PermaLink Writing Apps for Android Market and how Apple's AppStore is better05/26/2010 09:56 PM
The achilles heel of Google's Android domination is unfortunately their Android Market...specifically finding useful apps and pathetically weak anti-piracy measures.  Android Market is horribly hard to find things in because there is no web UI and the categorization tags are horridly weak; they should allow people to tag apps, or at the very least add more subcategories.  A web UI or desktop client is important to allow users to browse for apps from their desktop (Motorola's Shop4Apps store has a web UI at least).

This brings up the fragmentation of the Android app market.  While Apple has a single AppStore, Android has multiple App stores including the largest which is the Market, AndAppStore, and Motorola's Shop4Apps (there are more, but these are the ones that interest me).  Android Market is the largest but has a stupid 24hr return policy which makes piracy ridiculously rampant (users pay for it, back it up, get a refund, and then restore it to get a live pirated copy); payments have to be handled by Google Checkout.  How hard is it to add a Java wrapper that checks whether that app was ever refunded by that user???  Android Market also doesn't allow sales on some foreign markets.  Motorola's Shop4Apps is meant to address the deficiency in being able to sell to foreign markets and no longer has the stupid 24hr return policy.  AndAppStore has the best copy protection I've seen for Android apps, but you have to make users add license keys and manage keys yourself; payment is handled via Paypal.  Unfortunately, Android Market has the most users.

Once you've written an app, should you decide to offer a Lite (free) and Pro (paid) version, you have to make sure you put them in different Java packages.  The Android Market's upgrading and app finding is tied directly to your app's Java class package name (com.company.appname).  I had to change my Ant build script to rename packages in all the source code to get it to build separate versions.

So here are my suggestions to Google:
- get rid of the 24hr return policy if you have Lite/Pro versions of the app; users should be able to figure out whether the app is worth buying by trying the Lite version
- let users add cloud tags to apps and be able to vote the tags off
- add more subcategories (how hard could this be???)
- in your Java "protection" wrapper, at least check that a user hasn't refunded that app and/or tie it to their phone or phone#
- sue AndroidPlayground.net; how wacked is it that a site run by a couple of teens in Florida is flagrantly selling subscriptions to download pirated stuff on rooted phones and your lawyers aren't sharpening up their axes?
- add a web UI to browse the market..extra points if it's viewable on Android phones too
- add "top new apps for the week" to your Android Market phone app; the "top apps" stay the top apps because they're nearly always at the top of the home screen for users to click on

And a cheap plug for my first Android app
http://apps.doubletwist.com/Photo-Studio-Buddy-Lite/-3744675142063937776

Comments :v

1. Ken Yee05/27/2010 13:05:20


Yes, Dave. That's me posting on your group forum
The app I wrote targeted Android 1.5 to get the most userbase so it's unfortunate that your toolkit only works for Android 2.x+; Google really should fix this though...checking whether the app was refunded before running seems like a duhhh thing...




2. dk05/27/2010 12:25:40
Homepage: http://www.keyeslabs.com


Have you seen the Keyes Labs AAL solution for piracy? It's super simple but seems to be working out nicely in their products...




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Full-stack developer (consultant) working with .Net, Java, Android, Javascript (jQuery, Meteor.js, AngularJS), Lotus Domino