It seems that Gingerbread is bringing the Market revamp we've all been hoping for - but that doesn't mean devices running older versions of Android can't join in on the fun, too. Google has announced via the Android Developers blog that the Android Market client will be receiving an update over the next two weeks that brings several important changes, and any device running Android 1.6 and up will receive it (sorry, Cupcake users, you're out of luck).

The most notable change will be in the UI - the Home and Categories pages now each feature a carousel that scrolls through promoted apps. The goal of this is to make it easier to discover applications, which is one area where the Market falls flat in comparison to the iPhone's App Store. Two new categories have also been added: Widgets and Live Wallpapers, with additional categories to come "in the weeks ahead."

Gone are the days of tabs on app pages, as well: all of the information will be accessible in a single page, though I wouldn't say tabs are gone altogether - the Apps/Games/etc separation is still present. Information on related apps and content ratings are also now available on these pages. Application size limit is also going up to 50 MB in order to provide better support for games.

The last change will probably be slightly less welcome: the refund period has been shortened from a full 24 hours to just 15 minutes. Although they're probably right when they say that most users refund within minutes anyway, it could be frustrating if you want to really test an app before you commit to buying it.

market market 2

What does everyone think about the new refund window?

Is the new 15 minute Android Market refund fair and acceptable?

View Results

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Source: Android Developers

  • patrick

    15 min?! Jesus, that's not enough time at all. That basically only protects you from accidentally installing the wrong app.

    • Captivate

      I think the idea is that the return period wasn't to test to see if you like apps, it was there to see if they worked on your phone. And they think that it won't be necessary anymore, seeing that they have this new filtering system. Therefore, the 15 minutes is basically only there to return an app that you accidentally purchased.

  • Steve

    Yeah, fifteen minutes is a bit short. Between 3 and 12 hours would be good...

  • Brian O’Toole

    15 minutes does seem quite restrictive, there must have been a lot of developers complaining about lost revenue to warrant such a turnaround. The 24 hr grace period was one of the best things for Android from the users' perspective...

    Something like an hour would seem much more reasonable.

    • flibblesan

      I'd say that piracy was a big reason. A lot of people would often purchase an application then use Root Explorer or ADB to copy the apk file to the SD or computer, refund the app then re-install the copied APK. Hey presto free app.

      15minutes will reduce the casual piracy a lot and give enough time for people who accidentally purchased the wrong app to get a refund, or even to test the app compatibility with their device. It's better than no refund at all like another mobile OS...

      • Brian 2

        Yeah, that's probably be the motivation. But I imagine pirates can copy the APK in less than 15 minutes, so really I only see this hurting legitimate users. I'd prefer that the refund period was a few hours, with a policy that you can't refund more than X apps per month.

        FWIW I have a paid app in the market, and 5 to 10 percent of the purchases end up getting refunded. Even if every one of those is a pirate, it's not a huge concern for me.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        I don't think it had anything to do with piracy, but rather with the indecisiveness of human nature and thinking over and over whether you should refund or not. This way, you don't have time to think, and will likely run out of the refund window before you get a chance to. Statistically, it will result in fewer refunds, which is what the Android team and devs are after.

        By the way, people with slow connections who download large apps are likely screwed, because by the time they download them (like Pocket Legends, which takes ages), your window would have expired.

        Same for games or apps that require registration before using them. 15 minutes is just ridiculously short.

  • acidblade

    Fair enuff. I would finish whole game in 6 to 12 hrs. 15 min will keep less peep to abuse!

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    15 minutes sounds very extreme. Sometimes, I but something and only have time to really test it out in the evening. Ridiculous change, really. There was only 1 refund limit per app already, and that was good enough. Definitely not a fan of this.

    • Eggcake

      Same with me.
      Or keyboards for example - you have to test them for more than 15mins to decide whether you want them or not.

      I really don't like the way this is going. From 24hrs to 15minutes is just too extreme.

  • John J

    Agreed, 15 minutes is extreme. Couldn't we get at least an hour?

    Some apps, LauncherPro for example, have some many options, that it would be impossible to know if I could customize it how I wanted in just 15 minutes.

    Companies should realize by now that attempting to stop piracy only hurts legitimate users. If a pirate wants something, they'll find a way to get it, end of story.

    • flibblesan

      LauncherPro, like many other apps, have free versions which are more than suitable for testing.

