Whoa! Only a few hours after sending out a notification about a big Market maintenance, Google sneakily updated the Market publishing interface with a variety of new options, pointing to nothing less than an updated Market likely to launch very soon, probably together with Gingerbread. The presence of higher resolution graphics underscores Google's newly embraced support for tablets and TVs, and possibly suggests that Market web interface we've been waiting for since Google I/O is finally around the corner.
As a registered Android developer, today I, along with thousands of other devs, got the following email from the Android Market Support team. The email informed me that the developer console, which is the interface used for publishing new apps, will be unavailable this Thursday, November 18th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST. The customer-facing Market itself will continue working just fine (or so I hope at least), but no new applications or app updates will be allowed.
Looks like the Rhapsody app has just dropped on the market, only... you can't find it by searching. However, barcode scanners work, so we're not really sure what's going on. The app itself seems to feature, well, just about what you'd expect:
Last night on the Android Developers blog, Tim Bray recapped a few improvements that have come to the Android Market since Froyo landed. Most of them (five out of the six) are old news by now, but the sixth is one we haven't heard about before:
Verizon's announcement of a separate Big Red branded Android Market, called the V Cast App Store, sent shockwaves through the Androidosphere a month ago, with the general consensus being: "we don't want it." Of course, none of us could actually prevent Verizon from fragmenting our Market situation further (they've already done their part with the MOTOBLUR to help fragment the Android OS itself), so all we have to do is go with the flow and see what exactly Verizon's cooked up.
Today at the Facebook Mobile event, Mark Zuckerberg announced the newest version of the Facebook Android app with support for Places and Groups. We didn't have to wait long, as the update hit the Market mere minutes after the announcement (don't you just love how instantly apps go live in the Android Market, as opposed to some other markets we won't be naming here?).
Here is the changelog:
- Groups: share posts with small groups of friends
- Places: share where you are with friends, see where friends are, discover places nearby
- Improved Notifications - view comments and updates within the app
- Various bug fixes
Finally, some empirical evidence that illustrates what we've known for some time now: Android is growing like gangbusters. In fact, 28% of smartphones sold in Q1 2010 were Android, compared to 21% for iOS. RIM still holds the top spot with 36%, but that's a drop of roughly 12% in the past year - while iOS has fallen approximately 10% itself. In the same period, Android increased over 20%.
In fact, it seems like Android grew at the expense of just about everyone else - excluding a minor 1-2% increase in "other".
As you may have noticed over the last couple of days, the Android Market hasn't been doing too well. Downloads have started, and then failed, failed to start, started to fail, and just generally failed in every imaginable way. There once was a time when clearing such-and-such cache would fix this sporadic issue, but it seems that even this black magic no longer suffices. Threads have been popping up all over the Android-tinted corners of the 'net with people unable to download anything from the Market.
In what is certainly a grade-A dropping of the ball, it looks like somebody accidently pulled the trigger on a post at PayPal's Blog before it was time to. We say accidently because the post read:
... reporting from Innovate 2010. Today, Google announced that you can use PayPal to buy apps on their Android Market.
The only thing is, at the time the post went live, no such thing had been revealed yet - whoops.
I'm not sure exactly how recently Google has done this (update: apparently, it's been a few months, thanks Brad), but there is a tab in the mobile search interface called "Android Apps." I'll give you 3 tries to guess what it does.
Clicking on each result pops open the Market app and works exactly as you would expect. The interface does show the star rating to help weed out the crapola, the price, the company name, and the number of reviews.