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Android's "Flea Market" Needs Urgent Attention

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the step-down-from-a-bazaar dept.

Linux Business 226

andylim writes "According to Barry O'Neil, ex-President of Namco Bandai Network Europe, Google needs to understand that a constantly evolving 'beta' product doesn't cut it. It has to learn from the mistakes of the Java business in order to save Android. 'If Google is to present a threat to the Apple App Store ecosystem, it needs to address discovery and purchasing as a matter of urgency, or abandon control and hand over the entire management of the Android Market to carriers, OEMs and trusted publishers.'"

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226 comments

What (3, Informative)

blhack (921171) | about 4 years ago | (#31707514)

I'm sorry, but does android really need saving? I see more and more and more android based phones every day.

Re:What (1)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | about 4 years ago | (#31707644)

It does, according to the ex-President of a company of which I've never heard!

Re:What (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31707690)

It does, according to the ex-President of a company of which I've never heard!

I know, I mean who's heard of Namco? What the hell have they made? Something called "Pac-Man"? What the hell is a Pac-Man? It sounds like a type of food.

Re:What (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#31707804)

You joke, but how successful have they been lately? I couldn't name any recent games, so I went to check their site. Almost every title listed in their 'new games' section is junk. The ones that aren't junk are just sequels to things that weren't junk... And there's not many of them. (And for some of them, I don't think they held the rights to the originals.)

So he's going to tell a massively successful company like Google how to run their software business? Seriously?

Re:What (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31707870)

But you've HEARD of them at least. I mean, it's like Pan Am, just because they aren't successful anymore doesn't mean nobody's heard of them.

Re:What (1)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | about 4 years ago | (#31707902)

Bandai-Namco is hugely successful in japan. Not to say that gives this Ex-European branch head the right to criticize a company far more successful all across the world... I'm just sayin'~

Re:What (1)

bugi (8479) | about 4 years ago | (#31707964)

Their games are also the most expensive on the android market. Dude, just because it's named "Pac-Man" or "Frogger" and so presumably not some knock-off does not justify a higher price than all other games.

Re:What (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | about 4 years ago | (#31708312)

And I'm certain the ex-president of Namco Bandai Network Europe had a lot to do with Pac-Man...

...thirty or so years ago...

...and who might've just been a part of the Bandai half of the equation anyway...

...and isn't even at Namco Bandai Network Europe anymore...

So basically, this guy's cred is once (not currently) being the European president of a company which, in one of its previous, pre-merger incarnations, had its Japanese branch create some memorable games thirty or so years ago before the European branch even existed and is currently doing not much more than cash in on the IP from said games nowadays.

I'm certain that if I went to a casino and hit the jackpot tomorrow, I'd get calls from distant "relatives" with more legitimate claims to my money than this guy has any legitimate claim to being responsible for any of Namco's classic games.

Re:What (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 years ago | (#31707770)

You know he cares, because he's thinking of the children...in the non-creepy way...um, I guess there really isn't a non-creepy way to sit in an office and think of children when you don't have any of your own...

Re:What (3, Insightful)

catxk (1086945) | about 4 years ago | (#31707722)

If you look at it from an Apple perspective, I guess you would think that the key to mobile OS success is a well-functioning software market. Android, apparently, does not have one. The fact that more and more phones run Android is no more a sign of success than the fact that the Ipad is sold out. Initial high sales indicates little more than successful marketing, but to ensure long-lasting success, the users also have to be satisfied after the purchase. Then again, this is from an Apple perspective. In my opinion (and I use an S60 device), the Android OS seems solid enough with or without an official marketplace.

Re:What (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707918)

As a phone platform, the Android OS beats the hell out of the iPhone OS. However, the Android Market is sorely lacking compared to the App Store, I can never seem to find what I am looking for in AM, and have to wade thru several sketchy/unstable apps to find anything.

Re:What (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#31708206)

And more and more "apps" you cant use on older phones because most carriers tweak andriod and never update it.

I should be able to upgrade a G1 to the latest andriod easily, you cant. so a bunch of apps wont run on it. Yet short of the special case 3Gs extra hardware specific apps. a 1st gen iphone can run the same apps the 4th gen iphone can.

Re:What (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 4 years ago | (#31708330)

I don't remember it ever needing saving. I mean look at MS products, or apple products. They're not labeled beta, they're labeled complete or release candidate and there are still plenty of problems or incomplete features, etc.

The same can be applied to just about every software company in existence.

I don't get it? (5, Insightful)

ckaminski (82854) | about 4 years ago | (#31707518)

I use the Android app market, and I find what I need. I think the Apple App Store is more plagued with marketers vying for positioning in the vaunted "Top 75" than in any other fashion. How about letting me sort by "5 stars"? Anybody?

I'm not sure I want anyone except the community "in charge" of what gets bubbled up in each category.

Re:I don't get it? (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#31707538)

http://www.android.com/market/ [android.com]

You can't search for apps. You can on the phone, but consumers need better integration and ways to access information.

Lets say you were interested in an Android device, how do you find out what apps are in the market?

Re:I don't get it? (2, Interesting)

thepike (1781582) | about 4 years ago | (#31707600)

I agree that it would be great to search the market online (I tried before I got my Eris and was pretty mad when I couldn't) but at the same time it's not a deal breaker. I've never had any issues getting apps that I want (assuming they're available) now that I have the phone. I'm also not sure the point that fewer people are paying for apps on android than iphones, did they look at the number of free vs paid apps (I didn't). Most of the apps I want are free, so why would I pay for one?

Re:I don't get it? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#31707920)

But you use the marketplace on the phone.... And I have no problems using it from the phone.
It would be nice if you could search the marketplace on line from your PC but that is really not a big deal.
That I think is a clear case of making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Re:I don't get it? (4, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | about 4 years ago | (#31707980)

Picture this:

I have a phone now. I'm looking at the nice and shiny android phones. But I am not quite convinced that the apps are what I might need.

