Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
Earlier today, while
distracted by a YouTube video doing some article research, I started watching Stephen Colbert's interview at Google with Eric Schmidt. It's pretty great, and you should definitely watch the whole hour - seeing Colbert out of character (and talking about that character) on video for so long is a rarity. He's a really smart guy, and hilarious, to boot.
But during that interview, early on, I caught something that really resonated with me.
Earlier today, Google announced a slew of new content for the Play Store, including magazines, TV shows, and the ability to purchase movies. New content is great, but there's a problem: the new Play Store isn't yet available on devices other than the Nexus 7 and I/O Galaxy Nexus (post-Jelly Bean update).
As always, though, those crafty devils over at XDA have yanked the newest version of the Play Store from one of the aforementioned devices and made it available to the world.
I have heard an absolute heap of unpleasantness about the rebranding of the Android Market today. Google Play is childish. It's unprofessional. It makes Google look less than serious about its content business. The logo is weird. The name is ambiguous - play what? It reminds people of Sony products. There are endless gripes and, let's face it, there always will be when a company rebrands a popular product.
Tomorrow, countless analysts and "experts" will weigh in on whether the move was a good one, hawking over Google's stock price like a cardiograph readout.
The Android Market hit a milestone over the holiday weekend - it now contains over 400,000 apps, putting it only 100,000 apps behind Apple's App Store in terms of sheer quantity. What's even more impressive, though, is that the Market is now the largest store in the world for free apps, with a whopping 68 percent of its collection available sans price tag.
Sure, that is great for consumers, but there's no denying the dark side of free software: it generates less revenue than its paid counterpart.
Tired of your lackluster music collection? El Goog is here to you help you remedy that with a huge sale on millions of tracks for just $0.49 in the Android Market. Buying single tracks not your style? No worries, most albums are going for a mere $4.99, too.
I searched through the Market for a few of my favorite artists - some popular, some obscure - just to see if I could find something going for more than $0.49 per track or $4.99 per album.
If you've been checking out what the Android Market has to offer during it's "10 Billion" promotion, then you've probably had some difficulty in getting the apps you desire. Today, many users experienced error messages and cancelled orders as the market groaned trying to support the insane amount of traffic pouring in to snatch up some tasty 10 cent treats. Be grateful if you managed to grab the ones you wanted, because many were not so lucky.
YouMail, a popular (and free) visual voice mail solution, mysteriously disappeared from the Android Market today.
In case you haven't heard, Google has been offering 10 apps a day for just $0.10 each as part of a 10 day promotion to celebrate the 10 billionth download from the Android Market. For end users, this promotion has been fantastic, as it offers quality paid apps for next to nothing. In fact, the promotion has also been great for the developers behind the promoted apps, who have seen hugely increased exposure, skyrocketing purchases, and higher spots in the "Top Paid" list.
If you're running a device without the Android Market and rely exclusively on the Amazon Appstore for your app-purchasing (say the Kindle Fire, for example), then you may be feeling slightly bummed that you can't score all these ultra-cheapo apps in Google's 10 Billion Promo sale. No worries, my friends, Amazon refuses to be outdone!
If you check the Amazon Appstore's $0.01 to $0.99 category, then you'll notice something interesting: quite a few $0.10 apps.