Are you interested in developing applications for the Android mobile platform? Chances are you will want to publish them to the Android Market so the millions of Android users can download them. Getting an app live on the Market might be easier than you would expect. The simple process involves 3 steps: register, upload, and publish.
Before you begin, the first step is registering a developer account with Google. Visit the Developer Signup page where you will create a profile, pay a one time $25 fee, and agree to the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement. I highly suggest reading the distribution agreement seeing as it fits on 6 printed pages. The registration fee is handled with Google Checkout.
Once your account has been approved, it is time to upload your first application. From the Developer Console home screen, simply click Upload Application. As the file is uploaded, it is scanned to make sure it is properly signed. If there are any issues, a detailed error message will be displayed. After the file has successfully uploaded, it is time to create the directory listing and publishing options.
The options available when uploading an application include:
- Description – Only 325 max characters
- Application Type – Applications or games
- Category – Communication, Entertainment, Tools, etc.
- Price – Free or paid
- Copy Protection – On or off
- Locations – Countries the app is published in
- Contact Information
Once all the information is entered it is time to move to the next step. Note that any of this information can be changed at a later date. However, copy protection cannot be disabled once turned on. If you attempt to remove copy protection from your app in a future version, it could cause the app to crash for users who are upgrading.
When it comes time to publish your software, a single click will do the job. Since there is no approval process, your application will appear in the Market within minutes. The same can be said when pushing out a new update for your app. This is one of the main benefits of the Android Market vs the Apple App Store, where approval can sometimes take weeks.
Developer Console Stats
After your application has been live for a couple hours, you will begin to see stats reported in the Developer Console. These stats are not live and update periodically throughout the day. It might look pretty at first, but you will soon find there is no detail to the information provided. This is a major disappoint for users familiar with other Google services like Analytics or Adsense.
The information that is provided for each Market app includes:
- Total downloads
- Active installs
- Number of ratings
Unfortunately, you are not able to review Market comments or individual ratings. Android users might also wonder what happens to data when you uninstall an application. The uninstall survey responses are not shared with the developer.
The Android Market is extremely easy to use, but lacks the detailed information of other Google services. Anyone can publish an application and begin selling in the same day. I’ve been told over and over that the Market team is hard at work, so I would expect to see upgrades coming soon. If Google is able to provide stats that were only half as detailed as Analytics, I would be overjoyed.
If you are a developer, what changes would you like to see in the Android Market?