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What’s Up, Android?

January 6, 2010

I’ll preface by saying that I look at Android from a developers perspective, having done programming on the platform for a while.

For Android-based phones to be “successful” in the sense that Apple is successful(with its own micro-economy) three conditions need to be met: Widespread Consumer Adoption, Accessible Idea-To-Market Pathway for developers, and a Marketplace where consumers and developers can react to each other.

Widespread Adoption will be met by continuing the stream of high-quality offerings such as the Droid and Nexus One.
The Accessible Pathway criterion has been met in that any kid with a computer can download the SDK and come up with market-ready products.

The main problem Google faces is with the core features of its Market.
1)Consumers from many countries who bought phones cannot even buy apps from the Market, leading to piracy.
2)Developers don’t have access to the new SDK before it is released, so the only way to see if an app works on the new device is by counting the influx of 1-star comments.
3)Consumers cannot easily search for apps they want because “junk” developers flood the Market with icon-links
4)Developers using Dev Phones can’t legally purchase and download apps to the phone, meaning a developer needs two phones if they want both a)develop apps and b)use other apps.

The worst problem of all is that Google refuses to reassure developers about any of this. Place a technical question in the Android Developer group about programming and a Google Employee is likely to respond in a day or so. Place a question in the Market group, such as why someone using a Motorola Milestone in the UK can’t purchase my app, and no response is to be had for weeks, if ever.

I constantly ask myself, “After 6 months of market research, technical development, and testing on the Android Platform, do I feel confident that my hard work will result in some reasonable stream of revenue?”

Before Google gets it’s “3 billion-downloads-and-counting” title, Google has to change our answer to the question.

This post on the official market group by another user sums the major concerns up:

Hello world!

January 6, 2010

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