The Android Market has been getting quite a bit of attention lately, with a 6-hour maintenance, a whole host of new fields available to developers, and the rumored web version that is supposed to arrive with Gingerbread. Today, Googler Eric Chu shined some light on the next upcoming feature - mandatory content ratings for Android apps. In a post over at Google's Android developers blog, Eric announced that in the next few weeks, all apps will gain a content rating level, specifically:

  • All
  • Pre-teen
  • Teen
  • Mature

Starting next week, Android developers posting or updating their apps in the Market will be required to set the rating. Anyone who does not set the appropriate rating will have their apps automatically marked as mature, which makes sense - assume the worst and let the devs manually relax the restriction.

The part that is not clear to me is whether developers would be able to update the rating without posting a physical code change to existing applications - otherwise, I can foresee a flood of updates with nothing more than a content rating changed. Also unclear is whether the future versions of the Market will allow parents to lock their kids' phones down to specific ratings or whether the rating system will only be used for manual filtering.

Source: Android developers blog