Google Clues Developers in on Android Market
Android Mobile Platform team member Eric Chu wants you to know that its content distribution system – an Apple App Store think-a-like by the name of Android Market – is going to be user-driven. All thanks to ‘Google’s expertise in infrastructure, search and relevance to connect users with content created by developers.’
As one might expect for a developer-targeted message, this notice, plus screen grabs, is perhaps similar to the ones Apple delivers to its own third-party coders. But it just goes to show that Google’s efforts are very much in conceptual emulation of the iPhone/iPod touch. It would be unjust to point out the subjective visual inferiority that one might view Android Market with. It may well prove more voluminous than Apple’s own storefront when all is said and done. But that is something of relative interest to developers and users alike. What precisely does this mean?
Chu writes that Google will regard Android Market with a similar perspective as that given to YouTube. The service will run on a three-step publishing process: merchant registration, software uploads (with any necessary information to describe to potential users the utility of their solutions), and, finally, publication. Google also intends to ‘provide developers with a useful dashboard and analytics to help drive their business and ultimately improve their offerings.’
Unlike the iPhone’s initial 2007 rollout, Android Market will arrive in tandem with the first handsets to launch with the Android platform installed. Whether this debut will be one marked by a full-fledged marketplace (with a payment structure in place, for instance) is not certain. Chu has only confirmed that developers ‘can expect support for free (unpaid) applications,’ with an update allowing for financial transactions to be issued ‘soon after launch.’
This is in fact not so terrible a release plan, as it enables Google to trial this beta-to-be without fear of encountering disruptions to the system and loss of users’ interest to ultimately invest in paid downloads. But the company’s point about a YouTube-like software download experience could prove disabling. If Google offers any less of a vetting process than that given by Apple to its App Store, faulty designs could crop up in even greater number. It is imperative that Google ensure a solid quality-assurance experience as a mediator that exhibits both partial and impartial behavior as doorman to the palace.
As to the planned Android Market update, it will be September at the very earliest that US-based consumers will have a chance at Android. And if/when T-Mobile, the first carrier purportedly committed to releasing the first Android-based handset, does indeed celebrate the debut in the fall, Google may well deliver an update ‘on first startup.’
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