Google just launched a Web version of the Android Market – an app store for Android phones and tablets.
It looks a lot like Hulu and iTunes, with big a scrolling slideshow at the top and app categories running down the left below. There are tabs for “featured,” “top paid,” and “top free” apps.
Until now, the only way to get into the Android Market was through a pre-loaded app on Android phones and tablets.
Android developers have longed for an off-phone, off-tablet directory of Android apps similar to Apple’s iTunes App Store.
Google did these developers one better, making a directory that is, in some ways, better than iTunes.
- Developers can upload YouTube videos to promote apps in Android market. The iTunes App Store only uses screenshots.
- Users can also tweet links directly from the Android web market. You can’t do that in iTunes.
- You can buy an app on the web and it downloads to your phone. That’s something you can’t do on the iPhone/iPad.
This is a very good, important development for Google, the Android platform, and Android developers. The Web app store makes it much easier to discover apps. (Consider: Now we’ll be able to link to Android apps when we write about them. So will everyone else.)