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Google Hiring Android Devs To Close the 'Apps Gap'

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  • This would take a lot of work, but what might be helpful for Google to do for making Android apps is making a source code conversion tool that would take Objective C code and convert the API calls to the equivalent Java calls.

    Of course, this will take some doing because the Dalvik VM is a different beast than Objective-C (take the activities concept for example.) However, it would get software companies to at least dip a toe into the Android waters.

    • please don't (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:27PM (#35060544)

      The problem is that we would then get awful Android applications.
      My provider (Bell Canada) as an application for Android, to manage your account. It is awful. Obviously ported from the iPhone, with the ugly buttons/tabs wasting space at the bottom and the "back" button at the top left. They forgot that Android had a "menu" and a "back" button. I bet there would be even more of these if there was a tool to translate objective-C to Java. Anyway, Java is a way more popular language than Objective-C, so I don't think the lack of developers is an issue.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think this will happen. Google would prefer it if devs shifted the focus from iOS to Android, the app you speak of would allow developers to continue focusing on iOS and port to Android as an afterthought. Android might just end up with slower iOS apps which don't really follow the conventions of android.

      • Google would prefer it if devs shifted the focus from iOS to Android

        Then why does Google continue to require 3G support on devices sold in the United States before a device is allowed to use the Android Market application? For all the restrictions of Apple's App Store, at least iPod touch and iPad are allowed in, unlike Archos products which are limited to AppsLib instead of Android Market..

        • by maxume (22995)

          I would assume that they want the carriers blamed for low quality devices.

          Apple gets the blame for IOS devices no matter what.

    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:32PM (#35060638)

      I don't think such a tool would be worth the effort, particularly when even good versions of such translation tools almost always need to be heavily audited to ensure functionality, and most of the time the automated code is far less efficient than the original. I suppose you could take a "it's better than nothing" view of the situation, but realistically I don't think that flooding the Android market with a bunch of poor quality translated apps is going to be their goal when tackling the problem of low quality apps.

      That said, I've never noticed a problem with it personally. As an Android and iPod Touch user I've never found a gap in what I could do on one vs the other.

      The ONLY thing that I find better on the iPod isn't really an app on that side: the music player. The default music player on my Android phone is clunky and hard to use. It works much, much better on the iPod. On the other hand, the podcast functionality of that built in music player pales in comparison to what I can do with DoggCatcher on my Android phone.

      • by Stregano (1285764)
        Yeah, it's an iPod. I hope its music player is much, much better seeing as iPods are built to be music players. There are lots of examples of this, but I am too lazy to think of a good one
      • "it's better than nothing"

        Every single time I've seen this tried for anything even mildly complex it has turned out to be worse than nothing, not better. Once you have all the logic figured out, reimplementing in a new language generally isn't that hard to do. I've never understood why dev managers focus on conversion of code, when the hard part is already done.

    • Wasn't this why Google developed the App Inventor, but then didn't let people actually sell apps developed with it in the App Store?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You are not prohibited from selling App Inventor apps in the App store. You can't make them ad supported, and you can't put any secure DRM on them, but you can sell them. It's simple.

        Create a developer account.
        Create a keystore

        download your packaged Appl inventor app
        Unpackage it
        edit the manifest to fix some bugs
        rebuild the package
        sign it
        zipalign it
        upload it

        Just because google doesn't have a one click way to add these apps to the market yet, doesn't mean they are preventing you.

        http://simply-android.com/disc

    • by Yuioup (452151)

      Good idea and perhaps may I suggest an Objective C to the Go language converter? My crystal ball says that Google is going to be hurt by the Oracle lawsuit and as a consequence will switch over to Go and the primary language.

      I'm also wondering if they'll use a runtime or compile straight down to the metal (LLVM anyone?).

