The Android Market was recently updated, with a view to providing a fresh interface for all the Android tablet devices that are going to be arriving in their droves next year, and offering new features for existing devices. Not only does it provide a fresh coat of paint, but it also adds some new features that you may not like so much. Let’s take a closer look!
As soon as you open the new Android Market app, you will notice that the theme has been entirely changed. It can be viewed either vertically or horizontally so that it looks better on the device that you’re using, whether it’s a smartphone with a large screen such as the HTC Desire HD or a 10 inch tablet. On the top – or left depending on which way you use it – of the screen is a carousel-style cycle of all the featured applications containing links to their product pages.
In theory, this should look better than the original market, but due to the fact that some icons are really small, some are large, and some are just plain weird, it doesn’t quite work in a consistent manner.
Take the very small ThinkFree Office logo for example, when I was testing the Market, it was situated next to a full sized banner of Slice It!, and just made the whole banner look like a mess. This is something that Google needs to sort out as soon as it gets the chance, because it doesn’t look great.
If you want to take a closer look at an application, simply tap on it like you would on the old version of the Market to be taken to the main application screen and see additional details.
It does seem as though quite a lot of space is wasted on this screen, however, with the left hand side of the screen half empty aside from a few labels and a buy button. On the other side of the screen, you’re faced with all the information a little more cramped up. You’re given a short description, but can tap on the ‘more’ button to get more information if you need it. There are also a few screen shots and reviews available from this screen.
The other major change to the Market is all behind the scenes, and it’s got quite a few people angry. When you pay for and download an application, you now have just 15 minutes to claim a refund on that application if for some reason you aren’t happy with it. Before now, users had 24 hours to thoroughly try an app before they decided whether or not to keep it.
To wrap-up, the new Android Market may be little more than a fresh coat of paint for new devices entering the market in the coming 12 months, but the back-end changes are just as important for developers and end users alike.
If you’d like to try out the new Android Market, you can either wait for the update to land on your device, or grab the apk and install it yourself. It’s mirrored in a couple of places across the net so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one for your stock or custom ROM.