Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues to overhaul its Android Market application storefront, adding a new online retail channel and enabling in-app purchases. Located at market.android.com, the online Android Market boasts the complete Android app catalog--the store connects to a user's device once they sign into their Google account, enabling them to install apps on one or all of their compatible devices. "Everything is connected," said Android's engineering director for cloud services Chris Yerga during a media event last week. "Your phone is connected to the cloud, your Android Market browser is connected to the cloud." Consumers may also share apps via email links and Twitter.
Android Market now supports in-app transactions as well--last month, Android Developer Ecosystem manager Eric Chu promised Google would introduce an in-app payments solution during the current quarter, enabling shoppers to purchase virtual goods, additional gaming levels and so forth. Also in the pipeline: Carrier billing options in partnership with operators across the globe. Android Market quietly direct carrier billing for premium applications sold on the AT&T (NYSE:T) network late last year. Chu said it is both expensive and time-consuming to forge operator billing agreements, but added Google recognizes the potential impact on consumer app spending. Chu added Google is at work on improving Android Market's ranking algorithm in an attempts to make it easier for users to find quality applications--moreover, Google will continue investing in its Android Market support staff, building out a team to enforce the store's terms of service and eliminate apps that violate the rules.
Last week's Google event also spotlighted Android 3.0 (a.k.a "Honeycomb"), an operating system update targeting tablet devices. Hugo Barra, Google's director of mobile products, said all Android apps that follow the company's guidelines should work well on tablets, but added Google is encouraging tablet-specific apps as well. Barra highlighted Honeycomb's improved drag and drop capabilities as well as the platform's new application bar, which brings common application commands to the forefront.
- read this Official Google Mobile Blog entry
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