Android Market is officially out of the bag. The application store for Google’s Android mobile phones only contains free software for now and there is no approval process for the software: it’s an open content distribution system. The structure is similar to the iPhone App Store, with a rating system similar to YouTube’s. Google is touting their experience as a search engine and infrastructure provider as advantages to Apple’s store, but would that be really useful if everyone and their dogs can submit their
As shown in today’s presentation, some developers are very excited about Android Market. In the keynote, T-Mobile and Google have pushed the Open Source aspect of the new store. But at the end, as demonstrated by the barrage of useless applications that inundate the Apple’s iPhone App Store, what really counts is the overall quality of the software and how the best applications can reach the consumers. That’s where the rating system may come handy, but like with YouTube, there’s not warranty that the really good things will float up, specially since you are limited to the G1 built-in store.
There’s a good side to the open no-limits, no-approval nature of the system: developers can publish anything they want. No prohibitions and controls means that developers will be able to access any part of the hardware, allowing software that is not allowed in the iPhone App Store, like tethering. On the other side, this may also bring bad things to the user end, since it opens the door to potential problems and conflicts that may affect the stability of the Android mobile phone.
The lack of a desktop component may be the biggest problem for final users, an online shop that allows you to easily surf through different options and manage your applications (as well as any other content). This could make things more difficult for consumers. Once we try the store–which looks extremely similar to Apple’s own–and see how you manage the software, we will be able to answer this question more thoroughly. For now, however, the idea that everything has to happen over the air in a tiny screen may make Google’s solution a weaker one than Apple’s, which in its current form has problems on its own.