Probably modelled along the lines of the Apple iPhone app Store, Google has opened up a similar system for applications designed specifically for the Android-based phone.
The Android Market, as it is known, has a simple interface adhering to Google design mantras. The applications are divided up into three main categories: the Featured applications, Free, and Paid. Each category then displays the applications according to the popularity, where the most popular one finds itself at the head of the list.
The applications are displayed in a grid on the bottom of the screen, and a mouse-over on any of them shows a preview of the application, including a few snapshots and a short write-up alongside.
There is a small bar separating both areas of the screen, in the corner of which there is a drop-down menu box, listing all the various categories available. On selecting a category like ‘Productivity’ for example, applications falling under that category are displayed in the lower screen.
The entire screen is very straightforward to navigate, and dividing up the applications based on whether they are free or not is an intelligent move. Usually, while searching for applications, the price is hidden from view up until the last moment, and if a customer is unwilling to pay that particular amount, it results in frustration.
The interesting feature of Google Android is that the operating system is completely open source. Before this particular operating system was released, Symbian was slated to be the open source mobile operating system, at least according to reports from Nokia. While that hasn’t happened as yet, Google has swooped in the interim.
Because Android is open source, there has been a great deal of interest in the developer community with its release. As a corollary the Android Market will serve admirably as a launching pad for applications created by Android developers across the globe. The arrangement has a two-pronged benefit – firstly, Google has applications in dozens, created for the user by the user for display and download, making their product much more attractive; and secondly, the developers can reach their projected market easily.
Essentially, Android Market is a content distribution system, enabling developers to reach consumers. The entire setup has a rating and feedback module, likened to the one on YouTube. What is exceptionally good about this system is allowing the developers the freedom to connect to the customers directly, and in one place. Google requires a small three-step process to be completed, and the developer is good to go.
At a later stage, there may be additional features added to the Market, including analytics similar to the blogging equivalent, and a dashboard, a common feature in most Google products. Additionally, features that will be extremely attractive to potential buyer is the support that is available regardless of whether the application is free or not. Other features like version control, patch support, among others, is likely to make up the overall package.
Android Market is a gift for developers – register as a seller, upload and describe the content and publish it. That’s all there is to it.