On Wednesday we watched in anticipation as Google made some critical announcements and revelations about the future of its Android mobile OS. With the introduction of Android 3.0 Honeycomb and official unveiling of the user interface, we noticed how much of a difference it will really make when using an Android tablet that uses Honeycomb, compared to tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab that sport Android 2.2. When it’s made specifically for a tablet, it just makes a whole lot more sense to use at that point.
One announcement made on Wednesday got an average amount of press coverage, but I think it’s one of the most important announcements Google made at that event. I’m referring to the web store version of Android Market. On the surface, who cares? But for anyone who lives in an Android family (or uses multiple Androids from one time to another), having the Market on my computer browser becomes much more convenient and organized. It also becomes easier to share apps with one another.
What the Android Market Web Store is All About
The point of bringing the Android Market to the computer screen is to make shopping and downloading apps easier (and in theory, it will also be easier to impulse buy — especially if you’re already spending time on Amazon or eBay). While it’s easy to find an app through the phone Market, the limited screen space often makes it frustrating for me to get exactly what I’m searching for, without spending countless time scrolling through lists of hundreds of apps. In contrast, having the infinitely larger computer screen gives the Market much more room to be itself, allowing for bigger lists, images, user reviews, and more.
It’s similar to the App Store on iOS and looking up apps in the iTunes store on your computer. But the Android Market has the advantage because any downloads you choose will be synced up with your phone wirelessly. In other words, once you choose which device you’d like to download your new app to (it retains a list of all Android devices your account has been set up on), it will just automatically begin downloading onto it. This makes everything done with a few simple clicks, and you’re done.
While Android phones are generally pretty fast, using the computer to find and purchase apps will usually be faster and more user friendly for many reasons: the large screen allows for thumbnails and fits more apps on each page, your landline internet connection will probably be faster, and you can look up user reviews much faster and easier than on the smaller screen of the smartphone. Not to mention the ability to download to multiple devices one after the other.
Some more reasons I like the Market on the computer: each app has its own dedicated URL on the Market, making it possible to write articles or reviews with the app link taking you directly to that app information and download page. For instance, be sure to check out Angry Birds on the Android Market!
You can also share this app by Tweeting it from the information page using a handy link on the right hand side.
My Experience with the Android Market Web Store
There’s not much more to it than that, folks, but even the most simple ideas can be the most brilliant. While it’s a small change, I believe it is a foreshadowing of what changes we’ll be seeing with Android in the very near future, perhaps with the introduction of Android Ice Cream. The Android Market on the web is now my preferred method of shopping for Android apps whenever possible. With hundreds of thousands of apps available in the Market, this tool will make it easier to sift through the mile-high list of junk apps and find true gems that currently reside somewhere deep down amongst the junk.
When I logged on to my online Market account, I found it incredibly easy to get in and find what I wanted to download, and save countless time purchasing those apps directly from the Web Store. Let’s face it: when you have multiple apps to download, it gets cumbersome trying to find and download those apps one by one on the phone. But I found it to be a much more pleasant experience when doing it through the Web Store.
All in all, I like the direction Google is heading with Android, and will continue to use the Market through its Web Store whenever I have the ability to. I look forward to seeing how well the Web Store is accepted, but I have a feeling it will catch on rather quickly.
To see the Android Market Web Store, visit here.
Also, enter to win our weekly drawing! Go to our Facebook page for more information.
If you liked the post, you might find these interesting too:
- The Android Market finally, officially has 100,000 apps
- Google Maps 4.6 for Android available now
- App Review: Google Reader for Android
- Android Market “only” has 70,000 apps, daily Android device activations still at around 160,000
- SHOP4APPS – Motorola’s own Android app store coming soon