Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Google launches online store for Android users


In an effort to compete with rival, Apple, search engine giant Google, has launched a new online store of advanced software applications that run on mobile phones powered by the Android software.

Google's new online store, Market.Android.com, will allow Android users to find new applications from their computers more easily, according to Google. The company also claims that the store will help see recommendations by friends and download applications to their mobile devices.

Users of Android devices such as Motorola Mobility Inc.'s Droid and HTC Corp.'s Evo smartphones, previously had access to the application market via their devices, but many application makers complained it was difficult to get noticed there because the marketplace was partly built around lists of featured applications and top downloads.

Earlier, Apple had an edge over Android because it allowed users to find applications and buy them through the iTunes programme on their computers.

These "important changes to the Android market meet the needs of both users and developers", Chris Yerga, a Google engineering director, was quoted as saying.

Google said that the application makers could create Android applications that charge users for in-app purchases of virtual goods in games, among other things - a feature already available on applications running on Apple devices.

Developers can also set prices for their applications in foreign currencies, which previously they had been unable to do, Google said.

There are more than 350,000 mobile applications available on Apple devices compared with more than 100,000 on Android devices.