    • by robmv (855035)

      And kill Android the same way Windows APIs on OS/2 let people code for Windows and make people use the Windows APIs and not the native ones. Steve Jobs is not dumb trying to force everyone to use only their tools and APIs (evil yes, but not dumb), If you want something like it, it will not come from Google. There is a tool to do that in reverse direction [xmlvm.org] but that will never comes from Apple, no matter if the application numbers and quality iOS vs Android is reversed

    • There's an XML-based cross compiler that does Android->Objective C
      http://www.xmlvm.org/iphone/ [xmlvm.org]

    • What good would that do? It's not like Java is some esoteric language and software companies can't find anyone to write Android apps in it. Or, if you're implying that this conversion tool would let you port iPhone apps to Android, the programming language isn't the main barrier to that. It's the completely different APIs.

    • by oPless (63249)
  • Mr. President, we must not allow a app gap!

  • This sort of reminds me of that Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon (I think) where they speed up the car by moving the speedometer. Alternatively, Google could just concentrate on building a platform that doesn't suck.
    • by eclectus (209883)

      Amen to that! I have found the major applications that I need, However, the many annoying interface 'features' are really irritating me. I can only sort contacts by first name, I can't type in initials to get a contact, calDAV not supported natively, quick contacts cannot be renamed, I could go on and on....

  • Obviously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:28PM (#35060558)

    Obviously there's money to be made

    As a developer, I would like to be shown what makes it so obvious. Every developer I have asked says similar, if you cant get an application that's heavily used you wont be making much money in the Android platform, and then you will very likely make most that money through advertisement.

    I honestly want to see actual analysis that show that developing for Android is really an obvious money making path. I am very aware that there is no certain success in any platform. Seeing comparisons of cross-platform titles and showing the Android equivalent making more money would be the best example. Maybe the web is full of Apple Fanboi propaganda, but I just cant find any success stories in the Android Market that rival the iOS equivalents.

    • by bberens (965711)
      I can't imagine that it's any more or less of an obvious statement than iOS apps being an obvious money maker. Clearly angry birds is making money on both platforms. Most apps languish and don't make any money. I don't think this is really all that different from the rest of the software world with regards to success vs failure, though perhaps more pronounced since there's SO MANY dinky little phone apps out there.
      • Re:Obviously? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by B1ackDragon (543470) on Monday January 31, 2011 @06:03PM (#35060946)

        Clearly angry birds is making money on both platforms.

        I think this interview may be interesting, given the reference to Angry Birds in particular:

        Peter Vesterbacka, Maker of Angry Birds Talks about the Birds, Apple, Android, Nokia, and Palm/HP [technmarketing.com]

        9. Why did you decide to make the Android version free and is that going to change any time soon?
        “Free is the way to go with Android. Nobody has been successful selling content on Android. We will offer a way to remove the ads by paying for the app, but we don’t expect that to be a huge revenue stream.”

        Note: that article is something like two months old now, things may have changed since then for them.

      • by Altus (1034)

        I read something about 6 months ago, I dont have the link handy, but the article said that iPhone users spend a lot more money on Apps per month (per person) than Android users. Among the folks I know, this seems to be true. I can't say why, it may have to do with the people (iPhone users have more disposable income than folks buying the cheepest Android phone just to have a smart phone) or it could be because the iPhone is more locked down and more people are pirating apps on Android phones or it could b

    • Re:Obviously? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday January 31, 2011 @06:07PM (#35060990) Homepage Journal

      Hard to say. I have an android phone and an iPod touch. I hate to pay for apps on those devices but then I hate to pay on any device. Thing is I will pay if the app is good enough.
      On the iPod Touch I think I paid for three or for apps. On my Android phone I paid for four apps.
      Three are games from EA that where on sale for .99 cents. One was a podcast catcher. that was like $4. I only paid for the ipod catcher because it was the only one that I liked and did what I wanted it to do.
      Some programs like Angery Birds I would pay for just to get ride of the stupid ads.Others I don't use enough to pay for.
      I think it is more of a cultural thing. People on the iPhone/iPod are used to paying for stuff in iTunes. The rest of us want free because well free is free.
      What I want to know is what apps are missing?
      Not counting games I do not really see any big gaps in the app store for Android.
      Facebook check
      Twitter check
      Pandora check
      TuneIn Radio check
      Last.FM check
      email check
      Gmail check
      All sorts of compass and GPS apps check.
      Evernote Check
      Drop Box check.

