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Google unveils App Store-like Android Market

updated 04:10 pm EDT, Thu August 28, 2008

Google Android Market

Google today revealed fuller details of Android Market, its previously hinted at store for software for phones based on the Android mobile operating system. Similar to the iPhone's App Store, the portal is hosted by Google itself and is created to give third-party developers a common, easily accessible location to give away or sell their apps. Unlike Apple's screened content, however, the company plans an "open and unobstructed" environment where apps aren't banned for legal content or functions.

The store has a star-based ratings system for users to gauge the worthwhile nature of an app and takes advantage of Google's experience with web data to help developers track the success of their titles over time; security is managed in part by warning the user when an app may require GPS or software access that could potentially compromise a handset.

Android Market will first be available as a beta program preloaded on to new devices that will only allow for free purchases; a system to handle paid apps and with streamlined upgrades, support for different device profiles, and other details should be available shortly after the first device is available this fall.

The strategic announcement sets up a direct conflict between the iPhone 3G and the expected T-Mobile G1, which should be the world's first Android-based phone and will share the same emphasis on a touchscreen interface, 3G data and GPS.

Although both Apple and Google have worked together and have emphasized the importance of exposing all users of a given phone line to apps, Google has stressed the open nature of its Linux-based platform and isn't believed to require publishing through Android Market to load publicly available software. It will also contrast against its fellow California OS designer by giving developers deep access to the phone that extends to components Apple segregates from iPhone developers, including the media player software.





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +1

    I know it's early ...

    ... but this Android Market is really nothing like the AppStore, at least not yet. If Google follows through to act as a payment clearing house and code vetting center, then it would be a closer approximation. As it stands today at least, this is just a freeware distribution center.

  1. macnixer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006

    0

    Been a Google fan

    for a long time and for reason. This is the company I felt was innovative and cared for customer experience as does Apple. However lately I fear, Google has been going the way the rest of the junta go. They are copying and this does not help much keep the image of being innovative. Frankly Google has become a mega corp that has lost itself to the greed. Where are the brains that literally did "think different"?

    Please Google, come out of it. Innovate for that is what keeps me believing that you can be a company changing the world a bit every time.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +2

    Looks Nice!

    As an iPhone owner, I can't wait until this is available and mature enough to be fully usable and competitive with Apple's offering. The reason is that the availability of a more consumer-friendly and open-access option on the market will pressure Apple to open up their offering, benefiting us all. Sooner or later, our phones will be critical general-purpose computing devices, and the current level of user access to the iPhone will not be sustainable with serious competition on the market. We can jailbreak our iPhones now for an approximation of what the future might hold, but that's obviously not a workable solution for most people or ultimately for Apple. I look forward to Apple relinquishing control over the phones we buy from them, or to seeing them replaced with vendors who will not have such reservations. Once Apple gets my money for my iPhone, I can do with it what I choose, including s******* it up completely if I'm not careful. That's the way it is with the Macs I buy from them, and there's no reason the same shouldn't hold true for these pocket Macs.

  1. Constable Odo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    +2

    Slow down people...

    If you're in such a rush to get unrestricted apps and content, then maybe you should go with a WinMo or Android handset while Apple gets the iPhone platform fully developed. I'm sure 95% of iPhone users are more than satisfied with the iPhone's progress. Progress seems slow to you, but it took years for those other handset platforms to be developed and still look where they ended up.

    This is a relatively new venture for Apple and I don't think they should rush the development program for the few that are unhappy about missing features they knew the iPhone wouldn't come with. It sounds like you're thinking the iPhone platform will fail because it doesn't adhere to your way of totally open-access thinking. Everybody doesn't look at it that way. If this was the case, Palm should have walked away with 70% smartphone market share long time ago. In theory, the Palm OS can do it all.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: been a google fan

    However lately I fear, Google has been going the way the rest of the junta go. They are copying and this does not help much keep the image of being innovative.

    Yeah, and when companies do something different, they get blasted for not doing it like Apple.

    I think they're being very different from Apple. They're having a central place to search for apps, if developers want to put their apps there (sort of like a VersionTracker type of thing). But it isn't the only way to get apps. You can install any that you want, without restriction or people required to pay developer fees.

    Its actually what people wanted Apple to do.

    And I don't know how to tell you, but it isn't like Apple invented the 'appstore' concept. Other phones/PDAs have had that before Apple.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: I know its early...

    .. but this Android Market is really nothing like the AppStore, at least not yet.

    What???? A beta program on a beta OS not in any shipping product isn't like a competitor's official store used for a released handheld? Whoa, stop the presses!

    If Google follows through to act as a payment clearing house and code vetting center, then it would be a closer approximation. As it stands today at least, this is just a freeware distribution center.

    Apple does NOT vet code. They don't even get the code. And they obviously do very little testing of the apps (otherwise certain ones that are buggy or insecure - like the one that would transmit a user's contacts in the clear) would never have been released in the first place.

    But the problem you're having is that you think they're trying to be another AppStore. They aren't. They're trying to be a central library. A place to find what you might be looking for (you know, the kind of things people developed for some of Apple's other features - the ones they couldn't find a way to make money on, so didn't bother setting up a central site of their own - like dashboard widgets, Sherlock plug-ins in the old days, that kind of thing).

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +2

    Re: Slow down people...

    @Constable Odo: The thing with that is that the iPhone is by far the most developed mobile platform on the market today. WinMo is a sick joke of a kludge OS, and Android is still a glimmer in HTC's eye (along with that of every other handset mfg. who's not Apple). The API richness, OS capabilities, IDE and dev tools, all are already close to the level needed for supporting a more open platform. Obviously there are some fundamentals missing, such as file management, inter-app communication and a clipboard, along with a plethora of device APIs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's not ready for deeper 3rd party platform access.

    Apple is obviously running a tight ship, and they probably don't have the capability to hammer out all these features and functionality at the snap of a finger, not to mention that each of these issues deserves a great amount of care, as they will form the foundation of this new critical platform. The beauty of it is that that don't NEED to solve all these problems before loosing the hackers onto the platform's exposed guts. They could easily give an option to the iPhone user buried somewhere deep in the settings to 'Allow untrusted software', and set the security settings to 'unsafe' or whatever, and then the iPhone would accept any old compiled app you drop onto iTunes, and it would allow those apps to access the entire filesystem with root permissions if the user so chooses, basically jailbreaking the iPhone in a supported manner. This would largely eliminate the necessity for shady apps that not only jailbreak but often unlock the phone from the carrier, and would ensure that most users will be able to have a trusting relationship with Apple, rather than the hostile relationship where they must work around their protection schemes. They could warn the user of the potential harm they're exposing themselves to, and help them restore if they get in over their head.

    The advantage is that these users who choose these settings will be the willing guinea pigs for sorting out the remaining pieces of the iPhone OS puzzle.
    Most iPhone app developers will stick within the confines of what the default iPhone settings allow, but a large number will be compelled to tackle those missing pieces. The community will throw up several different options for each remaining shortcoming, and will sort out what works and what doesn't in rapid order. The platform will advance much more rapidly with a world of developers all hammering out the problems in different ways, and a large community of users to guide it. Apple should cultivate this type of community involvement, not shun it. All they're doing by walling themselves off is giving a leg up to the next competitor who will co-opt that community of geeks for their own platform's development.

  1. MacMan2000

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008

    0

    cool

    where do i get one of these phones?

  1. MacMan2000

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008

    -1

    cool

    where do i get one of these phones?

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