Analysts Discuss Android Market Ailments
Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart told eWEEK:There are other issues afoot. Sometimes the download count is off, as it was on June 12. Sometimes the Android Market goes dark, as it did for 30 minutes June 23.Google also attracted attention when it exercised the remote application removal feature, or kill switch, to remove two potentially malicious applications from Android devices. Gartner analyst Van Baker told eWEEK, "This is an issue that is largely below the radar now, but a high-profile malware infection will likely highlight the weakness of the Google approach. "They rely on the user base to flag problem applications rather than have a testing protocol of their own. They will need to fix this ultimately and at least test the applications for malware and security risks. The risk is to Google's reputation, not the legitimate developers." Failure to address the spam applications, legal infringement and availability issues could lead to developers leaving the Android Market for Apple's App Store. While the App Store is maligned in some quarters for being draconian in its approach, it is easily the best store of its kind in the market. "If Google doesn't fix their App store, given most [developers] do Apple as well, their loss will go to Microsoft or HP," Enderle said. "They have about six months to get this fixed before they really start bleeding developers who, once burned and gone, likely won't come back." Baker doesn't believe Google will let it get to that: "A recent survey that I saw showed that the percentage of developers interested in Android [was] almost as high as the percentage interested in developing for Apple. The momentum behind Android will continue to attract developers and the Apple market size will do the same thing. Ultimately a large and growing installed base of devices attracts developers." In the meantime, Google may want to heed this advice from GigaOm, which suggested the company manage application permissions and improve search for the Market.
"I'm not convinced that Google's hands-off approach has increased the quality of the offerings there; the opposite seems to be true. Over the long run, it is certainly possible that the open nature of Android's Market will lead to a killer app, but for now the managed approach is winning out."