Since the last one year or so, Google has been working hard to improve the Android Market. The company launched a web version of the market, with OTA installation support, along with a new revamped version of the market.
Google also added operator billing support in many countries, and with today’s announcement they are bringing carrier billing to additional carriers in South Korea, the UK and Germany. Currently, Android users in U.S can enjoy operator billing on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint networks, while Android users in Japan can use the carrier billing option on SoftBank, KDDI, and NTT DoCoMo networks.
Android users in South Korea can now enjoy carrier billings on two of the most popular networks, SK Telecom and KT Corporation. Android users in Europe can enjoy carrier billing on Vodafone UK and Vodafone DE. Initially, the service would be available only for Vodafone branded Android users in Europe.
Hopefully, Google will keep on adding carrier billing support in more countries especially in India, and other emerging countries, where not everyone owns a Credit Card.
Most of the Android smartphone users, does not like the official Facebook app for Android due to a number of reasons. The guys at Facebook are working hard and trying their best to make the application more useful. Facebook for Android does not allow us to tag friends and places in posts, but the latest update of Facebook for Android completely solves this problem. It also comes with a new design for profile and group walls, improved photo browsing and sharing, improved messages and notifications, etc. Check out the complete changelog, after the break.
Made it easier to share with who you want
Improved the sharing tool to add privacy controls on posts and match your settings on the web site
Added the ability to tag friends and places in posts
Added new design for Profile and Group Walls
Improved photo browsing with swiping
Added the ability to tag your friends in photos
Improved Messages and Notifications
Fixed a number of crashes and performance issues
The Facebook for Android app is available for free on the Android Market. You will get a notification to update this app. If you don’t get an notification, then just head over to Android Market from your handset, go to My Apps and update all the apps. To download the Foursquare for Android app from web version of Android Market, head over to this page.
Google recently started rolling out a new Android Market app with an over-hauled UI. While most people are still waiting for the new Market to be pushed to their phone, the smart ones already downloaded the APK from the Internet and installed it on their phone.
Now, Google has rolled out a minor update to the Android Market (v3.1.3) app, which includes two new features. First and foremost, the update brings some sort of integration with Google Plus, by including a +1 button in every apps page. Secondly, the update also brings a much needed and requested option to PIN lock new Android Market purchases. Other than that, the new update also shows when an app was last update, along with its download size.
The folks over at Droid-Life have already got their hands on the APK. I highly recommend Android handset owners to go ahead and download and install the APK from there. Otherwise, they will have to wait for quite a few weeks and maybe months for the OTA update to be hit their phone.
iOS and Android are the two most lucrative platforms for mobile application developers to work on. The Apple App Store has made many millionaires, and Android Market has seen its fair share of success too. While most iPhone developers make a majority of their earnings primarily by selling paid apps, most Android developers do so by running ads in their free apps.
Apple recently reported that it had paid out $2.5 billion to its developers. While there has been a lot of criticism about the App Store, regarding curation and its “closed” nature, there has never been any complaint about payments from the iOS developer community.
Apple has been straightforward and transparent with its developers and has also provided them with adequate support regarding payments. This is one reason why developers have been flocking to the iOS platform.
Today, a report by The Register revealed that some Android developers are facing problems with their payments and aren’t getting all the money that they should, because of some error with the way in which web based app sales are logged.
The payout doesn’t match the list of charged orders for many developers, with one claiming that Google is paying him for only half of all orders. This issue had surfaced before, but it doesn’t seem like it was resolved then.
What seems to have aggravated the problem is that the Android Market team refuses to address the developers’ queries. Some developers are also planning to join forces and take legal action against Google.
Earlier this month, Google unveiled a new version of the Android Market for the phones running on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and higher. The redesigned Android Market allows you to purchase books as well as rent movies on the go. It also brings a new collections of great content like staff picks and Editors’ Choice apps. The updated Android Market is finally rolling out in the US.
The new Android Market client comes with an improved UI, which looks quite similar to the Metro UI of Windows Phone 7. The top content from the Android Market are showcased in a new promotional page on the homescreen. The option to purchase books and rent movies is available exclusively to the folks living in the US. The books and rented movies will also be linked to your Google account, so that you can read it on multiple devices such as computer, phone or tablet.
I have been using the new Android Market from the last 15 days and I personally liked it. The apps are perfectly organised and you can easily find related apps as well as other apps from the developer in the new Android Market. It allows you to check out what other people are downloading in the Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free and Trending lists. If you have already updated the new Android Market client, then let us know if you liked it or still prefer the previous one.
Google has been slowly rolling out a significant update to the Android Market, which features better app discovery, and introduces new eBook and movie stores. Apart from major updates, Google also pushes out behind-the-scenes tweaks from time to time. One such change, which was made on July 1, has several developers up in arms.
Google seems to have tweaked the algorithm powering the search functionality on the Android Market. As a result of this change, many highly rated popular apps, which had previously occupied the top positions in the search results page, have now been superseded by irrelevant low-quality poorly rated apps. Some app developers are complaining that even typing the exact name of the application isn’t returning the expected result. Interestingly enough, the web version of the Market doesn’t seem to be affected by this bug. It’s only the search functionality on the Market app for devices that is affected.
Naturally, developers, some of whom have experienced up to 80% dip in revenues, are furious. As spotted by The Register, many of these developers have taken to the official Android forums to voice their frustration and annoyance. Google is aware of the problem, and has promised to investigate.
