Time for a little history lesson. Way back in the summer of 2010, when smartphone screen sizes were still reasonable and people were still complaining about how hard it was to type on them, a little company called Swype Inc. thought it had the problem of touchscreen input licked. Android users went crazy trying to get into the beta for their gesture-based software keyboard, and tech blogs threw around words like "innovation" and "miracle" like rice at a wedding. Then the other shoe dropped: Swype was only interested in selling its slidey wares to hardware manufactures, as a tie-in for brand new phones - they had no intention of selling their nifty keyboard directly to end users.
You're a dick. I mean, in this game. Well, you could be a dick in real life, for all I know, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about phalluses. Why are we talking about phalluses? Because sometimes when we're trying to track down great games and apps for you guys to try, we accidentally stumble upon male genitalia. The Play Store is much like Chatroulette in that regard.
Note: NSFW cartoon imagery and language follows.
Back in January, we learned that if you want to be a developer and avoid leaving money on the table, you need to be on both Android and iOS. One or the other isn't going to cut it. However, according to AppAnnie, if you have to choose just one platform, Android is still struggling to prove it's the one you should go with.
According to the report, Play Store downloads are nearing App Store levels, reaching close to 90% as much as the iOS store. Unfortunately, equal exposure isn't quite translating to equal revenue. As it turns out, Apple's platform is still bringing in about 2.6 times as much revenue as Google's counterpart.
Just last week, we saw the launch of the elusive book cover for the Nexus 10 – the only official accessory of its kind to come out of the Play Store for the 10" slab. Since we spied it at the Nexus 10's original launch, all had been quiet. Presumably, the covers simply weren't ready to be sold.
Naturally, I had to pick one up and give it a shot. After all, I have something of a penchant for official accessories, and promised to give it a quick look. When the cover did show up, however, I noticed something curious.
It was just five days ago that Hazard Rush was released to the Play Store. The developer took to Reddit to make the announcement and offer some freebies. Well, the community was into Hazard Rush, which (according to the app description) is a little like Snake and Geometry Wars. It's the next part of the description that got Hazard Rush banned from Google Play. The developer made a cheeky SEO joke, and that was enough for it to get swept up in Google's Play Store purge.
The description read:
Got a dog bite? Maybe a bee sting? Perhaps you're just feeling sad? Google's got a little mid-week pick-me-up in the form of a sizeable giveaway. To promote the new look of the Play Store and the Google Play Twitter account, they're giving away ten Nexus 10 tablets, seven Nexus 7 tablets, four Nexus 4 phones, and no less than a hundred $10 gift cards to the Google Play Store. Unfortunately for our international readers, the sweepstakes is only for US residents.
To enter, you'll need to follow the Google Play Twitter account (@GooglePlay), then tweet out one of your favorite things (copper kettles, woolen mittens, unlocked devices with AOSP software builds) with the hashtag #favoritethings.
We've been seeing leaks about a new Google Play Store UI, that we all thought was going to be released at I/O this year. Nope! The rollout starts today, chaps! According to a post over on the official Android blog, the fancy card-based UI is coming to Android phones and tablets running Froyo (v2.2) and up. Worldwide, the new version will be available "over the next few weeks.
Oh, and you should be happy to know that the ugly pattern across the Action Bar is, in fact, not part of the final release. Additionally, the blog post touts a continuous scrolling interface that will show you more recommendations as you move down the page.
The final piece of the Play Store 4.0 puzzle was posted on Google+ today. A YouTube employee by the name of Eileen Rivera posted a screen shot of previously-unseen Play Store front page:
The design is a perfect match for the leaked build we got to play with a few weeks ago, and, if you ignore the action bar, a big improvement.
Of particular interest is the new Up button, which features the Play Store logo and a bone in a dog bowl. This is a reference to "Dogfooding" - a term Google uses to denote internal beta testing.