Google's Android Market is getting a new carousel view and a streamlined discovery and purchasing process; Google is also making it easier for developers to tout their wares.
Google said it will improve its maligned Android Market application store
this month, making it easier for consumers to find, purchase and download
Android Market sports well over 100,000 applications, one third that of
Apple's App Store. Yet to many users, Android Market feels leagues behind the
App Store in quality and user experience.
Android handset owners and the programmers who create apps for them have
been frustrated by a number of issues, ranging from the difficulty in finding
legitimate apps amid a slew of copyright-infringing programs to paying for
Considering that Google is seeing
300,000 Android phones switched on each day, and that
users are using their handsets
to consume apps, improvements are imperative.
To alleviate some of the app-searching pains, the new Android Market client
will include a new carousel view on the home and category screens, said
Android Developer Ecosystem advocate Eric Chu in a blog post
This carousel will allow users to easily scroll through promoted
applications and click through to download and, where warranted, pay for the
app they want.
Also, applications that include widgets and wallpapers will be automatically
added to their own categories. Google will also be adding more categories for
popular apps and games. Moreover, the app details page will include related
To address the challenge of discovering and paying for apps, Google has
streamlined the experience so that users can learn everything about an app on
This new experience will also include content ratings
. Applications will be categorized according
to All, Pre-teen, Teen and Mature.
Google is helping developers in a big way, too, by paring the return limit
for applications from 24 hours to 15 minutes. This should keep people from
purchasing apps, then returning them within a day.
Google is also bringing device targeting based on screen sizes, densities
and GL texture compression formats.
Finally, Google is increasing the maximum size for .apk files on Market to
50MB with an eye toward improving support for gaming apps. This will take on
greater importance with Android 2.3, for which Google has added a gyroscope and
better graphics for games.
Improving the Android Market client, which will support Android 1.6 devices
and later, is the latest of several steps Google is taking to improve the user
experience for its app store. Most of these moves have involved app payment.
For example, Google in July created
a free licensing service to protect paid applications
in the Market from unauthorized use.
The company has added
paid app and billing support and several more countries
and is working on allowing consumers to have apps they purchase
billed directly to their wireless carrier bills.