Posts Tagged ‘Market’
Earlier this week, in checking Phandroid, I noticed the following item. Apparently, Google has trashed the Just In section from the Android Market. I hadn’t noticed myself, because I hadn’t checked the Just In section for months. Apparently developers aren’t too happy about this, as it’s one way they can stand out from the larger, more prominent app developers. But in my experience the Just In section isn’t useful at all, and I can’t imagine developers get much traffic from it.
The normal disclaimer applies here: I am not a developer, so I don’t know exactly what generates them the most traffic. But I am an end user, and a voracious one at that. I’m always checking out various apps, wither by large or small developers, that can enhance my Android experience. In that experience, I’ve found the Just In section largely useless.
When I first started blogging here, I went to the Just In section all the time. It was a place, I thought, where I could find the latest Android apps and bring them to the AndGeeks readers. Truth be told, I don’t think I ever actually wrote about any of the apps I found there. What I found consisted mostly of apps I didn’t care about, or otherwise porn. Lot of porn. But that’s what happens when you open the floodgates for developers. You get lots of porn.
Yesterday Boy Genius Report ran the results of a survey on tablets. It revealed a few things, not least of which that the tablet market still has plenty of room to grow. But there is one aspect in particular that struck me, and it strikes me as an opportunity for Android tablet makers. As you can see in the image above, there are many manufacturers from which people would buy a tablet. Of the seven listed, five are Android-based tablets (while a sixth, RIM, will soon run Android apps). Yet it’s the data that follows which makes me think that we could see a surge in Android tablet sales later in the year.
Of the people who said they planned to buy a tablet, half said they’d buy the iPad. This is unsurprising. It is the sexy tablet out there, the one with all the apps and all the marketing and all the coolness. That’s all fine and good, but these same customers who said they planned to buy a tablet said that low price was the most important consideration. Hmm. We know that the iPad isn’t a low-cost device — the cheapest is $ 499, and it thy go up and up from there. So what gives?
Why are so many apps that cost money in the Apple App Store free in the Android Market? I had a friend gripe about this issue a few weeks ago, in regards to Angry Birds. Sure, the Android version has ads running over it, but the fact remains that it’s free, while it costs a few bucks on the iPhone/iPad. The reason might be as simple as this: Android users just aren’t as apt to pay for apps. At least, that’s what it feels like. For those wondering if there is any statistical backing to this anecdotal evidence, I turn you to a recent Distmo report that contains information about paid apps in the Android Market. It does seem to jibe with the general feeling about the app environment.
There was something of an outcry when Google reduced the refund window on Market purchases to 15 minutes. That doesn’t give users much time to sample the application, and it forces them to do so right away. I thought it might lead to a greater preponderance of free trial versions, since there is less of an opportunity to try and then return the app. I haven’t seen much of that yet, so for now the 15-minute window is mainly an annoyance. There’s a new app, though, that can help you manage your refund windows.
Refund Timer is one of those wonderful apps that does exactly what the name suggests. When you download an application the 15-minute timer starts. The application and remaining time get laid over your screen, so you will see the full 15-minute countdown.
There are drawbacks, not least of which is that you have to eventually pay for the app. You can try it free for 72 hours, but after that you have to buy a license from within the app. I’d love to tell you how much it costs, but the app keeps crashing at that point on my device. Oops.
Maybe you’ve noticed them, maybe you haven’t. At I/O this week, Google has announced many changes to the Android Market, and they all seem to make it a more robust, user-friendly outlet for applications. Well, not only applications, since one of the changes is the addition of movie rentals. That’s just the start, though. There are plenty of additions that should make your browsing of the Android Market a more enjoyable experience.
As Android Police noted following the I/O keynote address, Google added an Amazon-like feature to the Market. Now when you download an app from the market you’ll see recommendations based on what other users have installed. That is, if you download, say, Angry Birds, you’ll see recommendations based on things that other Angry Birds users have installed. I’m not sure how deep the algorithm runs here, but if it matches up to users who have a similar download profile, I can see it being very useful. In general, though, I’m not quite interested what the other fifty million people who downloaded Angry Birds also installed.
With our focus on Android multimedia, I find myself browsing AppBrain multiple times per day. There are always hidden gems in the Market, and AppBrain makes it easy to find them. Music & Audio is obviously a category of my particular interest, since it’s where I can find media players and streaming services that make Android a better multimedia platform. Yet every time I go there I see the same thing: Pandora on top. It doesn’t quite surprise me. If you graphed my most frequently run apps, Pandora would be No. 1 by a long shot. It made me start thinking about why this streaming service absolutely destroys all others.
The simple answer anyone can conjure. Pandora is simply awesome. It not only has a library filled with millions upon millions of songs, but it’s quite good at detecting which of those millions you will enjoy. Even though there are limits on skips, even for paid users, it’s not often that I find myself skipping six songs in a row and being forced to change channels. That is, if used properly, Pandora is almost guaranteed to stream you songs you want to hear. Yet there’s so much more to the app than that.
For some it was a great boon for streaming music. For others it wasn’t worth the trouble. But however you view or viewed Grooveshark, the latest development is significant for all music lovers. Citing terms of service violations, Google has removed Grooveshark from the Android Market. This is not an unprecedented move. Last August, Apple removed Grooveshark from the App Store, just over a week after it debuted. There are certainly legal issues surrounding Grooveshark, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that these issues are what prompted Google to remove it from the Market. I just wonder what it means for the future of streaming music apps.
Of course, most major streaming music apps, such as Pandora and Slacker, don’t face this particular problem. They have licensing deals with record labels, and so can stream music freely as long as they stay within the license’s terms. Grooveshark, on the other hand, has a licensing deal with just one record label, EMI, and that came as the result of a lawsuit. Grooveshark is currently involved in a lawsuit filed by Universal Music Group, which is over a year old. Other record labels could spring litigation on them at any time.
If there is one rule for getting people to pay for something, it’s to make the process as simple as possible. The fewer steps people have to take, and the less they have to think, the easier it is to sell them something. Android took the first steps towards ease of payments when it introduced carrier billing to the Android Market. You don’t have to enter your credit card or any other form of payment. The cost just shows up on your cell bill, which, if you’re like most people, you just pay without examining anyway. Now they’ve implemented another way to separate users from their money: in-app billing.
This is, of course, a great feature for developers. It allows them to do more with their apps. Game developers can now sell bonus packs right inside their app. My favorite, and an example used by Google, is ComiXology. If you want something to browse you can just download a new issue through the app itself. If you store your credit card information, it makes it that much easier to encourage buying. There are also other uses for the app, such as providing premium upgrades for free apps. You can take that one step further and set up limited trials, after which users have to purchase the app — through the app itself.