      So what does iPhone have that Android doesn't? Now some of the special apps like the one for OnStar and such are missing but that would take the providers allowing the app.
      Maybe Google is going to offer to write them for big companies.

      • by Tharsman (1364603)

        Well, Apps I can't live without on my iPhone, there is the American Express app, that I think is not available for Android, I'd have to put up with their mobile web site.

        I can't live without my dear Netflix.

        There is Air Video, an app that allows me to stream video over the internet from my computer. There may be similar alternatives for the Android. I know for one there is ZumoCast, not out yet but it was just purchased by Motorola and likely will go either Android only or at least make it into the Andr

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          American express app is available for android.

          "PBS, ABC Player, ABC News, TED Mobile, CNN app and the NPR app are some I may live without but really rather not. Not sure if any of these are available for the Android."
          I am pretty sure those are all available. I know CNN and NPR are as well as CBS, CNET, and I think NPR is as well.

          But notice that with the exclusion of the 8mm Vintage Camera app off of these are tied to a specific vendor. You or I couldn't just write it ourself.
          But from your list the gap seems

    • Yes, apparently it's difficult to make money off software that doesn't get "heavily used". It's a feature.

      I don't want 500,000 apps on my phone. I want about 20, and I want them to work really, really well. This has implications for the software industry.

      • by Tharsman (1364603)

        As a consumer, I don't want apps I must use a lot, I want apps I can use quick and get results out off. One example is a weather app I purchased called Weather Alert USA. I don't ever open it, but it will give me a system notification if there is a weather alert for my area (or any area I tell it to alert me about.) Such an app would never be able to survive based on ads.

        For me, "heavily used", is only a feature in video games and media players, and those to don't really click with games, at least not for

        • That's a weekend hack of some public data calls + the GPS lookup. Why can't I have that as a feature of an app called "Weather"? I want heroic, high quality apps that are light and fast and mostly don't suck. And I'd pay for them. But instead I have features federated around to a dozen weather apps, very few reliable brands of mobile apps, and devs wondering why they can't seem to make money selling 1/12th of a software solution anonymously.

  • filter crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:29PM (#35060564)

    How about they make they audit the existing apps and get rid of the crap.

    • Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

      by TimothyDavis (1124707)
      I really haven't had much use for the Android marketplace, but I did decide I wanted to check out what Angry Birds was all about. Going into the marketplace and searching for "Angry Birds" returned an absolute mess of results. As a user, I shouldn't have to weed through all of the crap to find a well-known application, especially since Google is first and foremost a search engine company.
  • by kellyb9 (954229) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:30PM (#35060582)
    Most of the applications that I want already exist. There are a few specialized apps that I may need to wait around for from various service providers (Comcast is one of them), but I don't necessarily think its a great idea to close the gap via spamming the app store.
    • Just because you have everything you want, doesn't mean that there won't be some killer app that you never thought of that will come along later. Also it doesn't mean that someone else doesn't want or need apps that don't exist on Android. Sure there is a lot of App store spam for iOS, but there are also tons of gems.

      Getting people involved and excited in development is a good thing for developers and consumers. You get more competition with iOS in both perception and reality, and competition within the

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Agreed, the Android store doesn't need greater quantity, it needs more polished *quality* apps. Overall I've found that IOS apps seem to be more polished than functionally equivalent Android apps. There are 30,000 apps in the Android app store, which makes it unwieldy already - how many fart apps does the market really need? How about a good web interface into the app store that I can browse from my desktop. Just because I own an Android phone doesn't mean that I want to use it for everything - I'd much ra

  • by initdeep (1073290) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:30PM (#35060584)

    because that is really whats missing from the android app store. all those "awesome"iOS apps that a single developer makes 30 copies of and spams the market with.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I don't need an app to make fart noises; I have a 10-year old child for that!
    • by gmack (197796)

      What's missing are apps that aren't wrappers for Google apps that 200 different "programmers" throw together. I often find myself wishing that so many Android apps weren't cloud based since there is nothing more annoying than being underground and discovering my Spanish/English dictionary doesn't work now because I happen to be in a cell dead zone when I need to look something up.

