Android Market Gets Competition from Verizon, Sprint
Verizon is being joined by rival Sprint. The No. 3 wireless carrier announced at CTIA Oct. 6 that it is offering its own app packs, or collections of related applications. This is geared to put a salve on one of the known pain points of the Android Market; that apps in it are hard to find because the Market lacks search functionality of Apple's App Store.Poor search and navigation isn't the only Android Market deficiency leading to this present multi-headed monster of Android apps stores. The company's lack of management and curation in the Market has led to a lot of spam users won't see in Apple's App Store, where the submission policies are more stringent.Also, the company's slowness to bring billing options to countries all over the world has upset some developers looking to get paid. Google recently added paid app coverage in several more countries, and is rumored to be bargaining with PayPal on a partnership. However, Amazon.com excels at selling goods via the Web, making it a logical storefront for apps. Some 80 million U.S. users download content or buy products from Amazon.com each month. Interestingly, of all the companies setting up Android app shops or providing app packs -- phone carriers and Google -- Amazon.com is the only one without a device on which to run the programs it sells. That is why the TechCrunch rumor that Amazon is secretly building a tablet computer based on Android is so juicy. While the Journal positions the Amazon.com app store as geared for smartphones, it could easily be a playground for tablet apps, particularly when Google releases Android 3.0 to the market this fall. Android 3.0, or Gingerbread, is optimized for tablet computers. The current Android 2.2 build is not. Amazon did not respond to comment on either the tablet or app store.