Nokia, which recently posted very disappointing quarterly results, finally has some good news. The Ovi Store, Nokia’s application store, just hit a major milestone – it now has more than 50,000 apps.
MobileBusinessBriefing reports that there are now more than 50,000 apps available in the Ovi Store. Nearly 6.5 million apps are now downloaded from the Ovi store every day.
While the numbers are very encouraging, they are still much lower than the Apple App Store and the Android Market. The App Store has over 425,000 apps, and the Android Market has more than 250,000 apps. The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace currently offers close to 27,000 apps.
Both Apple and Android have overtaken Nokia in terms of smartphone sales, but Nokia still has a very large installed user base around the world, around 225 million users. It recently released devices powered by the new Symbian Anna OS, but will be shifting its focus to a new platform – Windows Phone 7 – soon.
Nokia will also be launching the Nokia N9, a MeeGo based device soon. It also restated its vision for QT based apps, which will run on both platforms – Symbian and MeeGo. Unfortunately, QT based apps wouldn’t run on Windows Phone 7 devices, which means developers will have to choose between the two options.
Fruit Ninja from HalfBrick Studios was among the first iOS games to be available for Android. The game is among the top 5 best sellers in the Android Market, and costs $1.99.
Now, looking at its popularity, HalfBrick Studios has released a free version of Fruit Ninja, with ad-support. This move from HalfBrick, and Rovio’s decision to release Angry Birds for free on the Android Market, clearly shows that free apps with ad-support generate more revenue that their paid counterparts for developers. The free version of Fruit Ninja can be downloaded from here.
In other gaming related news, another popular game for iOS Falling Fred has hit the Android Market. The game has quiet a high amount of violence and gore, so weak hearted people should stay away. In this game, users need to dodge the falling Fred from obstacles, and try to keep him alive.
The game has a simple plot, yet it’s highly addictive. The graphics of the game are top-notch as well. The game is available for free on the Android Market. However, there are many more characters in the game, which users need to purchase via the in-app purchase option.
Falling Fred requires Android 2.2+ to work. The game can be downloaded from here.
Earlier today, Google completely revamped the Android Market, and added movie rentals and an eBook store. Unfortunately, the movie and book stores are currently limited to the United States. However, that’s not the only limitation that Google has put in place. Google is also blocking movie rentals from working on all rooted devices.
As you might expect, this has quite a few developers and users up in arms. One of the biggest selling points of Android is its openness. Of course, Google has shown time and again that it is willing to sacrifice the openness of Android to suit its requirements. However, as far as I can recall, Google has never gone so far as to actively discourage users from rooting their devices.
FranÃ§ois Simond, the creator of the extremely popular Voodoo Control Plus application for Samsung devices, voiced his frustration in the official Android forums.
I’m the author of the application on market Voodoo Control Plus, that improve sound and image quality on devices like Google Nexus S and many other phones and tablets. This application, like many useful ones requires root in order to provide its additional features. I’m just learning that Google finally decided to blacklist rooted device for their mainstream Google movie on Android market, preventing users to watch the videos they buy or rent. As many users and developers, I find this restriction unacceptable, restricting users freedom despite Android is supposed to be an open platform. What is really absurd in this blacklisting is that it’s by design ineffective, for several reasons: – No reliable “root” or “Superuser” detection can ever be completed – Because of the ease to modify device Linux kernels, any kind of protection system trying to prevent file copying is ineffective. If you don’t trust me, I’m sure a few hackers like me will take upon the challenge and prove this “protection” is defective by design in just a few hours. If this is the solution to the Movie companies security requirement, Google using this technique lie to their business partners. Google, this move is damageable for everyone. You made a mistake, that’s okay. Now please fix it.
As correctly predicted by Simond, within hours of the release of the new Android Market, hackers managed to work around Google’s blockade. TeamAndIRC has published a video demonstrating Google movie rentals running on a modified version of Cyanogen 7. Although a proper patch or a crack is yet to be released, from what I understand, TeamAndIRC already has a workable solution.
The technique being used by Google to detect rooted devices is extremely weak, and it’s not surprising that hackers managed to bypass it almost instantly. However, even if they employ a more complicated logic, it will still be bypassed. Blocking rooted handsets cannot be a proper substitute for a proper DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme. What Google is doing right now is pointless and stupid. It is irritating Android users, highlighting Google’s irreverence towards the openness’ mantra that it loves to chant whenever convenient, and is utterly useless in preventing actual misuse.
Google recently unveiled a new version of the Android Market which allows you to purchase books as well as rent movies on the go. The new version of Android Market will be available only on the phones running Android 2.2 (Froyo) and higher. The new revamped Android Market make it easier, faster and more fun to discover great apps, movies and books. Google have also introduced new collections of great content like staff picks and Editors’ Choice apps.
Android smartphone users in the US, will be able to rent thousands of movies, right from the Android Market. The new Videos app allows you to rent movies from the Android Market starting at $1.99. The rented movie will be linked to your Google account, so that you can view it in multiple devices such as computer, phone or tablet. You can even download movies to your smartphone and watch it even if you don’t have an internet connection. This is feature is quite useful while you are travelling and don’t have an active internet connection.
In the US, you can also purchase books from the Android Market. The books will also be linked to your Google account, so that you can read it on multiple devices. The new Android Market client comes with an improved UI and it allows you to quickly download or purchase your favorite apps. The home screen showcases a new promotional page that highlights top content from the Android Market.
It also lets you to check out what other people are downloading in the Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free, and Trending lists. Google will roll out the new Android Market in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher smartphones. Check out the demo video below.