Android App Store

The Android Market is the latest and really only rival to the Apple App Store in terms of both being on developers' radar, as demonstrated in the content of the last Mobile Monday London event and also being finally a potential USP to buy an android device as the catalogue now finally has quality instead of just quantity.

You should never underestimate:
  1. the irrelevance of numbers for customers (if you search for something on Google, do you care how many results there were or how many pages they indexed today?) 
  2. The obsession with numbers that people within the industry still have, despite me and my peers and all their employees who know what they are doing telling them otherwise
So it is with great pleasure that we finally see an android store that has the quality in terms of content, the subject of by other blog, mobile killer app, but also quality and innovative features in terms of the actual store discovery, presentation and construction that it is today, and clearly a part of android that would make people adopt the platform and its products.

Android Market likeliness to adopt over time
The above chart shows my likeliness to adopt the this app store over time, I will update this as and when anything significant happens to change this. So what are the key changes:

The first one happened in December 2010, when it had its first major makeover, I as a user took notice of it and from here on in you could actually call android market an app store rather than an "app repository with a wap front end for basic searches" that it was at launch. This is where I feel that, like every player in this space, the amount of effort put into the store was in line with the amount of apps in the store, as at this point the store had well passed the 100,000 apps point. At the same time, it coincided pretty much with Android 2.1 release, which again saw the first major visual UX and UI overhaul of Android and its key Nexus showcase / hero device.

First major front end update Dec 2010
However, it still looked a bit like other stores with the android brand guide style sheet applied, it was not until July 2011 to date that we have a store front end that really has an Android personality that sets it apart from the competition, as well as plays to android's strengths: features like "trending apps" and "editors' choice" and "Staff choices" really play to android OS and android devices strengths, and of course, the UX and UI are both great experiences.

The latest store, July 2011 to date
So what are the takeaways from this? Well:
  1. The store evolved with the interface and its market. One thing people often fail to take into account is that your early adopters, me-too and then mass market customers will have different needs. Android's early adopters probably side-loaded apps anyway! The present store reflects Android's now clear status as a mass-market appeal product.
  2. play to your strengths, listen to your staff who are doing rather than reporting, "staff choices" play well to android's base who see their phone as a more personal choice to the corporate Apple, where the android user will be convinced that the staff choices had to be approved by the editor and the editor's choice had to be approved by the CEO himself :)
  3. Think and plan updates on your roadmap in tune with your audience, not just what the underlying store technology can do or what your competitors are doing
  4. Play to your market: a well planned, well road-mapped product will have clear features placed at certain audiences and you should orientate your store around their needs. This means, simple,  functional and relevant is better at first, and even at last. Note the way you have just three sections (apps, games, movies and books) at the main page (not shown) but you can still click back to games from the apps section when you realise the promoted apps (business calendar and worldmate) are not your cup of tea at all - nice, simple. Other stores and the previous version tried to have carousels to give huge choice, a bit like when you do your first website or blog and the first thing you do is put way too many menus on the top and side... with no content in them... ahem, on that note I have some blogging to do :)
I will be updating this blog adoptograph as the store evolves, as well as other stores being added, if you wish to follow its updates you can follow either my Google + page or my company G+ page.

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