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January 06, 2011

Google Android Market: Are Its Failings Hurting Android?

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

"The bigger Android grows, the more absurd the failings of Google's (News - Alert) Android Market become." 

That charge is courtesy of industry observer Jason Ankeny, who quickly adds hey, "to be fair, the virtual storefront made significant strides during the latter half of 2010."

Those strides include the fact that Google expanded paid app sales options to developers in 20 new international territories and extended app purchases to 18 additional countries, meaning "consumers across 32 nations worldwide may now download premium games, navigation solutions, productivity tools and the like." 

From there, Ankeny says, Google introduced Recent Changes, "giving developers greater flexibility to alert consumers of application updates and enhancements, soon followed by YouTube (News - Alert)-hosted promotional videos as well as improved promotional graphics; perhaps most notably, in December the digital services giant unveiled a streamlined browse-to-purchase experience, added content ratings and slashed consumers' download refund window from 24 hours to 15 minutes."

But as Ankeny points out, "the elephant in the room -- the absence of a simple, user-friendly app billing protocol -- remains." Expect Google to resolve the problem sooner rather than later, though, he says, "likely in advance of the release of Android 3.0, expected sometime in the first quarter."

In December TMC's (News - Alert) Susan J. Campbell wrotethat Android AT&T (News - Alert) customers "used to have to pull out a credit card and type in the entire sequence of numbers each and every time they wanted to purchase an app. Customers hoped there was a better way, but no one had introduced anything better – until now. Google has finally introduced an AT&T Direct Carrier Billing option specifically for these customers."

As Campbell explains, "this new billing process was explained in a post on the Android Developers Blog, which highlighted that AT&T Android (News - Alert) users can now easily charge their Android Market purchases to their monthly accounts with just a few clicks. Users will notice a significantly easier way to discover and purchase applications of their choice. This easier method is the result of a combination of Android Market’s new app discovery features and a carrier-backed frictionless payment method."

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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