updated 02:00 pm EST, Wed February 2, 2011
Android Market now on the web
Google at its special Android 3.0 event claimed an edge in mobile app stores by launching a full Android Market web store. The portal first promised at Google I/O gives full, unfettered browsing and buying of apps from a browser. It avoids the need for wired sync on platforms like iOS and gives users the option of pushing an app to any Android phone or tablet they own, with the app downloaded on the device.
App discovery has been given much higher priority and now includes not just larger screenshots but embedded YouTube videos. As on iTunes, users can link to a specific app and share it out either through regular links or through a built-in Twitter sharing button on an app's profile page.
Payment is also catching up to Apple's platforms. The company is phasing in buyer currency over the next few months that will optionally let users set a price local to a specific area instead of only in the region where the app was purchased. In-app purchases are also coming and will let users buy add-in content, such as new songs or virtual goods.
The web market is live today and needs Android 2.2 or later to sync apps. In-app purchasing is very early and has only involved some close work with developers, but this will now include previously iPhone-only develoeprs such as Disney that will be bringing Tap Tap Revenge 4, Jelly Car and Radio Disney in the spring. An early SDK will be available today, and users should see it before the end of March.