Last week was a frustrating week for me in Android land and makes me worry about the future of Android. Let's dig right in...
First up, USA Today had an interesting article stating that piracy is a big problem for the Android platform in response to the massive discrepancy many developers see in their iOS vs Android sales. I'm sorry, but if you feel the need to pirate $2 games then there's something wrong with you. And while I think there's an issue there I actually think it's more complicated than that. I'd break Android owners into a few groups to explain this...
1) The technically savvy user that knows how to pirate stuff and think they're above buying the stuff with their massive technical knowledge.
2) The Android owner that has no clue about all the stuff their phone can do and this ignores that mysterious Market icon on their phone.
3) The Android owner that just doesn't care about all the stuff their phone can do with a handful of exceptions. Sure, they might use it as a GPS once someone points then in the right direction, but they're not going to actively seek out new games or anything. After all, it's just a phone!?
You see, while Android as a whole sports great numbers the truth is that a lot of its sales are cheapie devices with people willing to spend the big bucks opting for an iPhone. Remember just how much money Apple poured into advertising that their phone has apps? Android rarely touches upon that in their advertising.
Oh, and here's the USA Today article for your reference: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2011/09/android-apps-less-profitable-than-iphone-apps/1
Next, what the @#%$ is wrong with the Android Market. Late last week NFL Rivals came out. I'd be all over that if I could SEE it on my Epic 4G. I can see it on my Transformer table, but I really want to be able to play this on the go. But, to top it off, the AppBrain app apparently can't see it either which tells me there's a problem. Upon further digging I now find that there's A LOT of stuff I can search for on the Market that isn't found. Try 'Atari800' which is an Atari emulator. It's stuff there, but the Market search doesn't work. I wondered about this awhile ago, but now I see it's true... the Android Market search is, at some level, broken. And if I can't find an app then I can't use it.
Third, I'll be honest... I'm disappointed how a free game review blog (this one) just hasn't grown much. For those wondering... it averages about 800 page view/day. I've removed ads as an experiment to make it totally free. I'm up for suggestions if you think I'm doing something wrong? My goal is 3 reviews per week, but now I'm tempted to just model myself after the countless other blogs that just print press releases for easy content instead of reviews that take actually time to create. No, I'd continue to do the reviews, but I suspect I lose readership to some of the 'news' sites by not being all encompassing.
Fourth, fragmentation continues to kill. Still no tablet NetFlix and it's still a guessing game as to what's going to run where. I recently got (purchased!) a game called Let It Rip football... doesn't work properly on my Epic 4G or my Transformer tablet (although the dev states it's not ready for tablets), but how it fails is different on both. And I'm sure the game works just fine for the developer. Consequently, all I can say is... what a pain to be a developer on Android vs iOS. On iOS you have one platform to target and perhaps you have to worry about older iOS releases. On Android you've got to tackle every color and every shade of that color in the rainbow.
Fifth, the lack of testing hurts. On iOS you can be assured of some basic level of quality from every app you download. On Android it's the Wild West. As much as Apple's dictatorial policies sound brutal they in turn provide the average Joe, that doesn't care about the politics, a better user experience. Sure, they can't run the freeform emulators (or what not) that I can... but I know my phone requires power cycling a lot more than my iPod touch ever did.
The Android platform has made some wonderful strides, but I'd expect a company with the money and resources of Google to get it right by now. A broken Market search from 'the search experts'? Need proof... just go to market.android.com and search for 'Atari800'. Two results are displayed and neither of which is the Atari800 emulator. Now, on your Android device (this link won't work outside of your Android device), click on this link:
I can see and download it now.