      • I often find myself wishing that so many Android apps weren't cloud based

        Blame Google, which by and large doesn't (officially) let Archos tablets or other devices without 3G data onto its Market. If there were more Wi-Fi-only device owners buying apps, developers would have more of an incentive to make apps that work offline.

    • Yes, let's not forgot all those puzzle games on the Android market either. And here is a great game that just in...."Guess My Ass". WOW what a game! A must buy!!

      Look...I have a Droid X and I have an iPad...Both are great devices. BUT...the iOS App store is lightyears ahead of the Android Market. The App exposer is absolute horrible on the Android market...Honestly it fucking sucks! Half the good shit is completely buried between garbage apps and ad all over your screen apps. I actually hate it..I've only pu

  • Left alone, Google risks devs doing synergistic comparison studies and choosing iOS. However, if a big source of funding really amps up some quality apps, Android could kick into a new phase.

    However, once again the wording of the topic seems a little odd. Why shouldn't the maker of a platform ... pay for some devs to write for it!? Isn't that covered in 80's biz school textbooks?

  • Because I'm unaware I'll honestly ask...

    What *kind* of app is available on iOS that isn't available on Android? Games? I see plenty available for Android, maybe not the same ones, but they're available. Same goes for pretty much any other type of app.

    • by bberens (965711) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:46PM (#35060788)
      I have yet to find an app for Android that converts my Android phone to an iPhone 4, which is really the only app anyone could ever want. :P
      • by green1 (322787)

        I suppose someone could come up with an app that stops you from loading other apps not approved by some arbitrary third party if you want... it could be built to disable the micro-sd slot too... most of the other features available on Android that the iPhone can't do could probably be disabled by an app... Not sure how to get an app to weld the battery compartment shut though... and you'd have to pay about $200-$300 for the app to get the price point about right... That should be close to an Android -> i

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Netflix? Hulu Plus?

      As far as I can see, American Express has not made an Android version of their app.

      PBS, ABC Player, ABC News, TED Mobile, CNN app and the NPR app are some I am not sure about, but you can check the android store and let me know if any is there.

      As for games, sorry but there are a LOT of games for the iOS that are not available for Android and very few the other way arround. Most of the Android games that are not available for the iOS tend to be copycats of popular iOS games. But lets ta

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:38PM (#35060708) Homepage
    Android is the #1 shipping smartphone platform, a completely open system, with free, publicly available tools. You can do it under Windows or Linux (the later, being also free) - on cheap, commodity PCs you can buy from any vendor.

    So maybe we should ask the question of exactly why it is lagging in the app department. Apple never ran out and hired a billion people to write apps - yet they have more.

    Is it the language? (C-Like vs. Java)? The "sleekness" and appeal of the OS itself? The mere fact that it's been on the market longer?

    I, for one, am an open-source fanatic. I work as a Linux/kernel development engineer, and think Apple is evil.

    I also own an iPhone, and write iPhone apps in my spare time. Why? Personally for me, the phone and the OS are beautiful and elegant. I love the platform, and the outcome of my work - and it's easy too to make money with one appstore to have to sell it on (even if the Apple bastards take 30%).

    I find Android slow, clunky, and Java-based SDK's (like Eclipse and the Blackberry dev environment) to be the same - where XCode is smoothe and elegant - even if I did have to go buy a Mac in order to develop for it!

    So that's the reason why I develop for iPhone. My point though is the following: Answer the question for a majority of iPhone developers, and you'll discover the remedy to the problem - don't just think that hiring a hundred - or a thousand Android app developers will fix the gap!

