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Android Gets Carrier-Operated European App Store

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the we-like-this-app-you-like-this-app dept.

Cellphones 89

Andrew Smith writes "Android fragmentation begins: EuroDroid reports that Vodafone will launch an Android app store in June, to fill in the European gaps where Google hasn't yet launched the official Android app store. Worrying quote: 'All apps will be pre-selected and tested by [Vodafone's after-sales processor] Arvato Mobile for compatibility with our devices.' Just a few days ago Slashdot covered the suggestion by Barry O'Neil, ex-president of Namco Bandai Network Europe, that it could be wise for Google to 'hand over the entire management of the Android Market to carriers, OEMs, and trusted publishers.'"

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oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801096)

this will kill android.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801106)

It will just boost sales and at the same time hurt the customer.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801416)

Welcome, Android users: sit back and watch the Applefication of Android. I do believe I see a wall going up around your 'Android will kill Apple' garden.

Re:oh no (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801510)

I do believe I see a wall going up around your 'Android will kill Apple' garden.

Huh? Surely this is the antithesis of Apple's approach, the new store will be in addition to the Google one. Choice, choice! You can use either one, the walled one or the unwalled one!

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801640)

It's right in the summary:

All apps will be pre-selected and tested by [Vodafone's after-sales processor] Arvato Mobile for compatibility with our devices

Not in addition to, but instead of the Android Marketplace.

Re:oh no (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802364)

I can't see where in the summary or the article it says that the phones won't also carry the standard Market.

Re:oh no (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803720)

it doesn't, but the "DEAD ZONES" are places where there is no access to the marketplace

Is it really fragmentation? (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801112)

It seems to me that Vodafone will simply be another repository for android apps - except that they decide what apps to show. What would prevent anybody else from just duplicating everything but the apps over which Vodafone has copyright control?

To me, this seems more like Vodafone creating a windows app store: yes, they control what is shown, but I can still go to download.com, private sites and individual developers to get Windows apps. Same thing for Android. Well, except for those who have Vodafone phones... I'm sure there'll be some trickery on there to prevent users from getting apps from anywhere but the Vodafone store.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801170)

Firmware added to "their phones" that only allow users to purchase from their app store. Apple cut the carriers out of the market with the iPhone. The carriers aren't going to let Google do the same.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801256)

Actually (posting two replies to the parent here), most carriers would *love* some lock in somehow. If people switched carriers because a certain brand of app is only on their store, it would be an answer to a dream.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801374)

Yes BUT - carriers would then start hosting more apps to prevent people from switching over to other carriers. That could be good for the customer...

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (3, Insightful)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802300)

no, the carriers are just too crap to manage that.

they'll tie themselves up in 'appropriate bandwidth usage' and 'brand compatibility guideline' and 'independent testing certification' and 'no external linking policy' and a bajillion other crap requirements that make it impractical or too expensive for independent developers to list their apps.

try listing something at the Orange app store. I jumped through the first few hoops. Then they wrote to me and said they liked my app (for Denmark mind - not internationally). They told me to write to one of their third party suppliers who handled hosting and included two contacts in the email.

I wrote to both (with the orange email attached). One ignored me. The other told me that they don't do that kind of business.

After a couple of emails, the second one agreed that they do do that kind of business and sent me a huge pack of requirments that I have to fill in. Including testing (for which they bill me if I don't generate enough revenue in three months), a bunch of spreadsheets to fill in, and the deal that ends up with me getting about 30% of the sale price.

Popcap will jump through those hoops. Independent developers mostly won't.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805980)

WHAT?! They take 70% of the revenue for YOUR work!?

HFS that is awful dude.

I wonder if sites similar to getjar.com will become popular and host android apps. And also I wonder if google will allow installing apps from non google/carrier managed app stores, unlike apple who only allow installing from apple app stores.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807802)

Sounds like to me...you arent a big enough player (ie read...my friend does have a small software company that does jump through those kinds of hoops and does well...so do i as a small MoR Manufacturer of Record of motor vehicles. yes its a pain but guess what....this is required to play the game.).....if you cant comply with the regulations imposed by the regulatory bodies and the makers...then you cant play the game. Remember youcan always go out your own way...but when riding on the coat tails of others products....LIKE THIS...you must play by their rules. Sorry but this is exactly the reason Apple is doing what it is....it is the one maker who is changing the way its done...granted it may not be in the way you wanted it to go...but guess what...until you people start making hardware/software and getting it to market.....and getting it accepted by the masses....all you can do is come here and bitch.....but nobody cares...because until you do what they have done....you DO NOT MATTER....oh and should you go through all those things to get into the market....you will be just like they are,.,,,,i Silly /. nerd herd........go change the world rather than bitch about how others have done what you think you deserve to do but wont.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

