I know that the more shrill he is, the better Android is doing.
  • Reply 19 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jetz View Post


    I remember when people used to say that Android would never outsell the iPhone. Then the bar got moved. Now it's about beating out iOS. Android is now getting close to doing that.



    So now the likes of DED have moved on to picking on things like the Android Market. As though things are static and Google won't improve them.



    Daniel's ascerbic tone used to bother me. Now I know that the more shrill he is, the better Android is doing.



    Didn't you know? A phone platform isn't successful until you have 3D gaming on it and all apps make tons of money and there are no pirates. Because apparently the only thing all smartphones are used for is for apps.



    Of course, Dan must have used a friends phone for those pics he posted about the android market. He wouldn't dare own a freetard phone where 90% (figured pulled out of ass like dan) don't even know it runs linux.
  • Reply 20 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enohpI View Post


    I have heard that the Android versions are not nearly as good as the originals on iOS.



    See for yourself how they run. I've personally had no issues with them but others may have.
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