    • by Microlith (54737)

      I, for one, am an open-source fanatic. I work as a Linux/kernel development engineer, and think Apple is evil.

      I also own an iPhone, and write iPhone apps in my spare time.

      The irony and hypocrisy here is thick.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bradgoodman (964302)
        Yes, that's the point. The iOS platform is SO nice, that it beats out any of the "intellectual" Android arguments about being "Open" or "Free" - or even it having a larger marketshare. I'm not going to have to walk around with a clunky, crappy, inferior smartphone in my pocket just because of "principals".
        • by Microlith (54737)

          I'm not going to have to walk around with a clunky, crappy, inferior smartphone in my pocket just because of "principals".

          So either:
          - You have no principles or
          - Your principles mean nothing, being that they're as solid as wet toilet paper

          Not that I'm necessarily talking about Android, I use an N900. But of course, so long as Apple can keep people discarding "principles" instead of sticking with them and pushing for "less evil" solutions, they win.

          I still won't touch them, so long as they continue to dictate

          • by alvinrod (889928)
            On the other side of the coin, so long as Apple's competitors keep discarding experience instead of building better products, Apple keeps winning. Apple might drive themselves forward in some ways, but I don't think that they'd be as far as they are today if Google wasn't putting a lot of pressure on them. Outside of WebOS (Which didn't do so hot the first time around.) and Windows Phone 7 (Which isn't doing so hot right now.) the only competition Apple has had in the last several years has been from Google
          • Look, if Apple were impregnating Nuns and using cartilage from their forcefully aborted fetuses to make the cases of the iPhone, yea - I would have an ethical problem with that.

            I would much rather work on an open-source-based platform - as would most people, I believe. I would rather work on a "free" platform, as would most people, I believe. I would rather work on whatever hardware I wanted to, as would most people. I would rather not pay Apple $100 a year to develop on their platform.

            However - even

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          It's written "principles", and if you're not willing to stick to them, you don't really have them.

          The whole point of morality is overriding practical issues. If stealing goes against your morality, then you don't even when you could use the money and have something to steal within easy reach.

          So you should pick one: either you don't really think Apple is evil, or you shouldn't buy their products.

          • Hitler was Evil. Apple is just a company who I wish had more developer-friendly policies.
            • by vadim_t (324782)

              And what is that wish good for? Why would they care about what you want if you're going to buy their stuff anyway?

      • by n2art2 (945661)
        Yes, but so is the honesty.
    • So maybe we should ask the question of exactly why it is lagging in the app department. Apple never ran out and hired a billion people to write apps - yet they have more.

      The most likely explanation as to why there are more Iphone apps is because the Iphone has been around longer. This creates a vicious circle that Google is trying to break. There are more apps for the Iphone, so more people who want apps buy the Iphone, so more developers develop for the Iphone. Google is basically hiring developers to overcome the advantage in number of apps that the Iphone has as a result of it being on the market sooner.

    • by joshki (152061)
      It's all in the SDK and the polish that Apple offers and Google doesn't. Android's GUI development tools and stock widgets are absolutely horrid. I'll stick with Android anyway, on the off chance Google will ever get around to fixing it. That's where they need to put their money -- not in developing more apps. Make the platform inviting to develop for, and the developers will come.
    • Apple never ran out and hired a billion people to write apps - yet they have more.

      Sure, it wasn't Apple directly, they were definitely involved: http://techcrunch.com/2008/03/06/kleiner-perkins-anounces-100-millioin-ifund-for-iphone-applications/ [techcrunch.com]

      That said, I do agree that Google needs to step up to the plate and curate their Market, if only to prevent Amazon from stealing all the thunder with their own appstore.

    • by Threni (635302)

      > even if the Apple bastards take 30%

      Google takes 30% too.

    • by greymond (539980)

      I think things are evil if I find them attractive, easy to work with and provide me with enjoyment too.

      OMG Women are iPhone!