How do I find out from a PC that there's something that would push me over the edge?

That's the mole hill that you tripped over.

Re:I don't get it? (1, Troll)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 years ago | (#31708360)

How ironic that the market of a search engine developer does not have a search function. It's not like they don't have the tech to do it!

Re:I don't get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707624)

I really don’t see a problem but I’m not a douche bag developer trying to make a buck with crapware either. I only download free apps, I’m just not paying for the stuff. Sorry this clown can’t make money there it wasn’t built for him to make money off.

Re:I don't get it? (2, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#31707650)

Sorry this clown can’t make money there it wasn’t built for him to make money off.

I'm pretty sure Google would disagree with you on the intent of the Android Market.

Re:I don't get it? (1)

Rei (128717) | about 4 years ago | (#31708024)

I sometimes have a bit of trouble separating the wheat from the chaff. For example, to find a file manager (I couldn't believe one wasn't included by default), I had to google it and discovered that a lot of people were using AndroZip -- a zip program -- as a file manager.

Anyone know of a good free program to get your phone's GPS coordinates remotely on request (i.e., if lost or stolen)?

Re:I don't get it? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#31708236)

Search slashdot. someone here had an app running on theirs that reports to a server the XYZ gps location every few seconds all the time. That on it's own rocks and I wish the iphone could do it.

Re:I don't get it? (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | about 4 years ago | (#31708396)

It's called Big Brother GPS, and it lets you specify your own server to which the POSTs are sent. Pretty neat, opens up opportunities for a ton of cool applications. If only I had time to write some of them. The developer provides a basic sample PHP script that will receive the output and post it in an embedded google map.

Re:I don't get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31708342)

Try Where's My Droid. Works via SMS and sends you coordinates plus google map link.

Re:I don't get it? (5, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 4 years ago | (#31707818)

I think the problem with the Android app market is that you have no idea what you're missing in your searches. There are categories, sure. But do I really want to browse 5000 apps in entertainment to make sure that that's not where the video players are hiding? Or when I search for a battery management app, do I search for battery management? Battery? Battery saver? And if I scroll down more, what do I get? Do I get results that are less relevant? Less used? Older? Combination thereof?

In short, I have no idea how the Android app market works, and the search results are haphazard enough that I don't trust it. And as you pointed out, I can't even organize the search results. No sorting by downloads, by popularity, by ratings, or by developer.

The Android App store is right now my biggest gripe of the entire Android ecosystem. Google and others have produced some outstanding apps, but I have no idea if they're there, or what it is that I should search for.

Here are a couple of suggestions that would drastically improve the user experience:
- have a web interface available. Seriously, that's a no-brainer.
- let me order the results by ratings, downloads, date, publisher and name. Another complete no-brainer.
- Allow me to recommend apps to friends and contacts. Or allow me to set my download privacy so that friends and contacts can see what I installed.
- Provide a staff pick

3 out of 4 of those are brain dead to implement, and don't even require much computational complexity. Considering that the app store is part of what makes the iPhone the iPhone, I don't understand what's keeping Google from actually offering a usable experience.

The barefooot kid is the cobbler's son (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#31708110)

In short, I have no idea how the Android app market works, and the search results are haphazard enough that I don't trust it. And as you pointed out, I can't even organize the search results. No sorting by downloads, by popularity, by ratings, or by developer.

Look, it was 200 years ago that Adam Smith worked out that not everybody's good at everything. Clearly they need to outsource the search to someone who's good at it. Like, I dunno, Google?

Re:I don't get it? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 years ago | (#31708348)

Also, accusing one of the worlds largest, most popular companies that it should learn from Java, when it's currently experiencing massive growth from its Java based mobile phone OS is just completely bizarre. Namco Bandai, eh? Rings a bell - didn't they do Pacman or something, 30 years ago?

YES! (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#31707522)

I ahve sent several emails, and posted on the form.

There online market SUCKS.

I have a G1. it's running Google android OS. It is fully integrated with Google.

Why can't I go to android.com and do a search for apps?
Yes, a Google site and you can't search for market apps.

http://www.android.com/market/ [android.com]

Not searchable. I'm sorry, what is Google's core business?

Re:YES! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31707588)

...Because it is really that hard to simply get it on the phone? While I do think it could use improving, I'm not seeing the real issue. On both my iPod and Android phone I get all of my apps through the device itself. The fact you have to sync music/videos for my iPod is one of my biggest pet peeves. If a device has Wi-Fi or even better cell service, wouldn't it make more sense to get all the applications through that? Its a bit like downloading a .exe on one machine and transferring it over USB to your laptop to run it when that laptop has internet access.

Re:YES! (3, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 4 years ago | (#31707606)

Agreed. I keep thinking I'm doing something fundamentally wrong... I can search for apps on my Droid but I can't find a website that lets me search through the apps or browse the app categories. Apparently there are roughly 30,000 Android apps, but if you click around the marketplace [android.com], you'll get a sense that there's maybe 50 or 80 apps out there. This is both a problem for Android users (who can't find what they want... doing it on the phone is okay but not as efficient) and for uptake (it makes the platform look amateurish).

On the flip side, though, I can't imagine a worse move than "hand over the entire management of the Android Market to carriers, OEMs and trusted publishers." The carriers would turn it into a painful nickel-and-dime opportunity (forget free apps!), and letting OEMs and publishers do whatever they want would make the Android platform even more fragmented. Google is (in theory) the right entity to mange the Android Market: they have a good reputation, they are really good at sorting and search, they know how to make a good web UI, etc. In fact, it's fundamentally surprising that they didn't put together a slick interface for the Android Market...

Re:YES! (2, Insightful)

exley (221867) | about 4 years ago | (#31707688)

I'm sorry, what is Google's core business?

Advertising.

(And no, I'm not referring to that Super Bowl ad!)