      • ronaldz

        HTC-like widgets and ability to resize widgets are not available on free version, and they may not work as you like it to be even paid. I think refund window should be adjusted based on the price, $0.99 = only 15 minutes, is good enough. $9.99, 100mb to download, has 6-8 hours refund window is fair. $40, like some GPS, 1-2GB to download, has 12 hours refund window is fair. Don't forget, download on the phone is much slower than desktop. It took me nearly 2 hours to download 100mb on a crappy connection.

  • dbareis

    And there I was thinking 24 hours was way too short... I can see a lot of action occuring outside of the market with trial versions, its already happening, this will just make it more common.

    Even the single refund is stupid, one refund per version maybe, obviously Google haven't heard of bug fixes, oh yeah that's because they are not listening...

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I think a refund per version is too extreme, as some apps update often, and even ones that don't eventually still do. However, a refund once every 3 months for the same app would make a lot more sense, giving you a chance to check out whether the bugs had been fixed.

  • CodeMonkey

    Really, really bad idea.
    The market refund policy is one of the major USPs of Android.
    I've not refunded many apps, but other than widgets I can't think of one that I could have determined wasn't suitable within 15 minutes.
    With the intermittent market download issues that still exist, what happens if I purchase an app and then struggle to download it for 30 minutes, then realise it's not suitable?
    If this is introduced, I can see myself buying a lot fewer apps in the future..

  • bassplayer

    I'm sure there have been people that get a paid app, use it for whatever they needed it for and then refund it. But dropping the time to 15 minutes is pretty extreme. An hour or even 30 minutes would be enough to evaluate most apps but 15 minutes? It might take that long just to figure out how to properly use some apps!

  • http://www.anivision.org Xcom923

    It really depends on the app. Games and stuff 15min is plenty. But lets say that you are trying to deal with a program like locale 15min would not be enough for you to really test this out.

  • Crazyheaven

    This will mean less paid apps for me. I normally buy around 12 apps a month and refund around 7 of those. The 24 hour refund period made me not afraid to take risk.

    Recently I tried out a offline gps. It was no cheap. Took me around 10 hours before I gave up on trying to get the settings right so I got a refund. Second up of this type was a voice dialer. I didn't like the stock android one. I had to train my voice and get the settings working currectly. It took me 3 hours to get the app working great. 15 minutes isn't enough time for me.

    I request at least 6 hours and 12 preferred. If it doesn't happen then I will refuse to use the market to pay for apps unless they have a really good demo.

  • Scott

    While I can understand why people may be upset with 15 minutes, you need to understand why 24 hours was unacceptable.

    You go to a movie, pay $10 for a ticket, and spend 2 hours there. You're paying $5/hour for entertainment.

    You buy a game for $0.99, play it for 5 hours, and finish it. This entertainment has cost you $0.20/hour. A lot of users seem upset with games that only last them 5 hours, but it's very cheap entertainment. And worse, a lot of users would then refund the purchase, even though they've used the game to the fullest extent possible.

    Now, is 15 minutes enough? Maybe not. But 6 hours would still allow what I just outlined, which can really hurt developers.

    And you might think this doesn't actually happen, but it's not difficult to put some analytics in a game, which can show you that you have 1000 new downloads, 800 of which were refunded, and 500 of which were played for 4+ hours first.

    So I think it's very reasonable to justify reducing the refund period to less than an hour.

    However, for an app like Power AMP, 24 hours might not be enough. That's an app I would use primarily in my car, but it is also something I would use every day for as long as I have an Android device. One day wouldn't be enough time for me to make a decision with an app like this. (I realize there is a trial version, but that can be the case for any app, and isn't really relevant to the refund debate).

    Now, you can compare this to Apple's App Store, where there are no refunds. That policy seems to work fairly well. It forces more developers to release a trial version.

    A better solution might be to let the developer choose a refund period. An app like Power AMP that has an intended lifetime of "forever" could make it longer, whereas a one dollar game designed to last for four or five hours could make it 20 or 30 minutes. If you don't like the time frame the developer chose, you simply don't have to buy it.

    And my last line also applies now. If there's no trial version, and you don't want to deal with the 15 minute policy, you simply don't have to buy it.

    • flibblesan

      "And my last line also applies now. If there’s no trial version, and you don’t want to deal with the 15 minute policy, you simply don’t have to buy it."

      Absolutely agree with you.

  • AdamJ

    Can't believe people are getting so worked up about this. Android is the only platform that even offers a return policy. You should be able to make up your mind in the first few mins of opening the game and we are only talking about $1 or $2 usually! Support the devs and help the platform grow people.

    • Chris

      That money tends to add up over time.

      I won't be supporting devs as much or at least ones that don't put up a trial version. I don't want to support a market either that does this to customers.

