Android Market = iTunes AppStore (or Not)

by Sachin Balagopalan on August 28, 2008 · 1 comment

Google today announced plans for a content distribution system called “Android Market” which will provide the infrastructure and tools for Android developers to distribute their apps to the masses. After reading this post on the Android Developers Blog one can’t help but notice that this is a mock up of Apple’s iTunes AppStore for the iPhone. The first Android phones are slated to arrive later this year and only a beta version of Android Market will be available initially and will support only free applications. So there is more work to be done but Google is definitely whetting the appetites of Android developers. The post includes a few screen shots like the one above and they look like a low quality version of the iPhone. The Android Developers blog states that “the concept is simple: leverage Google’s expertise in infrastructure, search and relevance to connect users with content created by developers …” Apparently - unlike Apple who had to build their app store infrastructure from ground up to coincide with the 3G release - Google has the infrastructure in place already. They are a Search engine - duh!

However there are some significant differences between the two. Lets not forget that Apple has some stringent rules and it’s not easy to submit your applications. There is a vetting process and you can expect good quality apps for the most part when you download from the AppStore albeit a few exceptions like this one. Android on the other hand …

Developers will be able to make their content available on an open service hosted by Google that features a feedback and rating system similar to YouTube. We chose the term “market” rather than “store” because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available. Similar to YouTube, content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe your content and publish it. We also intend to provide developers with a useful dashboard and analytics to help drive their business and ultimately improve their offerings.

It’s pretty clear that Google is fostering an open door policy - register, upload and publish and you’re in business. Similar to YouTube? I can see myself swifting through the rough just to find a diamond. Actually I would like to know what “registering as a merchant” entails? Wonder if there is some kind of vetting process involved there - of the developer that is.

In any case I’m glad they’re doing this. If nothing else we can probably see which model works best. The rating system similar to YouTube could be effective I suppose. Some kind of “formalized” testing and vetting process is required IMO to prevent this thing from totally going out of control. Perhaps a user-driven quality control initiative might make sense where the user community QA’s the applications and puts the word out - maybe through a website - about the quality of the applications.

If you’re an Android developer this is definitely good news.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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