    • by Doomdark (136619)
      I find Android slow, clunky, and Java-based SDK's (like Eclipse and the Blackberry dev environment) to be the same - where XCode is smoothe and elegant

      Really? I have not used XCode heavily, but from my colleagues who have, they all swear XCode is biggest pile of crap they have ever used. I am pretty ok with Eclipse in general, but Android plug-in has always been shaky whenever I have had to use it (to help others work around issue Android platform causes with normally well functioning java libs). So I ca

  • I don't buy it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Qwavel (733416) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:41PM (#35060736)

    With app stores having hundreds of thousands of apps, and with Google already having tons of loyal and enthusiastic developers, it seems unlikely that they would now decide to start hiring developers to write miscellaneous apps for their app store.

    They know that the best way to get good apps into their store is to attract developers with a great platform, good sales figures, good dev tools, a good app store, etc. They are well aware of their weaknesses, including some aspects of their app store and platform fragmentation, and they are working on these issues.

    These new app developers that they are hiring are probably going to work on some of the Google specific apps that needs (lots of) work. For example, their finance app still only supports U.S. exchanges (how do you think the rest of the world feels about that), and their Listen app has all sorts of problems and hasn't been updated in a long time. These Google apps have suffered as resources have been shifted to the core platform; now Google needs app developers to bring their own apps up to speed.

  • by MindCrusher (1249502) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:42PM (#35060740)
    Maybe they would have more apps if the App Market place would work all over the word. Paid apps don't work in some European countries because there is no unified payment system like with Apple's App store. Although the Android user base might be larger than that of iOS Apple still has more paying customers. Google needs to see that the Market needs a serious boost in functionality. If revenue will increase developers will come.
    • Fortunately, hosted on google code you can find "Market Enabler" which allows you to purchase from any regional market you like.

      But I'm curious, what do you mean "no unified payment system"? Google Checkout is a pleasure to use compared to any other online payment method I've had the misfortune of using.

      • by EvilIdler (21087)

        I don't think BUYING is the problem.

        The Android marketplace is supposed to be available for use as a merchant in a selection of countries, including mine. But that needs a Google Checkout account. I just went to sign up for that (again), and it still gives me a choice of "United Kingdom" or "United States". Not sure what's up with that, but it seems like they still don't allow most of the world to sell on their marketplace.

    • by Necroman (61604)

      Agreed, this has been one of my bigger complaints about Android. There is no unified payment system. But it looks like Google wants to fix this [forbes.com].

      For those too lazy to read, Google plans to....
      * Add in-app purchases Q1 2011.
      * Add Carrier Billing - app purchases charged to your cell phone bill.
      * Expand the app validation team.

      Carrier billing may help with the unified payment system, but I'm not sure it's ideal. As long as it is dead simple to setup (or setup by default), it should help android get more app

  • they do it in a more clueful way. There are Android apps (like email and phone), which are open source and come as part of Android, then there are Google branded apps (like Gmail and Maps), which are closed source and come from Google. I think I've gotten the examples right - even Google can't keep straight which are which. There's a bug reporter for Android apps, but not for Google apps. People were putting bug reports for "branded" apps on the Android apps bug reporter, and it took the Android team over
  • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:49PM (#35060816) Journal

    Not that I have an issue with hot babes, but there are a ton of pseudo-porn apps in the android market. Sometimes many by the same developer. If they want to raise their profile by catching up in quantity and quality, they should set some standards and use the rating system to remove some of the junk that's come to litter the market.

    Over the weekend, I attempted two different "Lemmings" apps which were both garbage - all the reviews said they were garbage and I left my own saying the same thing. When an app gets nothing but negative reviews, it should go.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      That is the downside to a more open app store. Trust me there are trash apps on iPhone as well.

    • ver the weekend, I attempted two different "Lemmings" apps which were both garbage - all the reviews said they were garbage and I left my own saying the same thing. When an app gets nothing but negative reviews, it should go.

      As long as people continue to download them (and pay for them) in spite of negative reviews, they're unlikely to get removed - they're making money for both google and the developer.

