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Google revamps Android market

Navigating the differing app categories on the phone-based market requires a swipe left or right.
Navigating the differing app categories on the phone-based market requires a swipe left or right.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Google launched an entirely new user interface for its platform Tuesday
  • New market "designed to better showcase top apps and games," developer says
  • Layout enables two-click purchases of apps, eliminating as much friction as possible
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(WIRED) -- Look out, iTunes, the Android Market is getting a face-lift.

Google launched an entirely new user interface for its mobile platform Tuesday, completely changing the layout of the application portal.

"The new Market client is designed to better showcase top apps and games, engage users with an improved UI, and provide a quicker path to downloading or purchasing your products," wrote Android developer Eric Chu in a blog post.

Navigating the differing app categories on the phone-based market requires a swipe left or right, which switches to new, tile-based menu screens. The name and price of a given app you've chosen moves to the top of the screen.

In addition to apps and games, you'll also be able to browse movies and books available for purchase from the Market.

Android has long faced platform criticism for its Market setup, as both users and developers alike have had difficulty finding the programs they want in the 200,000+ app-packed Android Market.

Apple, by contrast, has long promoted featured and popular apps in its iTunes-based App Store, a one-stop shop for all things iOS.

But Google is trying to counter the complaints: At its I/O developer conference in May, Google rolled out a streamlined, app-promoting look for the Market's web store, with the inclusion of categories like "Top Grossing, Trending" and other 'top' apps.

Google claims its latest changes will appeal to developers' bottom line. The new layout enables two-click purchases of apps, eliminating as much friction as possible so customers can purchase apps faster and easier.

Typically, developers have started creating apps in an iOS environment, perfecting the program their before eventually making it over to the Android ecosystem. But Android co-founder Rich Miner says that will be changing soon.

"It's become clear that the market has definitely matured for Android," said Miner at the MobileBeat technology conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. "Towards the end of last year I was recommending to companies that they focus on iOS mobile system -- that has clearly flipped," Miner said.

As a whole, the smartphone industry is growing at a rapid pace. Fifty-five percent of U.S. mobile devices purchased over the last three months were smartphones, according to a Nielsen report published in late June.

Android currently holds the title for the most used platform across U.S. smartphones with a marketshare of 38%, according to ComScore. That's a 15 percent bump up from February results. Apple edged out Research in Motion for second place, with shares of 26.6% and 24.7%, respectively.

But if Android wants to stay ahead of Apple and the rest of the pack, it needs to keep its app ecosystem attractive to both customers and developers alike.

Beefing up the platform's app catalog helps, but if customers can't find the apps they want inside the huge pile, boasting big app numbers will be an exercise in futility.

The new landing page will roll out gradually to users running Android version 2.2 (Froyo) or higher over the next few weeks. If you aren't keen on waiting, check out the video here for a peek at the Market's new look.

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Copyright 2011 Wired.com.

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

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