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707734)

I agree. I find that very silly as well that their market isn't just accessible via the web. That would help raise visibility and awareness of the apps (and Android) through SEO and in-links to popular/talked-about apps.

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707766)

Google.com

site:android.com "Cool app for free"

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31708062)

Well, in google's defense, there are like 10 android apps right? So just sort alphabetically.

Flea Market Analysis (0)

Orga (1720130) | about 4 years ago | (#31707546)

The market for the iPhone and Droid, who would purchase either are quite a bit different. Apple users are quite used to paying premiums for things that not only look nice but have had a lot of extra fringy things added. They pay a premium for this. The Android market on the other hand is more about open source, freeware, rough around the edges apps that more technically savvy users can work with. The markets are drawing different customers which also means different developers and different pricing.

Re:Flea Market Analysis (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#31707636)

The Android market on the other hand is more about open source, freeware, rough around the edges apps that more technically savvy users can work with.

Right you are! All of the handset makers using Android would just love to cater to a couple of thousand nerds who would rather spend an hour looking for a free solution than spend 5 minutes and 99 cents downloading a commercial one. Surely, those economic mavens rejoice at the pen-protector-and-taped-glasses set instead of the teenager with dad's credit care. A customer that thinks the best part of the day is installing some obscure patent free codec is worlds more important that somebody that wants to spend ten dollars and watch a movie.

I find your ideas fascinating but definitely do not want to subscribe to your newsletter (besides, it's free - right?)

Re:Flea Market Analysis (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#31707852)

That sounds cute when phrased strictly in terms of bombastic empty rhetoric. However, the practical implications are more the reverse.

Printing would be my favorite example.

Do the Android phones have to deal with the same sort of bad hack that the iphone uses?

Also, the need to jailbreak an iphone in order to put an ssh daemon on it is why that process is such a security problem. The MacOS version of doing the same thing is not nearly as troublesome.

Sometimes trying to "dumb down" something only makes it harder to get stuff done.

Re:Flea Market Analysis (2, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 4 years ago | (#31708058)

I think you just proved his point - the things that are difficult on the iPhone are the nerdy sorts of things that you and I might want to do, but which most people really don't. People ask me for technical advice all the time, and I've never been asked how to print from a phone.

Re:Flea Market Analysis (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 4 years ago | (#31707882)

Right you are! All of the handset makers using Android would just love to cater to a couple of thousand nerds who would rather spend an hour looking for a free solution than spend 5 minutes and 99 cents downloading a commercial one

First, I would consider that an insightful (if sarcastic) comment. And Apple has done well with understanding that.

That said, you've totally missed the point. Google doesn't give a shit if Namco, or even Verizon, can make a buck on their phone. Google only cares that Google can make a buck on their phones, and so far in their history, they have done so precisely by catering to their most valuable nonmonetary resource - "a couple of thousand nerds who would rather spend an hour looking for a free solution", or better yet, write their own and thus make the product more valuable to both geeks and non-geeks alike.

Re:Flea Market Analysis (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#31707686)

How convenient to forget that, with the arrival of Apple Appstore, the typical price of apps & games for mobile phones was lowered approximatelly by an order of magnitude.

Re:Flea Market Analysis (2, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | about 4 years ago | (#31707830)

You're so right... Check out this quote FTS:

Where this gets unusual is that of the 21% of Android users purchasing one or more apps, the average number of apps purchased is 5[1]. That is 1.4 more apps per month than the equivalent iPhone user! ... I conclude therefore that a large proportion of Android users simply cannot purchase and download paid for apps to their phone. I blame Google and its appallingly poor management of the Android market.

How can he draw this conclusion? What about the possibility (as OP suggested) that Android users are simply less likely to pay for apps? I know I personally VERY rarely will buy one (I've paid for 8 in the 2 years I've been running Android)... What about the fact that Android has a 24 hour return policy whereas the iPhone doesn't let you return once you purchase (Which makes me question if out of the iPhone's more purchases how many are actually used continuously)... While I do think the app needs some tweaking (Different sorting, better category functionality, tagging, and a web front end), it's by no means appallingly poor... I think the target audience and company culture is the reason it's not as successful at sales (and that's not a bad thing for the ecosystem)...

Is it just me, or is this just another article written by someone who wants to be heard? How many articles have we seen about how Adroid's going to fail, and this is wrong with it, and that's wrong with it...? Yet as time goes on, it gets stronger and stronger. While I do think there's a lot that needs to be worked on, it's not going anywhere anytime soon regardless of what any of these blog writers think...

JMHO...

You mean like... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31707552)

Google needs to understand that a constantly evolving 'beta' product doesn't cut it

You mean like Gmail, Chrome, and a ton of other products that people use while in beta? Android's main strength is that it is open, cutting edge and changeable. A crappy interface or design on Windows Mobile is going to be slow to change, a crappy interface or design in Android is going to be quick to change.

Don't want something -slightly- unstable? Get a BlackBerry and its outdated architecture. Want something that is going to be nearly the same from beginning to end? Get an iPhone, but don't expect stability.

I had a Windows Mobile phone for a bit, it crashed so often I went back to my "dumb" phone before getting an Android handset that rarely crashes.

Android is doing the most things right at the moment. Windows Mobile is screwing customers by not offering software upgrades, Apple is screwing customers by not allowing them to use their apps, BlackBerry simply is a crappy environment to code for, and despite how much Palm wants WebOS to gain marketshare, it simply isn't happening.

Oh and never, ever allow OEMs, carriers or "trusted publishers" to take over app markets, otherwise you screw your customers even more. I don't want my carrier telling me what I can and can't have on my phone, same with OEMs and I don't want a "trusted publisher" removing all competition to their product.

Re:You mean like... (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about 4 years ago | (#31707620)

Indeed, Mr. ex-President of Namco Bandai Network Europe, is pissing and moaning that his team of MBA's can't setup some sort of rent-seeking control on Android's market and leverage synergies over 9000! So please keep the carriers away from the app store to avoid the Verizon crippled java scenario.