    • Over the weekend, I attempted two different "Lemmings" apps ..... all the reviews said they were garbage...

      Then why did you download them?

      If google starts pulling peoples apps because they have bad reviews... well, that's just going to piss off devs to spent time on their apps. If they write a bad app and get bad reviews, maybe they'll try harder and write something better.

      As a consumer, I just check the reviews. If they're bad, I don't bother. If I search for something and nothing is available with good reviews, I'll basically chock it up to Android's lower app count and not bother wasting my time with bad apps

    • by green1 (322787)

      If all the reviews said they were garbage... why were you surprised when you found out they were garbage?

      The reviews are there for a reason, they let you know what people think of an app. If nobody likes it, there's usually a reason.

  • by DLG (14172) on Monday January 31, 2011 @05:50PM (#35060828)

    A while back it was considered one of Microsoft's evil ways, that they sold an OS and the leading apps on it. It was considered an unfair advantage because they had access to api's and the OS writing team, with a greater level of access than other companies.

    In the same way, people get frustrated that Apple has prevented other developers to publish certain apps that are similar to Apple ones. This has changed over time but at least for a while it was a key argument.

    Now, Google is going to start competing against the app marketplace in a larger way.

    Beyond just an admission that there is a lack of quality apps for Android, or that the economy of apps on Android is not yet mature enough to draw the larger scale development that has begun to focus on Apple (especially with games but also with productivity tools), this is now an 800 lb Gorilla. Can you write your killer app before Google does it and gives it away?

    How long before Google starts buying small developers who develop cool multiplatform apps and then squelch their development on Apple?

  • Let Google spruce up the Android market, that is still half baked [appleinsider.com] compared to the iOS app store, which remains the 'gold standard'.

  • Mod parent up.

    I've been using Android since the beginning (ok, maybe a month after the beginning) and I have YET to buy an app.

    I'm cheap, I pay a lot for service, and most of the paid apps I've seen are pus. A few are cool, it happens I don't need or want them.

    It is not yet worth $1.99 to me to suppress ads, and I've seen one app (just one of thousands, yes) that promised no ads and just moved them to other screens.

    I've also lost download history, and really don't trust the Market to remember me through eve

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Monday January 31, 2011 @06:06PM (#35060984) Journal

    Indeed there are some gaps.
    Very very long story short, I've recently gone back to my iphone 4 from an Android device. Although the apps were not my primary reason for doing so, I will say I did have some difficulty finding some apps which suited my needs.

    Primarily and most importantly for myself, I'm a tightass - infact a lot of nerds are. So I want a free app which will cover my needs. Oddly enough the iphone has several free RDP applications which work quite well, I use one of these at least 2 or 3 times a week and absoloutely need it.
    On Android I can not for the life of me find an RDP application which supports multiple entries and lets me save them. The restrictions to the free versions are all too tight.
    I don't mind ads on my phone, I don't care if there's a box as I open the app or even if I'm forced to see a static ad image for 1 or 2 seconds before the app opens, I just want a free and good RDP app. No such luck.

    Also, the media playback tools are frankly, ugly rubbish. It's such a giant shame as I have a 4.3" Android phone and I prefer it to the iphone 4 picture (yep, size matters) - the resolution is still good enough on the 4.3" screen (double the iphone 3GS pixel densite) it's just the media tools pale in comparison to apple.
    I suppose I should've done some research, infact yes I should have but I blindly went in and had this crazy idea that without these idiot apple restrictions, I'd have this amazingly powerful device to play media back with.
    I want to be able to copy an divx / avi file (example an episode of top gear) on to the device and just plain play the thing. You know what else? I'd like to be able to play it over my SMB network if I'm at home, I have wireless, why can't I do that?
    The file structure for media is ugly and gross, the device itself needs to follow a standard.
    Movies should be placed in X location and _!ALL!_ Android applications should check that location (only) as default for media, period. - you should be able to add more folders in the Android OS - not per application. A nice standard so that when you try a new media player, they all know where your 'library' is and can display the data clearly and simply.
    There is something similar to this in the system but it's hamfisted and messy. Many applications just ask you to navigate and browse the phone. I love that I can do that, I am still a nerd but I'm an aging nerd, I would like it simple and logical.
    Furthermore the codec support, admitedly not googles fault, I know but god damnit I had to convert stupid files on the iphone with itunes and sync via a cable (gross!) but with Android it's not much better. I want to just play back my media, the device needs more codec support (apparently the Galaxy S has licensed quite a few codecs and is better - but we need consistency across the damned platform)
    I could elaborate further on the media stuff and be quite specific but I'd be here for ages, I'm sure the point is clear- this is currently..'clumsy' and needs to be cleaned up, simplified and improved. This beautiful little thing has so much potential and falls short.

