New York City software developers see challenges, opportunity at Google's Android app store
Eager to stay on top of the apps craze, New York software developers are learning to navigate Google’s Android Market, which they said can be a challenge.
Unlike Apple’s Apps Store, where every app must be approved, the Android store offers developers free rein with few controls on content and open access to Google’s software. The freedom helps spur creativity, but it also makes for a less organized marketplace, developers said.
“It’s like a flea market at the moment and there is a lot of room for improvement,” said Jason Van Anden, who created the music playback and cataloging software at bubblebeats.com.
Flaws with the Android Market prompted one developer to stop investing in the platform. Last week, French developer Gameloft limited its presence in the market, because it said the Android store was not generating enough revenue.
In the city, developers said they are grappling with the potential and pitfalls of the fledgling Android Market. There is even a networking group with about 150 active members: New York City Android Developer Meetup.
“People have a need to discuss their challenges on developing on a new platform,” said Lynne D. Johnson, who hosts the meet-ups.
Developers here are vexed by shortcomings at the store. For instance, the Web site for PCs is not as robust as the mobile Web site, said Patrice Diaz-Migoyo, chief operating officer at game developer smerc.com. Also, with all the information at Google’s disposal, developers said the company does not share crucial stats with them.
“People want more information on how well their apps are doing. They get info on how many downloads, but … they don’t get nearly as much info as Google collects,” Johnson said. Google would not comment for this article.
The answer to Android Market’s flaws may be found outside Google, whose hands-off policy means that phone carriers and makers can open their own apps stores.
“Phone manufacturers and/or carriers may set up their own markets with apps that have been vetted providing a better consumer experience,” Van Anden said.