Google have announced their rival to Apple's App Store, the Android Market. Intended to allow users of Android-based devices - whether cellphones or otherwise - to download new apps and other software directly to the handset, Google have confirmed that a beta version of the service will be present on the first commercially available Android cellphones.
That beta will support free titles initially, with a subsequent firmware update adding provision for paid software. It will also give developers advanced tools such as versioning, multiple device profile support and analytics, among other things. Unlike the iPhone's App Store, membership and posting on which is monitored and controlled by Apple, Android developers will have more freedom and fewer hoops to jump through. Membership will be a straightforward sign-up, with a ratings system used to weed out poor quality or potentially dangerous software.
While that would suggest that apps for the platform will proliferate faster (and be more quickly updated), it does raise questions regarding device security and stability. Apple's stated motivation for its hands-on approach with the App Store is that it prevents poor software getting onto its devices and impacting the user experience; that could potentially be a significant issue for Android devices.
[via Android Community]