      I really, really like Android, especially with customer ROMS, but if this is a sign of the way that things are going, I am less willing to support it in the future.

      • AdamJ

        What are you going to do, go to a platform that has zero return policy? The Android market has always been the fairest platform to the users and that still stands because no other platform offers a return policy at all. If you want the platform to keep growing then we need some more of the big devs to join in and they want to know they can make money on Android.

    • ronaldz

      Actually I see a lot more games @ $2.99 - $5.99 than I see on App Store. People would like to have 100 games for $100 on iPhone than 33 games on Android, that's why they have refund window. If dev can set their price at $1 or $2, I don't see any problem having 15 minutes refund window.

  • Mysterious Developer

    15 minutes is awesome and will attract alot of high profile developers.

    People who need 24 hours to decide if they want to keep a $2 app are not people we want to do business with anyway.

    • ronaldz

      People do not need 24 hours, but we do need more time than just 15 minutes to test drive $40 apps like some navigation app. We cannot just spend $40 on GPS and hop on the car and test drive it around for 10 minutes. Besides, there's no enough time to setup and download maps anyway. I believe people are just concern about the risks buying some expensive apps with such short refund window, not some $1 or $2 apps.

      • Mysterious Developer

        Nope. Too many people were borrowing $2 apps then returning them after using them for 23 hours.

        If you don't want to buy it, I don't want you touching my apps at all.

        For a $40 navigation app you only need 15 mins to see if it runs. If you feel it's too much of a risk, don't buy it.

        I don't want a bunch of 'evaluators'. I want customers.

        If you need more than 15 mins to decide if you want an app, I don't want your business.

        • My1

          but when some games are large (depending on the connection, in my Case about 75MB would be enough, less while on mobile data, since slowdown can kick in anytime) the download time kills the refund time, especially when I lay my tab down and do sth. else while DL'ing then it's not hard to push that limit, little 1-5MB apps are something else but you should have at least an hour to test an app AFTER FIRST START of it)

  • Raptor007

    15 minutes is a joke, it could take most of that depending on the app size and if there is additional d/l content associated with it leaving you minutes to try it out.

    While I will say that I don't have buyers remorse on most apps (except my iPod Touch, I regret all of those apps), BUT, it will slow me down from seriously buying many apps at all. I will need to read more about the app, find others who have used it on my device and since many dev's fail to include details that can be of value.

    You know what, Developers should charge $.99 for an app then most wouldn't care about a losing a that amount.

  • Vincent mac

    Well here's a silly idea - why doesn't google just let the devs decide if they want 24 hours or 15 minutes (or whatever in between or otherwise), and let android market notify users how much time they have to refund?

  • http://dangerismymiddlename.coms Paul Danger Kile

    I think that this would have been acceptable to most, if they hadn't already set our expectations for a longer time.

    I hope that devs will use out-of-market upgrades in the cases where an app can take more than 15 minutes to download.

  • T

    NOt sure what all the hype is about, personally, if you buy video games or computer applications... once the packet / box is opened.... you lose taking it back. At least here you have a window to do so. To me personally, it isn't about whether I liked the app or not, but if the "said description" really is in part with what you get. Some apps claim its the best on the market only to be something a beginner mod maker did.... it works both ways I guess.

  • OFI

    Because this is not like buying a video game.

    If you buy a video game it has likely been tested for months by huge companies on the exact hardware it will be used on with a specific firmware (PS3, Wii, Xbox whatever it might be)

    The latest Dungeon Defender game is a prime example of when the 15 minute window falls flat. The game was described as working for the HTC Desire. The game is 600MB. Personally I know what my chances are of downloading 600MB in 15 minutes.
    The game description was later amended to show that it infact did not work on the HTC Desire.

    I agree that in many situations 15 minutes is quite adequate. But for games it poses a problem when devs can't possibly guarantee that the game is going to work on our fragmented devices.

  • Brian

    I can see less than 24 hours...maybe 2 hours? 15 minutes means that if a phone call comes in while it's installing, I could be past my evaluation period without even having opened the app. Not sure what burden the 24 hour period was putting on developers/google, but 15 minutes is just too short to be a useful time to evaluate a purchased app.

  • Kevin

    15 minutes may be too short, especially for some of the games out there that need to download a huge amount of data assets to your SD card before they are playable. For example, when I purchased Dungeon Defender, it took more than 15 minutes to download all of the data files, which basically made it un-returnable before I was even able to evaluate it. (Fortunately, DD works just fine on my Droid X, but I would have been out the price of the application had that proved not to be the case.)