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The New Android Marketplace

This week, Google had their latest round of Android announcements this week and coming out of it came two major products.  The first was Google’s Android OS 3.0 for tablets, code named Honeycomb. The second is Android’s new web based market to compliment its phone based market, but does the new market bring on par with Apple’s iTunes store?

On the surface, the new Android Marketplace its cues from the iTunes store’s applications section.  The apps are well organized and have featured apps rotating at the top of the screen, with easily accessible lists for the store’s top free and paid apps. Categories and subcategories are listed on the side for simple access to find the types of apps a user is looking for.

Going to an individual application’s page gives a similar layout to the Droid’s Android Market. All the information is laid out in an easy to read format that gives full access to all the information about the app.  From size to description to services used by the app, it is all laid app in a familiar format. If the user is logged into their Google account, it shows weather the app is already installed in the phone or can be installed or purchased with the click of a button and begins downloading almost instantly to the phone without ever having to pick it up.

The biggest problem with the new Android Market is discovering apps that are not best sellers. Going to the different categories and subcategories takes you a page with the top paid apps in that section with a tab to look at the top free apps. It is impossible to peruse the selection of apps that are new, top sellers nor promoted by Google itself. It becomes popularity propagating popularity without pushing new apps, which appear with daily frequency.  An app with hype will be easily accessible while a lesser known app would need to be searched for.

The new Android Marketplace is a huge leap forward.  Being able to look at and install new apps from the web is a great advancement, but the inability to find apps unless they are top downloads is severely lacking in ways to explore and discover new applications for the Droid phone.

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