    Podcast solutions:
    If you used itunes, besides the horrible sync with PC aspect of it and the nasty UI of itunes, it does 'just work' and the podcast playback tool is leaps and bounds superior.
    The consistency in the UI for a start is helpful. The rewind 30 second button? genius, the fact I get to see the podcast description and the podcast 'banner' or graphic? great. (I tried several on the android, like RDP solutions, nothing quite fit my needs right)
    I do love my Android device but oddly enough it's more the concept of what it could be and the hardware I love most more than anything.
    My iphone 4 has superior battery life, more reliable (at least in regards to market application upgrade and installs) it has a better UI for media playback it just falls short in the fact the screen is stupid small, it's locked down and apples ridiculous design choice of one button holds it back (4 or 5 dedicated butt

  • by hsmith (818216) on Monday January 31, 2011 @06:09PM (#35061008)
    I have a popular App out there on the iPhone App Store and I have been toying around with porting it to Android. There are several factors into me not getting fully behind the effort yet (mainly there are only 24 hours in a day) - but if Google would in$entivize me to port the App, I'd be all over it. But so far the drive just isn't there.

    I'll get around to it, but more on my schedule. I would imagine if they came out with an incentive program to port the popular and well done Apps, many would jump on it. Hell, even a free Nexus S and I'd be over it.

    I am not saying Android is any better or worse than the iPhone, just many don't have the time to maintain multiple code bases.
  • The app market is full of shit unlike Apple's app store. It's harder to find the good stuff and it's easy to get burn by crap. It's full of test apps people made from tutorials, dozens of samey things like fart apps and broken rubbish. They need to find a way a way to replicate Apples filtering without resulting in censorship. This shouldn't be hard for the world's search giant.

    Apple has got it right more than anyone else and Google still has a lot of learning to do.
    • by Daetrin (576516)
      I assure you that with hundreds of thousands of apps, Apple has just as many crap apps as Google. In fact they most likely have far _more_ crap apps than Google. The problem is that Apple does a better job of letting you find the good ones and avoid the bad ones. Perhaps that's what you meant, but if so you should have said that you _see_ a lot of shit in Google's App Store, unlike Apple's App Store.
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Monday January 31, 2011 @06:19PM (#35061118)
    From what i understand, the Apple App Store does a pretty good job of promoting the good apps and making it easy to find what you're looking for. The Android App Store on the other hand is a total mess. The promotion system is so-so, the categories are rather broad, and the actual search system is very primitive. If you don't know the exact name of the app you're looking for to use as a search term it can be very hit or miss.

    So perhaps what Google needs is better organization and searching for the App Store, rather than new and better apps. Perhaps they could hire some kind of company that specializes in search engines to improve their app store for them?
  • by Assmasher (456699) on Monday January 31, 2011 @06:23PM (#35061144) Journal

    ...a la the PS3 and XBox 360 development houses...?

  • As disgruntled Android 2.2 user from a Nokia/BlackBerry/etc. background I say fix the core Android apps (calendar, notes, messaging, etc., etc.) as these SUCK big time as even the most basic versions of these are way better on non-smart-phones even! Now that's saying something about how poor they are! Get the basics right then start worrying about more apps. Quality before quantity.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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