- G1 Live: The Android Market Is No App Store For Better And For Worse

Tricia Duryee
Tuesday, September 23, 2008; 7:00 PM

When the T-Mobile G1 launches on Oct. 22, people will be able to browse and buy applications from the phone within the Android Market. Google's ( NSDQ: GOOG) vision for this?although similar to Apple's App Store which saw tremendous success soon after launching this summer?will not be the same, for better or for worse. Of course, this is important to get absolutely right. As Google Android developer Andy Rubin explained today: the G1 is "future-proof." Because of its openness and ability to run third-party apps, it won't become obsolete, like other phones can. That is, unless they blotch the user experience on Android Market?

Here's some points on how Android Market will be the same or different as the iPhone App store:

-- No approval process: Google will have no approval process for the software, meaning it's an open content distribution system, reports Gizmodo. Currently, Apple regulates what apps can be approved for the App store. In Android Market, the process will be much more open, however, that can be a double-edge sword since there's no telling what people have created.

-- All Apps are free: Starting Oct. 22, all applications will be free, making it a very easy process. Any developer can submit an app, and there doesn't have to be a business relationship between Google and a developer. Plus, the consumer won't have to pay anything. Of course, developers who spend a lot of time on building an app may not want to provide their work for free, and there could always be some bad apps that provide a poor experience. It's not stopping mobile game publisher Namco Networks from offering PAC-MAN at no charge, even though the game usually retails for $9.99. Glu Mobile ( NSDQ: GLUU) also said it will be offering an original game called Bonsai Blast for free on Android Market.

-- Apps can run in the Background: My colleague Joe Weisenthal, who is at the New York press conference, dug up this one. He said applications like the 'carbon measurement' app, which tracks how far you've driven, couldn't work on an iPhone because it would have to be open while you were using it, whereas it can run in the background on Android.

-- Revenue Sharing: Joe also said when Android Market does allow apps to be sold, Google won't take a cut of revenues, unlike Apple ( NSDQ: AAPL). It will purely be an arrangement between the carrier and the mobile app developer. It is unknown what the revenue-share agreement will be between the carrier and a developer. This is a smart move. If applications can be sold through the carrier and appear on a phone bill, rather than being charged to a credit card, none of the parties involved will have to pay the credit card companies. It's unlikely Google won't get a take somewhere, such as advertising on its own services, or others.

-- No Web or Desktop Presence: The Android Market will have no desktop or online presence, where users can quickly look through the market to see if there's any applications they want to download. Apple also sells apps through iTunes.


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