Re:You mean like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707622)

a crappy interface or design in Android is going to be quick to change.

I guess "quick" is relative, because the Buzz interface continues to remain terrible.

Don't want something -slightly- unstable? Get a BlackBerry and its outdated architecture. Want something that is going to be nearly the same from beginning to end? Get an iPhone, but don't expect stability.

I had a Windows Mobile phone for a bit, it crashed so often I went back to my "dumb" phone before getting an Android handset that rarely crashes.

Android is doing the most things right at the moment. Windows Mobile is screwing customers by not offering software upgrades, Apple is screwing customers by not allowing them to use their apps, BlackBerry simply is a crappy environment to code for, and despite how much Palm wants WebOS to gain marketshare, it simply isn't happening.

Oh and never, ever allow OEMs, carriers or "trusted publishers" to take over app markets, otherwise you screw your customers even more. I don't want my carrier telling me what I can and can't have on my phone, same with OEMs and I don't want a "trusted publisher" removing all competition to their product.

You mean like Gmail, Chrome, and a ton of other products that people use while in beta? Android's main strength is that it is open, cutting edge and changeable. A crappy interface or design on Windows Mobile is going to be slow to change, a crappy interface or design in Android is going to be quick to change.

Re:You mean like... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31707670)

I guess "quick" is relative, because the Buzz interface continues to remain terrible.

...People actually use Buzz? I'd expect that if more people started using it they would fix it. Right now, Buzz is simply like Facebook only with a tiny amount of people. Why would I use Buzz when I can use Facebook and find people that I know? Buzz isn't a failure in interface, it is simply a useless product that is attempting to compete with Facebook. Chances are, Google knows this and simply is hosting it to keep their shareholders happy.

Re:You mean like... (4, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#31707712)

Also, whoever said that Google does want to be a threat to Apple? Granted, Google is a corporation and corporations like to make money, but that doesn't mean they have to present a direct threat to any other company. It always seemed to me like Google just did what Google did because:

A) It would be good for Google.
B) They thought it would be really helpful and/or cool.

I mean, sure, Google made a competitive product with the iPhone in releasing the Android architecture. They also made a competitive product with Mozilla in releasing Chrome. They also made a competitive product to Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Lycos mail, etc. by releasing G-mail. Hell, now they are even getting into a market where they seem to want to compete with companies they've never even had contact with. Look into the types of business decisions they are making with regards to alternative energy technology and power management technology. Then of course there are their products that weren't really designed to compete with anything, but were meant to bring an entirely new product to the market. That is, they developed Google, their search engine, and Google maps/Earth to bring about products that really were so polished and impressive that they completely revolutionized the way we work.

So, yeah, Google has some products on the market that compete with Apple. That doesn't mean they want to threaten Apple. Hell, I'd wager that doesn't even mean they want Apple to fail So far as I have seen, Google seems to foster the notion of fair competition through product development, rather than other, shadier, business practices like embrace, extend, extinguish. That is, Google may not want to the threaten Apple or anything else. It seems to me that they just want to innovate and be creative. That's why I've always respected them. They don't intend to shutdown competitors. They just intend to be on par and/or better then them. So why make assertions that Google needs to threaten Apple? It doesn't need to do that at all. So far as I can tell, Google just needs to keep on doing what they are doing and people will continue to use their products if they find them to be superior. It's that simple.

Moral of the story? It seems this guy's discussion is founded on the baseless assumption that all corporations/businesses prefer a monopoly/severe-market-dominance over a healthy competing economy. I don't see where that assumption is ever verified or validated in any way. That makes the whole damn thing dribble in my opinion.

Re:You mean like... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31707746)

Exactly. While Google wants to make money, a lot of their actions show that they want to simply make the web better, money or no money.

Re:You mean like... (2, Insightful)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 4 years ago | (#31707892)

Exactly. While Google wants to make money, a lot of their actions show that they want to simply make the web better, money or no money.

to be more accurate imo, they want to make the web better, because they believe growing the entire market will by extension grow their piece of the pie.(hence making them more money)

Re:You mean like... (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 4 years ago | (#31708126)

Mod parent up. Insightful as hell.

GP could also have included as non-threatening products Google supported / bought:
  • SketchUp
  • Google Voice

Seth

Re:You mean like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707970)

>Windows Mobile is screwing customers by not offering software upgrades
Blame the carriers.

A) Recertification of a new OS version on a phone costs both the manufacturer of the phone and carriers money (each re-certifies independently). You already paid for the phone, they have no incentive to spend the money.
B) Carriers see OS upgrades as a disincentive to buy a new phone and lock you in to another contract

I'm still waiting to see how Android avoids this death spiral.

Re:You mean like... (1)

caerwyn (38056) | about 4 years ago | (#31708370)

... or blame Microsoft or the handset manufacturers for not pushing the carriers for this. Apple manages to release fairly regular OS updates for the iPhone, and AT&T seems happy to re-validate the new software; Microsoft, at least, should surely have enough clout to manage the same.

I'm not saying the carriers don't have some responsibility, but they're not the only ones at fault here.

Re:You mean like... (1, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708074)

You mean like Gmail, Chrome, and a ton of other products that people use while in beta? Android's main strength is that it is open, cutting edge and changeable.

And with no charge to purchase or monthly service charges. People will put up with a lot more shit for free than when they pay. The for pay version of gmail is not bleeding edge constantly changing.

Don't want something -slightly- unstable? Get a BlackBerry and its outdated architecture. Want something that is going to be nearly the same from beginning to end? Get an iPhone, but don't expect stability.

Okay, now your fanboy shines through. Stability in my phone is #1. The fucking thing has to work. I've had an iPhone since a month after the initial release. I've not had a crash, a lockup or any other sort of issue except typing on the keyboard ... after I dropped it and put a massive crack through the face ... so its hard to get one particular letter to pickup that happens to straddle the line.

