May 11 AT 8:33 PM Justin Shapcott 16 Comments

A developer’s look at the new Android Market features announced at I/O

Today, Google’s Eric Chu announced a number of new features available now (or soon, in some cases) in the Android Market. While many of these changes come in the form of user features, I believe that their true value lies in their benefit to developers. Accordingly, I’d like to take this opportunity to look at the new features from the viewpoint of a developer.

Paid Apps for 99 More Countries

Perhaps the most important new feature to developers is the availability of paid apps to buyers in an additional 99 countries. For those keeping track, that more than quadruples the number of countries where Android users can purchase apps to 131 in total. This is huge for reasons that don’t even need explaining. The oft-cited reasoning that Android app pirating exists due to the lack of availability of these paid apps makes this an even more important enhancement, (reference: Lack of paid apps in Android Market contributes to app piracy, and Android Paid-App Shortage ‘Fuels Piracy’). And if this reasoning is valid, hopefully this new availability will curtail some, or most, of that piracy (Hey, I can dream can’t I?). Of course, there’s a flip side to this coin and that is that the corresponding announcement of additional seller countries never came. In my opinion, this is going to have to be the next hurdle Google strives to overcome.

More App Discovery

Several new ways to discover apps were also announced. The new Trending Apps list features apps that have great download velocity in the short term, giving users a way to know what apps and games are hot right now. Similarly, there are now lists showing the Top New Free and Paid Apps and Games which will put focus on freshness. You can think of this as a combination of the Top and Just In listings. This is important because previously the Top lists were all-time (or some other long-term, we’re not entirely sure) and it was very difficult for newer developers, or newer apps, to break into these lists. Of course, the previous lists aren’t going away, there will just be new lists. With these changes, it gives new developers some momentum from which to build upon.

Two additional discovery features were announced, Editor’s Choice and Top Developer badges. These will allow users to quickly find those apps and developers which are notable, but may not actually be on the other listings. From the sound of it, these will be hand-picked by Google, and will be prominently displayed, making it a huge incentive to get picked, and a huge boost to revenues when it happens.

Device-Availability, Larger Sizes, Multiple Versions & Better Stats

Among the specifically developer-centric enhancements, we find the ability to see and control which devices our apps are available to, larger app sizes of up to 4GB (the Market will host and manage the download of large assets), the ability to upload multiple versions of the app and have the market automatically deliver the appropriate version for the requesting device (a feature that has been requested several times at the Google Code Issue Tracker for Android, (reference: Issue 5501 and Issue 4851), and better statistics and reporting capabilities. With these new features, developers have a much better opportunity to provide the best experience for users, and maximize their revenue stream.

All in all, I think these are a great set of enhancements, not just for users, but developers as well. It should be a lot easier for developers to distribute, promote, and monetize their apps and games now that Google finally appears to be really working on their side.

Justin is the founder of and lead developer at nEx.Software.

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  • Aspeds2989

    I love the new market, but it’s still missing something soo basic — scrolling through app screenshots by pressing arrows! Currently you have to exit out of every screenshot by clicking specifically on the X, and then click on the next one and do that for every screenshot :-? Painful.

    • http://Website Lemon

      Or at least let us click outside the image to close it… like lightbox…

    • Clark Wimberly

      Glad to know this is driving someone else crazy.

    • Justin Shapcott

      Ha, to be honest… I’ve never actually clicked on a screenshot on the web market. Turns out it is incredibly annoying.

    • http://Website Tony

      If you watched the “Android Market for Developers” session at Google IO today, like 42 min into the video they show what the new version of Android Market looks like and they fix this issue, the images are left to right scrollable like in iOS and they’re at the very top of the app page now. Not sure if this link works but you can check it out on youtube:

      • http://Website Angie

        Do you just mean for the mobile version? I think others are referring to the desktop Market. Maybe.

    • http://Website astranger

      Really? Why do I have arrows to go to the next or previous screenshots?!?

      • http://Website angie

        You also seem to be talking about the mobile Market. I’m pretty sure the issue exists on the desktop version.

    • http://Website Chris B

      You can just swipe the been to get to the next picture. Thought everyone knew this.

      • Clark Wimberly

        One last time, we are talking about the DESKTOP WEB version of the market. How do you swipe on your desktop?

  • http://Website Dylan Andersen

    On point, my man! Great stuff from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

  • aber

    Wow….Really Android is ferry cool

  • Android Applications Development

    Soon Google is coming with many new applications which is really a good news for Android customers and gong to enhance the growth of Android customers in the market. Thanks for sharing such information!!!

  • http://Website Pablo

    One more point you are forgetting: other payment options.

    In the USA lot’s of people have credit cards, but I’m living in holland and the only way to buy apps from the market is to pay by credit card. I don’t have one, and so do many other people here. I know 10+ friends with Android devices and none of them have ever bought anything from the market. Not that they don’t want to, they just can’t and don’t want to pay 25 bucks a year for a credit card they hardly use.

    So come on google, give us paypal, carrier billing or let us attach our bank account numbers to google checkout just like paypal does. Or even cards with codes we can buy in stores or on internet and please, please allow local payment options!

  • http://Website Miguel

    This is why competition is good. I don’t think that anyone can deny that Amazon’s App’s Store has put some pressure on Google to improve the Market faster.

  • anupam

    How can I get my Application to get featured on Android Market
    It is one of the best application on market, more then 13 Million downloads on Blackberry App world