So I try to read the online tech sites on a daily basis at least. I recently came across and article about the problems with Google’s Android Marketplace. I want to say that before I go into each of his points, yes there are some shortcomings with the Marketplace, but Android overall is a different creature, and if you expect it to be an iPhone clone, you are in for a rude awakening.
Garett Rogers, in his article, breaks down what he sees as wrong with the Android Marketplace. Unfortunately, this “story” is actually more of an Op/Ed piece without being clearly marked as such. Everyone is allowed their opinions, but to try and pass opinions off as unbiased new is wrong, and gives actual journalists a bad name. I make no qualms that this blog is my opinions and thoughts, and while I do try to keep it as professional as possible, and at time do reviews where I do my best to set aside my biases, I have no problem reminding people that most things are op/ed here. That being said, lets get onto his points and my counterpoints.
Garett breaks the issues he has with Android’s Marketplace to 5 items. First up on his list is “Add a review process.” This point is good in an aspect of weeding out spam apps, but Android is an open platform, and the marketplace is just as open. This is not Apple, where you have to abide by terms that change from moment to moment, and on a whim. Also, there are user reviews (star ratings) on the apps in the Marketplace, which is a self vetting process.
Second item on Garett’s list is, “A good ratio of paid apps vs free apps is absolutely necessary.” I tend to disagree with this, and he needs to remember that a lot of the free apps, come with a small, non-obtrusive, ad-bar (Which i barely notice). Google’s money is made from advertising. From that advertising, even “free” apps make money. The thing to research is, how do these ads, and ad money translate to the developer.
Third up on the hit parade, Garett writes, “Apps need to be discoverable.” This point I couldn’t agree with more. The search function in the Android Marketplace is ok, but really needs to be improved on. I can search and while I get a good amount of semi-relevant to relevant apps, I get a lot of junk that has no relation to the words I typed in the search box. Google, being the king of search, has been disappointing in this aspect.
The next point brought up is about currency, and I really can’t argue against showing the app prices in the currency of our choosing. I have no clue how many dollars to a pound, I just want to know what my cost is in my currency.
His final point is, “Modify the return policy.” He basis this on the developer possible loosing money because of returned apps. Now I don’t know how Apple does it, or if they even allow for app returns, but toughening a return policy on apps downloaded is a tough thing to do. Its an open market, and by showing their respect for the consumer, Google looks like the consumer will wind up helping police the bad apps. Its a review process, a vetting process.
Is the Android Marketplace perfect? Not by any means. It has area that can be improved upon, but to make it go down the road of the Apple Marketplace and iTunes (Stupid piece of junk that iTunes is), leaves no room to grow, or worse, could prompt legal action. After all we all have been reading about how everyone loves suing everyone over pattens now.