Either way, that aside, the fact that you're arguing that its exceptable for a phone to be unreliable blows me away. That is truely fucked up. Your argument for Android has turned into 'it sucks but not really much worse than anyone else!!!!'.

Android is doing the most things right at the moment. Windows Mobile is screwing customers by not offering software upgrades, Apple is screwing customers by not allowing them to use their apps, BlackBerry simply is a crappy environment to code for, and despite how much Palm wants WebOS to gain marketshare, it simply isn't happening.

Before my iPhone I had an HTC based WinMo phone for 2 or 3 years, never once did I give a flying fuck about a new version of Windows for it. They were out there and easy to get and install, most people don't upgrade JUST BECAUSE there is a new version. 99.999999999999% of the population isn't as retarded as most 'geeks' in this respect. All this does is makes it harder to target the device. Fragmentation isn't a good thing, regardless of what Linux fanboys think.

Yep, Apple requires you purchase through the AppStore that they control ... and you think thats bad ... except ... everyone else in the world prefers it over any alternative. Look at the combined android device sales figures, compare them to ... well anyone really. I was going to say Apple, but Android would be a lemon in this case so its not a fair comparison. Back to the point however, how is Apple 'screwing' customers? Because they require that the apps get some sort of oversight? Because they do at least some rudimentary checking to make sure the app isn't something bad and at least somewhat sane? You're arguement is that Android is better because you can get shittier apps because there is absolutely no oversight? Seriously? Really ... how many apps can you think of that you would actually use that Apple has denied that you can get on your Android device ... 1? 2? and ... if you weren't a Geek what would that number be? 0? -2? This argument is based on an issue that is only an issue because you use it for a battle cry. No one REALLY gives a shit in the real world.

The only compelling reason to buy an Android device is the Google name. Its not special or unique in any other way, but there really aren't any unique phones out there, everyone copies everyone, its just a question of how refined and polished the end result is ... in which case I REALLY don't think you want me to start going into details about Android now do you?

Now its clear that I'm an iPhone fan, no doubt there, not trying to hide it. I do however develop software that happens to run on the iPhone and BlackBerry. We've ported portions of it to Android, but unless something spectacular happens it'll never finish. No one here likes them for various reasons. Its sad when your company offers employees new 'cutting edge' phones for free in order to test its software on the new devices and people either flatly turn them down or take them only to bring them back in a month because they don't like them. Personally, I'd take a Android device over a BlackBerry, but I'd still take WinMo over both, and the iPhone would be #1.

Geeks may like android, but its pretty much impossible to build a business based on Geeks alone. You go ahead and rant about how everyone else sucks and Android is the one true god ignoring the fact that you are in an extremely small community of believers known as fanatics to the rest of the world. Go on and continue thinking that its the best thing in the world because of a few 'features' that people don't actually care about. Continue being a fanboy and watch how well it works. Continue making your battle cry 'but I can run anything I want on it' and maybe eventually you will realize that while thats great from an idealogical standpoint, its fucking retarded from a practical standpoint, and practical is what normal people actually care about. Android will have its niche until Google gets done with the idea and stops screwing around with it, but it'll never be more than a niche.

Re:You mean like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31708152)

Windows Mobile is screwing customers by not offering software upgrades

So, exactly when is the T-Mobile G1 getting Android 2.1 instead of 1.6?

Re:You mean like... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#31708258)

On hand mail, search, chrome are free to the user products. Like broadcast TV or radio, if half the stuff is crap the one user is not going to complain all that much. For free we will use the half that we like, and generally ignore the fact that it is majority crap. The only issue is when someone comes up with a free product that has a slightly smaller percentage crap, or a product in which we pay a bit to get much less percentage crap.

OTOH, phones are not something we get for free. Even if we do not pay directly for the phone stack, we do pay for the phone. And even if Google has chosen to deny it has anything to do with the phones, the Google brand does appear on at least some phones. This means that we are now paying for a Google product, and as such have higher expectations.

Look at it this way. When everyone was getting MS products largely for free, no one cared that everything was junk. It did what we needed to do, and it was all but free. A lot of people do not believe this was the situation, but I knew of offices where there was one Office license for dozens of machines, and this was back in the very late 90's. It was only when MS began to forcefully insist that firms fully license products that everyone really began to complain about the MS crap and we saw movement.

Carriers (5, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 4 years ago | (#31707564)

Lets think about this, carriers love to nickle and dime you to death, hate anything that gets in the way of this, and only wish to allow enough function to sell stuff. The LAST thing the droid needs is the carriers getting involved. All I want from my carrier is fast reliable service. Some of my least technical friends have droids and after a few days of hating them they come to love them.

Re:Carriers (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31707630)

Exactly. How hard is it to provide decent data, voice and text communications? Stop trying to get phones and integrations and let customers buy their phones at other places and use their service. You know, for all the money Verizon and AT&T have spent in their dueling ad campaign I think they could buy and deploy several towers to actually give their customers decent service.

Re:Carriers (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#31707666)

How hard is it to provide decent data, voice and text communications?

Set up your own wireless network and get back to us on how easy it is.

Re:Carriers (0, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31707692)

Ok, give me a few million dollars, all of the technology already developed and I will. It is hard to -start- a cell phone company because the initial costs are high (similar to an ISP), but once you get going, towers and the like are cheap when compared to when you are first starting.

Re:Carriers (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 4 years ago | (#31708108)

Of course, you can always start an MVNO. (Mobile Virtual Network Operator.)

Piggy-back on someone else's network and agreements, and provide your own customer service and billing and such.

Re:Carriers (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708140)

No, not really.

The initial costs basically amount to negotiating a deal with the other carriers to piggy back on their towers initially.

I can think of at least 3 local independent companies that do just that, and they have prices lower than the main carriers across the board. They've had unlimited voice/data plans for years at $50/month. The main carriers still aren't there, though I do believe at least one of the local ones has jumped up to be in line with the ~$70/month voice plans of the major carriers.

