Where is the excitement and buzz for the Android Market?

Summary:I pop my T-Mobile SIM card into my T-Mobile G1 about once a week to see if there is anything interesting going on in the Android Market and I have to say there is not much that really excites me after almost 6 months of using the device. One of the reasons I purchased my G1 was because of the speculation and hype that the "open" nature of the Android OS would have developers churning out applications and taking the device to the next level. There were some excellent free applications available at or soon after launch, such as ShopSavvy, imeem Music, Bonsai Blast, PacMan, and The Weather Channel with the hope that priced applications would bring even more goodness to the platform. I personally have a few reasons that I have been hesitant to purchase applications from the Android Market and am curious if other G1 owners feel the same.

I pop my T-Mobile SIM card into my T-Mobile G1 about once a week to see if there is anything interesting going on in the Android Market and I have to say there is not much that really excites me after almost 6 months of using the device. One of the reasons I purchased my G1 was because of the speculation and hype that the "open" nature of the Android OS would have developers churning out applications and taking the device to the next level. There were some excellent free applications available at or soon after launch, such as ShopSavvy, imeem Music, Bonsai Blast, PacMan, and The Weather Channel with the hope that priced applications would bring even more goodness to the platform. I personally have a few reasons that I have been hesitant to purchase applications from the Android Market and am curious if other G1 owners feel the same.

The only priced application I have purchased so far is TouchDown and this application has regularly been updated and is well worth the money if you need to connect to an Exchange server. I did also try out the TeleNav GPS Navigator software and think that is also worth the $10/month subscription if you are looking for a VERY GOOD GPS navigation solution. The three main reasons I have been hesitant to purchase anything else are as follows:

  1. Memory management: With something like 35 third party apps loaded on my G1, I am constantly getting low memory warnings and having to delete apps to make room to try out more. I understand there is an involved hack that lets you store apps on the microSD card, but I don't feel I should have to hack my device to use it the way it was intended. You should be able to load up apps to your heart's content and really have fun with the platform and device.
  2. Lack of quality priced apps: I honestly have some very good FREE applications on my G1 that meet most all my needs, including Opera Mini, Twidroid, CadreBible, PhoneFlix, ShopSavvy, Toggle Settings, imeem Mobile, Shazam, and Bonsai Blast. I browse through the priced apps and can't find any Office suites, really good Facebook apps, ebook readers, or amazing games that compel me to purchase them. The Android Developer Challenge winners page showed some cool apps and thankfully many of them are available for free. Where is ShapeWriter though?
  3. Lack of desktop or web client: I think one aspect of the Apple App Store that makes application discovery a better experience is the fact that you can browse from your computer in iTunes and find apps you want to try out. There is also a sense, at least for me, that my apps are safely stored on my Mac in case I take them off of my device. I haven't yet made the leap to making purchase on my G1 in the Android Market and then relying on their server to remember what I purchased. I switch phones quite a bit too and am curious if I can transfer my purchases to a new phone in the future. With the iPhone I know I can put the apps I purchase on 5 devices and can probably work with customer service to reset that if I went crazy and upgraded more than that.

What are your thoughts on the Android Market? Is it going to take more devices than just the G1 on T-Mobile to get developers to launch some high quality priced applications? Are there good priced apps out there that I am just not finding because that could be the case with an on device store and limited filters?

UPDATE: A reader let me know that you can actually browse the Android Market on the Android.com website. This is extremely helpful for me since I can now check out apps on my computer and then just search and find them on my G1 to download and try out.

Topics: Apps, Hardware, Mobility

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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