updated 04:25 pm EDT, Wed May 11, 2011
Android Market getting recommendations, large apps
A Google I/O post-keynote presentation and a post Wednesday revealed that Google is yet again revamping Android Market. The store will now be much more visual and, similar to the iOS Apple Store, have banners and other elements highlighting apps instead of the carousel of today. Users will also get Apple-like app recommendations based on their history as well as similar categories, such as Top Grossing for expensive apps and a Trending area for rapidly rising apps, TechCrunch and others in attendance saw.
Top New Free and Top New Paid categories are also coming, as is an Editor's Choice that will highlight Google's picks independently of what's popular.
The store will also help reduce the amount of fragmentation among devices, the company indirectly acknowledged. Developers will now have the option of multi-bundle apps, where they can create multiple versions to accommodate different screen sizes, controls, and performance but only show one copy. Likewise, the manifest for a given app will now give developers an advance notice of which devices will see an app in case they want to go back and limit features to reach more hardware.
Other touches should bring support for apps up to 4GB, quick access to setting up an AdMob campaign to promote an app, and a history of what apps fellow buyers have downloaded on an app's portal page. The sales record of an app now goes back as far as January 2010.
Many of the non-software changes, such as recommendations and new categories, should be live today. The layout on Android phones themselves doesn't have a definite release schedule, and checks by Electronista still showed the old style as of this writing.
The revamp, which follows a similar change just in the fall, may be a further attempt to gain acceptance among paid app developers that still flock mostly to iOS. In spite of earlier attempts, most Android apps are free and a large number of commercial, top-tier apps still aren't on the platform. Discovery has been an issue, but game developers have often avoided Android because they could only publish a single version and had to shut out large percentages of the community.