There is no barrier to entry currently other than 'it takes work'

Re:Carriers (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708088)

Some of my least technical friends have droids and after a few days of hating them they come to love them.

Citation needed.

My experience has been the exact opposite. They love them right up till the 'new' wears off.

All software releases are evolving betas ... (2, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 4 years ago | (#31707574)

But some companies pretend they are not.

But maybe the author is right, and evolving betas do fail. Like GMail, Firefox, Chrome, GNU/Linux, they were all public evolving betas, and they all failed. Ah, wait, they didn't They are very successful, and keep gaining market-share every day.

Off course, other software that wasn't ever in public beta state, like Windows, Oracle, Photoshop, was successful. Ah, wait, they were Public betas too, just the companies behind them pretended they weren't. And they failed and succeeded at the same rate as the other more honest approaches.

All software evolves, and all software goes through a very long Beta period. Changing the label doesn't really change anything.

Re:All software releases are evolving betas ... (1)

KamuZ (127113) | about 4 years ago | (#31707792)

I completely agree with you on this one.

It is like people using a software version 0.3 for example, they automatically say "Oh, it is not mature, lets wait for version 1.0". So if they grab the same product but label it as 1.0, wow, suddenly everyone approves.

I mean, when was the last time you got the "final" Windows version and realized you need patches and service packs? :)

Re:All software releases are evolving betas ... (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708170)

GMail and Firefox are successful. Chrome is only doing well because you get nagged on the google search page if you aren't using it. Linux is only successful in the server market, and its fighting tooth and nail for that.

Linux is too fragmented to take over and actually set the standard rather than chasing it. Chrome will disappear into obscurity the instant Googles attention turns elsewhere.

You and I have different definitions of 'beta', but to me it seems that beta has no meaning to you ... as you follow Google far too closely to tell the difference. Let me give you a hint: The OSS world doesn't really know what a release is. That includes Google. Its all more of a collection of nightly builds where occasionally they stop for a few days (maybe even weeks!) to fix bugs rather than implement new things halfassed.

Re:All software releases are evolving betas ... (1)

chickenarise (1597941) | about 4 years ago | (#31708256)

Post splits its first sentence between subject and body? Check.
Post capitalizes the first letter in the body even though it's in the middle of a sentence? Check.
Post starts multiple sentences with a conjunction? Check.
Post misses punctuation? Check.
Post uses "off course" instead of "of course"? Check.

Post uses "was" but means "were"? Check.

In short, your post has some grammatical errors :).

How to Search Android Market from a PC (5, Interesting)

anonsdo (1779824) | about 4 years ago | (#31707634)

You *can* search the Android Market from your PC, without having an Android phone.
1. download the Android SDK
2. start an Android Emulator, this gets you a virtual phone that uses your PC's internet connection
3. load the Android Market application on to the Emulator
4. Open the Android Market application
5. Search the Android Market

This is not an easy process. But, I have done it, and it works.

Re:How to Search Android Market from a PC (3, Funny)

revlayle (964221) | about 4 years ago | (#31707664)

... and, it's not that much worse than installing iTunes!!

Re:How to Search Android Market from a PC (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708184)

Or ... you know ... just using a web browser ... you know you can view the apps from the Apple AppStore in a web browser ... RIGHT?

Far easier than installing iTunes JUST to browse them.

Re:How to Search Android Market from a PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31707904)

Orrrrrrrrrrr you can go to:

http://www.cyrket.com/

http://www.androlib.com/

Both of which are wayyy better than what you have suggested.

Re:How to Search Android Market from a PC (2, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 4 years ago | (#31708180)

With such a simple process, you wonder why people buy so many more iPhones (and apps for them) than Android phones and apps.

Limited Availability (3, Insightful)

DarkXale (1771414) | about 4 years ago | (#31707646)

I think the biggest problem with the Android market at the moment is its somewhat limited availability. You can't purchase apps in Sweden for example, and there are quite a good number of Android users here. Naturally, thats also going to skew the numbers that the article is using. You can't expect Android phones to have the same number of apps-purchased-per-phone, when a large amount of phones don't actually have that access to begin with. I think thats the point that the article is trying to make, although it doesn't do a very good job at it.

Orwell, is that you? (2, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | about 4 years ago | (#31707656)

... and hand over the entire management of the Android Market to carriers, OEMs and trusted publishers.

Wait, is this guy implying that carriers are to be trusted publisher? They have tighter sphinxes than Apple does - how would this help consumers reach applications when phones purchased via said carriers disable functions on the phones they resell, just to charge extra money to re-enable them? (e.g. charging extra monthly fees so that their consumers can use GPS on their phones- which does not require any interaction with the cell towers, let alone the phone company!)

OT: Re:Orwell, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31708002)

It's "sphincter" dammit.

Compare:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphinx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphincter

Re:Orwell, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31708018)

> They have tighter sphinxes than Apple does

No wonder that lion thing is always depicted as being rather pissed off.

Re:Orwell, is that you? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708200)

I think he's really just trying to say that anarchy isn't going to work and just about anything would be better than anarchy as far as the general public is concerned. Even at the cost of being ripped off more often than we already are.

Android is the evolving choice. (1)

Rog7 (182880) | about 4 years ago | (#31707668)

I'm considering buying a Nexus One right now and I really appreciate that Google has given us this other choice to the overly-controlled Disneyesque land of phones.

If this article's advice were followed, what exactly would distinguish Android from the other smartphone OSes? What would we need more "me too" phones for?

I do think the Android Marketplace could be better organized, but the answer isn't to copycat Apple's iTunes app store. For me, I'm tired of swimming in the sea of shovelware apps as Apple presents them, so I'd really hope that Google evolves theirs into something better.

In short, a bunch of sameness isn't what I'd like to see.

Re:Android is the evolving choice. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708228)

Copying the AppStore in what respect? I do think its safer for the general public to have an Apple like model than anarchy.

