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February 5, 2011

Google’s New App Store Market.Android.Com

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Google is fighting Apple tooth and nail in the mobile app sector.  Google announced the launch of a new web store for applications that run on mobile devices which operate Android.  The Internet company is doing it’s best to keep up with Apple.  Users of Android devices like Motorola’s Droid or HTC’s Evo smart phones previously had access to the Android app market only through their phones, but the app makers have complained it was difficult for them to get noticed there because the marketplace was built around lists of featured apps and top downloads.

Google’s new app market is available at http://Market.Android.com and is focused on letting users discover new apps easily from their computers. The site features a recommendation tool which enables users to see what their friends and colleagues are using on their Android devices. This is a move which should help level the playing field with Apple. The Apple App store and iTunes have always allowed users to find apps and buy them through their computers.

Google is looking at the big picture. They have discussed how they will allow developers to create applications which would then charge the user for in app purchases.  For example, buying virtual goods in a game like the Sims.  This move comes as Android has overtaken Nokia’s Symbian platform as the most widely used OS in the world based on the number of devices shipped.  Apple came in third behind Google and Nokia.

Google doesn’t appear to be directly competing with Apple.  Apple makes a fortune on its hardware, namely, the iPhone, iPad, and the various iPods they have in their line up.  Google has taken a completely different approach as they provide the Android software for free to device manufacturers.  Google does however take a portion of the app purchases and advertising revenue.  Google also benefits by having Android as the most frequently used operating system in the world because it helps to ensure that Google’s search engine is a mainstay on the various devices that Android is installed on.

By introducing their own app store, Google hopes to take a larger market share in the mobile app sector.  They were unhappy with the amount of apps being purchased in the app market.  There are currently 100,000 apps for Android, while Apple has a hefty 350,000 mobile apps available in their app store.

To help compete, Google is trying to improve the Android App market by designing its own high quality apps, as well as relying on high profile 3rd party developers.  Google has also recently displayed the features of Honeycomb, a tablet version of Android that will help other tablets compete with the iPad.  Motorola’s XOOM tablet is expected to be on of the first tablets running Honeycomb.

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