Last week was one of major announcements, the release of the SDK for Gingerbread, the Nexus S ad, the new Google Maps and the presentation of the new version of Market. But in the midst of all these good tidings, there’s one that’s not quite so good as the rest. At a glance, in the new version, Market has been given a long overdue facelift; the new look is more in line with the times, with a more modern and functional edge. At the tap of a thumb, all the information is available on the one screen the description of the application, the different screens, comments and related applications. The first screen presents us with the most relevant info, but we can delve into more details by simply pressing “More”.
On the surface, this all looks great, but what’s still missing is a certain order. Market has become a free-for-all, where applications roam unrestricted, with no control whatsoever from Google.
This control that some of us have been missing has turned into a limit in the time we have to test the software. Now we get just 15 minutes to try out an application before giving it back. If anyone is able to fully test any half decent application in 15 minutes, please let me know about it. It certainly takes me longer to write articles for the blog, I can assure you.
And let’s hope the errors of earlier versions have been solved in the new version of Market. Just yesterday I was struggling to update Angry Birds. I have the SD which doesn’t let you update and after transferring it to the telephone, uninstalling it and trying again, I had no other choice but to install the APK downloaded from the Internet. Google really messed up here and they should fix it as soon as possible. Market is the main applications repository for Android and users shouldn’t have to fish around on the Internet for applications that can be installed directly from Market.
One of the promises Google made after this year’s I|O was the web version of Android Market, a website where we could find all the applications available on Market and download them directly from the site, linking to our Google account and loading them directly onto our phones.
This was just one of the promises made together with Froyo, Gingerbread is just around the corner and there’s no news on the web version of Market. Android users are starting to opt for more elaborate web versions of Android Market than the one Google offers us on the official Android website.
Call me impatient, but if they show us a fully functional version at the I|O where the application is loaded onto a Nexus One directly from the website, surely it means that it’s almost ready. Either that or they tricked us with a demo set-up. At the same I|O they also showed us Chrome Store, with no preliminary version to be worked on, just like Android Market, but it’s been online now for a week.
Google Music is another of the broken promises from this year’s I|O, where Market is concerned. The idea was to introduce a music store where all the music indexed in our system could be loaded onto our device. In the case of the video it’s a Nexus One. Again they suggested a practically functioning version, but we’re still waiting for Google to make the application public.
Google Books is another recent application that we all heard vague rumors about and it’s already been released before the other two I’ve mentioned. If they keep announcing improvements like this, our best option is to expect the unexpected rather than pay attention to what they tell us at the I|O. Exactly the same thing happened with Google Reader; no-one expected the official feeds reader, but it was published two weeks ago without any fuss.
Another promise was the possibility of making payments on Market without using Google Checkout. In this case, the new player on the scene was PayPal, the leading online payment tool. It’s not that I favor one over the other, but in general people don’t like giving out their credit card number over the Internet. If I already have a PayPal account, why do I need a Checkout account too?
I don’t generally criticize Google. In fact, I usually sympathize more with Google than with other companies, but I get the feeling that they’re biting off more than they can chew lately. They’re moving into areas like operating systems with ChromeOs and into program execution in the Chrome navigator with Chrome Web Store, while turning their back on Android. We’re now on version 2.3 but there has been no real shake-up to the system in any area since version 1.5. Each new version is just like its predecessor with a few changes to the options; it’s not getting the attention it deserves, starting with Market.
Users with versions from 1.6 onwards started to receive it yesterday afternoon; we’ll just have to wait and see how it evolves.
Happy applications discovery![Via elAndroidelibre]