But other than that specific point, the AppStore is kind of shitty. I never find apps I'm interested in on the AppStore, browsing it is just crappy and finding new apps that may be interesting to me is practically impossible without a third party.

The Apple AppStore is rather shitty from the usability perspective at this point imo, but its REALLY REALLY hard to argue with the numbers.

Extremes? (1)

MirthScout (247854) | about 4 years ago | (#31707708)

'If Google is to present a threat to the Apple App Store ecosystem, it needs to address discovery and purchasing as a matter of urgency, or abandon control and hand over the entire management of the Android Market to carriers, OEMs and trusted publishers.'

So, Google need to step up and do something right or do something a thousand times worse?
Just my opinion but that seems like a pretty extreme pair of options!

Re:Extremes? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708254)

Welp, when you take a look at the rest of the world ... what you're saying is 'a thousand times worse' seems to be doing about a million times better than the current implementation that Google has.

So yes, they really do need to either do it right or take the other route. Their current route doesn't have a pretty path in front of it unless frustration is something you find 'pretty'

Wrong. (1)

exabrial (818005) | about 4 years ago | (#31707718)

Sorry, but no. Lets review all the reasons android has 'failed' (and by fail, I mean gain a large market share):
  • No one will use a Java based, open source operating system that removes carrier control and so will crash and burn
  • The word 'Android' doesn't carry the Google brand and so will crash and burn
  • Android won't possibly break into the corporate space and so will crash and burn
  • Google is undermining it's vendors by releasing the Nexus one and so will crash and burn
  • Android is suffering from a hysterically massive 'platform fragmentation' and so will crash and burn

If the writer of the article would maybe stop and search the android market for 'android app discovery' he would find a bunch of apps that do what he thinks is missing. Appaware is probably my favorite. Perhaps sometimes it's better to let competition to breed excellence in this matter, rather than have a 'standard' dictated by an authority.

What android really needs is people to quit suggesting it be ran like the status quo. Or perhaps the author is past his time and doesn't understand why kids won't get off his lawn. We the people do not want the carriers to be in charge of phone appplications. Carriers need to focus on improving their crap networks rather than throwing money at ridiculous loss generating activities like the author suggests. Soon everyone will associate their phone with a manufacturer, rather than a network... similar to they way you run say 'I run Windows', not 'I have a dell... yep'.

Another thought, since everyone is perfectly happy with Apple's app review process, why don't we bring that over too?

Re:Wrong. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708294)

Another thought, since everyone is perfectly happy with Apple's app review process, why don't we bring that over too?

Seriously ... you said that on slashdot? I agree with you, don't get me wrong, but wow ... I'm shocked. I didn't think there was any sanity left out there.

They'll need to do a lot more than just that, but thats one thing they most certainly need to do.

What google WANTS to do is get people using android, get the carriers doing all the hard support work for it, and then throw in advertising so they can sit back and reap the benefits.

If you think Google intends to do this long term you're sadly confused. Its rather clear from the way they are handling it that they want to push as much work as possible off to everyone else.

They are cheaping out and not putting their full effort into it, and that makes it just like every other device out there so there really isn't a reason to buy it over any other phone ... except you can almost rest assured that a future update is going to bring advertising into your phone. That doesn't mean to not use it, but its just something you should be expecting.

I kind of agree. (1)

Hallow (2706) | about 4 years ago | (#31707756)

I've been an Android user for over a year now. I kind of agree. Most of this isn't gaming specific though. Here's the problems as I see it.

The search functionality in the android market stinks. This is Google "king of search", but if you don't have the exact app name, good luck finding anything.

There's only 1 level deep categorization. Big hierarchies are a pain to manage, and some apps fit multiple categories. And it's hard to display a tree on a small screen. But only having 1 level deep makes it very hard to browse. If you don't know the name of the app, have a QR code, the app isn't a top 20, or if it's not updated almost constantly, it's almost impossible to find.

A desktop client for browsing, searching, purchasing, and installing apps, and perhaps other content (movies, music) would be helpful. Basically iTunes for android. DoubleTwist addresses some of this, but the market integration is in it's infancy (and I don't know that purchasing will ever work, unless google buys doubleTwist - hey, there's an idea!)

Not having any kind of review process in the market, there's a lot of shovelware, and a lot of ip infringing crapware. There's even been some malware. It's kind of like the wild wild west. Or the internet. Sometimes, being an "open" system isn't such a good thing from a user perspective.

Outside of the market, I think that divergent hardware is an achilles heel, not a strength. There's what, 3 or 4 iphone versions to deal with? Android runs on what, dozens of models (or will). With so many phones with varying capabilities, and os versions - not to mention bugs and quirks like the nexus one multi-touch swapping, some applications, especially games that like to get as close to the hardware as possible are going to be difficult to make portable.

Re:I kind of agree. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31708346)

There's what, 3 or 4 iphone versions to deal with?

It should also be noted that if you're running an older iPhone with a current OS, the app will never know the difference unless it makes an effort to check. This is good and bad. Its good because the app will run and appear to work. Its bad in that if you don't have a GPS you may not ever realize how shitty the location is, and you might not realize that the compass returns north all the time ... so you'll get unexpected behavior and probably not what you want, but the developer doesn't have to worry about it and can easily check to determine if the feature is supported. He doesn't have to check for the hardware, he just has to say 'hey, can I get GPS coordinates more accurate than a few kilometers?' Which ... the phone is happy to tell you.

Basically its like it should be. You don't have to deal with hardware or know anything about it, you just have to talk to the OS and use the approved API which Apple enforces with an iron fist.

As you said, 'open' isn't always 'best', and I think that extends beyond the user perspective.

Arrogant much? (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | about 4 years ago | (#31707764)

Google is doing just fine on there own. They are bucking norms and the consumers are rewarding them for it.

