Google Revamps Its Play Store for Android Phones, Tablets
In February, the Play store was assailed online by an Australian software developer who alleged that the company shares too much personal information about buyers who come to the Google Play store to purchase apps. The developer, Dan Nolan, complained that using his Play store merchant account he could see the email addresses, cities and in many cases full names of the people who bought his app through the store, even if they had canceled their orders. The problem, he wrote, is that developers don't need such information and shouldn't be getting it because that is private data that shouldn't be shared. Google Play, which was created in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks, has been a huge hit. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and Google e-Bookstore sites. By September 2012, Google Play had served up more than 25 billion downloads to app- and game-hungry Android users, reaching a significant milestone in only six months.Google Play hosts more than 675,000 apps and games, up from about 450,000 in March 2012, according to Google. Google Play has been Google's answer to Apple's App Store as both companies are locked in a fierce battle for the lion's share of the mobile-device market. In the global smartphone market for the third quarter of 2012, Google's Android was the mobile OS of choice on 75 percent of the 181.1 million smartphones that shipped around the world, which was five times the 14.9 percent market share of Apple's iOS for the same period, according to IDC analysts. Those figures show remarkable progress for the 4-year-old Android OS against competition that includes the still-strong popularity of Apple iOS, a drastically smaller BlackBerry market, Microsoft's multiple Windows Phone efforts and the rest of a straggling field. Android use has been going through the roof worldwide. In fact, Android hit 500 million device activations overall in mid-September 2012, just as Apple's latest iPhone 5 was about to launch.
According to Google, the 1 billion Android app download mark was reached in mid-2010, while the 2 billion app download mark was hit in mid-2011. That number soared to 10 billion by the end of 2011, then to 15 billion in early 2012, before soaring again to 25 million in September.