Google has launched a new version of Android Market, the digital store that provides the Android phone users more than 100,000 applications and games.
“You would be pleased to discover that we have revised Android Market, in order to make it faster, easier and more enjoyable for you to discover applications, movies and books. We have created a larger space for posting the most interesting content of the week in the home page. Several top-charts have been added, with newer and more relevant items and now it is easier to go through the charts while navigating the stores”, explained Google in an official blog post.
The improvement of the Android application store is due to some complains the users have made towards the previous versions. Despite being the leader in the online search segment, Google has initially created a heavyish interface for the application store.
In addition, Android Market has a worthy opponent in the Amazon application store dedicated to the Android platform, which has succeeded in convincing several publishers to launch applications exclusively for the Amazon portfolio.
Therefore, Google has some catch up to do in order to remain relevant on his own mobile platform. We shall see if the redesign of the store will succeed in attracting the users.
If Google wanted Android to be a platform that OEM’s can build their own unique eco-systems around Amazon’s about to take them up on that opportunity with their Android tablet.
Reports from earlier in the week indicated that Amazon was on the verge of launching very first Android tablet really soon (before October). With their new tablet Amazon is expected to incorporate all of their digital services heavily into the tablet. That means that Amazon will provide access to their Android app store, their digital video rental service, their music service, and their digital book and magazine service. Google offers or is soon going to offer their own services that match all of those things that Amazon has going for themselves, but I believe the Amazon tablet will be an all Amazon all the time affair.
Amazon is the top online retailer thanks to their ever popular Amazon.com website. Now through that website Amazon has been able to build a strong customer base and launch a lot of services that cater very nicely to their registered customers as well as passersby.
With their online retail expertise and Google’s willingness to let OEM’s like Amazon have pretty much full control over Android the upcoming Amazon tablet is almost guaranteed to have Amazon’s fingerprints all over the software. This is going to be their trump card against other market contenders with their own eco-systems.
Make Phone Apps Look Better
Given that it can’t do much in the short term about the lack of Android tablet apps, Google is tackling one piece it can address: making Android phone apps look better on larger screens.
In a posting on its developer blog on Monday, Google announced plans to improve the appearance of phone apps with the next version of Honeycomb. Specifically, Google plans to offer two options to tablet owners looking to display apps that have not been optimized for Honeycomb — either stretching the app to fit the larger screen or zooming in.
“Android tablets are becoming more popular, and we’re pleased to note that the vast majority of apps resize to the larger screens just fine,” Google’s Scott Main said in the blog post. “To keep the few apps that don’t resize well from frustrating users with awkward-looking apps on their tablets, a near-future release of Honeycomb is introducing a new screen compatibility mode to make these apps more usable on tablets.”
But as anyone who has tried to view an iPhone app on an iPad or a standard TV program on an HDTV can tell you, there really is no substitute for optimized content.
The iPad, for example, does a pretty good job of compatibility given that it has twice the resolution (in each direction) of an iPhone. But enlarging phone applications isn’t the same as — nor a substitute for — having programs that really make use of the larger screen.
And that’s where Apple has a gigantic lead, boasting more than 100,000 tablet-optimized apps, compared to a few hundred for its nearest rivals, including Android.
Google didn’t detail just when the new feature will arrive, but Huawei plans to release a 7-inch tablet running the still unannounced 3.2 version of Android, so this feature could well come with that software release.