That being said, having the android market searchable online with a lot more filters would be nice; turning over control not so much. I really don't want to be tethered to Verizon's or T-mobiles wishes. I prefer the openness of the android platform. If I didn't want the openness I'd have bought and iPhone.

The feature i'd like (1)

postmortem (906676) | about 4 years ago | (#31707782)

Is having instant purchase. They should integrate ordering system with carriers, so when I click on buy app, it would bill my plan, instead of making me to type my credit card number.

That will increase sales as well. See amazon and their one click patent.

Android Flea Market (1)

kiehlster (844523) | about 4 years ago | (#31707864)

And I was hoping Google was getting into the market for android fleas. It's a highly untapped segment.

Android Paid Apps (1)

Jenova (27902) | about 4 years ago | (#31707878)

I conclude therefore that a large proportion of Android users simply cannot purchase and download paid for apps to their phone

Not all countries have access to paid apps right now. Google has to speed up on making paid apps available to these countries, otherwise the ratio of apps purchased may just stay that way.

There's an even bigger problem with the market ... (1)

sumbry (644145) | about 4 years ago | (#31707886)

There's an even bigger problem w/the Android Marketplace when accessed from your phone. It's possible for developers to write applications that wont work on your particular phone model. With only a few Android models now that's not that big of an issue, but what happens when that Skyrockets to 50 devices in another year or so?

I have a Nexus One and while I love it I routinely download applications that don't work on my phone. They'll either frequently crash, or wont fully startup, or just hang when run. Now I refuse to download any app that doesn't have at least 100 comments and I scan the comments for people reporting that it doesn't work on my model of phone.

This is a terrible user experience. I'm probably not the typical Android user and can figure out why an application isn't working but your average user can't. They're just going to bitch and complain that apps they're downloading don't work and that the phone "sucks."

Google has got to fix this. What's the point of having a centralized marketplace if you're not going to even verify compatibility? I was able to download a "Droid" Flashlight app that doesn't work on my Nexus - how ridiculous is that?

Re:There's an even bigger problem with the market (1)

revlayle (964221) | about 4 years ago | (#31707908)

I think maybe a compatibility section for each app in the market would be a start, even if user reported

Android app store needs consistency (3, Insightful)

papasui (567265) | about 4 years ago | (#31707960)

You can't buy 100% of the applications on any android phone. For example on my wife's Motorola Backflip she can't get Google Goggles. Sit right next to her on the same network using a different Android phone we can download it. Other applications such as Facebook and Pandora are resolution limited and won't work on certain phones. Now you can argue that its up to the developers to make applications that work across the board but perhaps it should be a requirement for getting listed on the Android store. Either way, I currently have 2 Android phones in my house and an iPhone3GS. The iPhone is the one that I use the most.

Paid Apple Shill (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 4 years ago | (#31708218)

"Apple's iPhone and iTunes combination represents a near-perfect convergence of concept, design, usability, technology and commerce in a highly polished, well executed package."

Yeah, this 'article' isn't biased or anything. My droid runs twice as smoothly and even faster than my brother's iPhone.

I have no problem finding apps, and if I want something some misinformed developer wants to charge me $20 for, there's probably a slightly less-used version available for free somewhere. I have more entertainment on my phone than on my actual computer now, and I didn't pay a cent for it.

Android Market is not designed for sales. (1)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | about 4 years ago | (#31708338)

I would guess that Google shrugs off "Just 21% of Android users purchase one or more paid apps per month, compared with 50% of iPhone users". A lot of the free apps are ad-supported. Google bought AdMob which seems to be the dominant way to deliver ads to Android phone apps. From Google's point of view, having lots of free ad-supported apps is just fine. I agree with O'Neil that the incentives for investing in development for Android are bad now, but that must be more a function of the smaller number of Android devices out there than the Android Market working poorly. More Android phones will get released and there will be more money in the pot for developers.

A more sophisticated search interface to the same selection of Android Market games would be good. I feel like you need one interface for newcomers, (the current one) and another interface for power users, i.e. Let's see all the titles from one publisher or have some tags or subgenres to look through. Still, I have never had much trouble finding anything with keyword searches. So I don't know what all the whining is about.

Hardware compatibility is a BFD, and yeah, it's only going to get worse. Unsophisticated developers will always be inclined to test just on whatever phone they have. And there is no practical way to make Android SDK developer-proof at this point. I don't want the solution to be filter-by-hardware queries on Android Market. It is possible to write one app that runs on all devices, it's just that developers don't write the apps correctly. There might be some automated testing tools that run on the submission side that check for more obvious errors like "Force closes" on hardware X. Maybe also some sort of automated collection of it-works-on-hardware-x votes from users downloading an app will earn an app a certain gold star, which in turn can be used to filter out "doesnt-work" apps from an individual users search results.

But holy jeezus, do not do not do not let the goddamn carriers run the app store. Oh my god, the horrors we have put up with. If BREW were a physical object, I would happily defecate on it.

When I read this I though of Android itself ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31708384)

I didnt consider the market itself as Beta but the entire Android OS.

I own a phone, a HTC Magic. So far here on the DOCOMO Japanese carrier I have experienced;
    - 2-3 random crashes a day to the phone add (Forced Closes -> FC )
    - Slow to access dialer (JITting the Java again?, Pulling from ROM? )

    - Keyboard is slower than treacle in December
    - During MP3 playback mail/sms disrupts audio feed
    - No wake-up-on-alarm
    - API changes so an Android1.6 app wont always run on all devices.
    - No APP assurance testing, resulting in Apps that lock/brick or otherwise destroy the plasure.
    - No way to track apps
    - ... 10-20 more but my hands are tired from typing.

So the phone itself is Beta, I am as yet waiting for the day when someone puts down a class-action together against them for deceptive marketing.

I love linux, I love Google, Android is a nice idea but extremely rough.

Then there is the market entry plan, seems bad in USA - Japan, its virtually non existant. Shocking given how well they could dominate Japan with the right O/S.

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