Luthair (847766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801572)

To be honest, I doubt that would be the main reason they'd want carrier run stores; I imagine what they'd really like is a share of application sales.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801404)

At least you can buy the phone unlocked and able to do anything from Google and then take it to any provider. It'll be interesting to see what people actually go for, the open android market or their locked up provider's market since they will have a choice if they want it.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802060)

carriers are just dumb pipe carriers. They want more easy revenue but if they don't contribute, they won't see any revenue.

As an example, verizon has apps that are free but require people to pay extra on their account to use (visual voicemail).

Vodaphone trying to nullify the entire app store will ensure that either a: nobody gets apps from vodaphone or b: nobody buys the phone.

I can't forsee this ending well, even if vodaphone does a good job with it.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806774)

It's that sort of knee-jerk reaction that allowed carriers to get their lock for so long. On the contrary to what you're saying: Apple showed the way. Google *knows* they can bypass the carriers and they'd be foolish to have the same knee-jerk reaction as yours and allow carriers to defines the rules of the game once more.

Google: $180 bn

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801178)

The other shoe may drop soon. Already some Android devices lock out "sideloading" of non-Market apps. Other devices are rumored to lock out both sideloading and access to the phone via ADB, both in an effort to prevent people from rooting the device, and as a way to limit options.

So, I can see some cellphone providers (not naming names) locking out all app stores and ADB on their devices, then only allowing apps to be downloaded from their store... and of course the apps are not going to be free.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31802310)

Then, er, uh, I don't know... get a phone from somebody else?

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805064)

Strangely enough, everyone expected Verizon to be the one to do this, but no, it was AT&T.

Don't go not naming names. Let people know which phones to stay away from.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801186)

"Worrying quote: 'All apps will be pre-selected and tested by [Vodafone's after-sales processor] Arvato Mobile for compatibility with our devices.'"

What they really mean:

Worrying quote: 'All apps will be pre-selected and tested by [Vodafone's after-sales processor] Arvato Mobile for compatibility with our business model.'

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802312)

and Arvato will skim an extra 20% off the revenue.
-And Arvato will have painful testing hoops you have to jump through
-And you'll probably have to pay for the privilege and pay again every time you upgrade.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801188)

Maybe they will do the same as AT&T did with one of their latest Android phones, and restrict the phone to just that store, preventing you from installing software from other sources - unless you root it and install your own version. Which probably will count as a violation of contract or something... ah freedom.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801190)

Exactly, this isn't fragmentation at all.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801296)

Well, except for those who have Vodafone phones... I'm sure there'll be some trickery on there to prevent users from getting apps from anywhere but the Vodafone store.

And before you know it, Orange, T-Mobile, etc have all done the same, and there is your fragmentation.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802608)

Where is it?

On Windows, I download applications from where I like. On my 5800 I download applications from where I like. Same as I did on my V980, or my Amiga years ago. No one criticises how every platform in the history of computing, except the Iphone, has worked.

Not to mention that it's still speculation by the OP that Vodafone will be locking their phones down. Both my aforementioned phones are on Vodafone, and they've implemented no such restrictions. And "app" store that they supplied is in addition to this.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803922)

I'll note that Verizon (45% owned by Vodafone) locks down all of their dumbphones, partially by using BREW instead of J2ME.

Everyone else's J2ME phones, you download whatever the hell you want. Maybe you'll get a warning, but at least on the phones I've tried it on, it works.

BREW? Nope. With BREW, applications have to be signed by the carrier to run.

And, the reason why carriers want this... they want to control how much data you use by making it impossible to install data-hogging apps.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 4 years ago | (#31804282)

Exactly, this is just another option for users.

More importantly, this allows more people to sell their apps. A result of Google's failure to allow developers in many other countries to sell on the Android Market. Devs want to sell their apps, and since Google isn't allowing them, Vodafone is stepping in. It's a win for everyone except Google. But at least the platform is open, which allows this to happen. On Apple's platforms, the devs and users would simply be screwed.

Re:Is it really fragmentation? (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807032)

The way i see it if Android doesn't do it the Carriers will if the Carriers don't do it the manufacturers will do it (of course in this case iPhone wouldn't pose this problem) but for Android whose to stop Motorola from setting up an App store.

Eventually it will become a cat and mouse game, Voda will sell Android over the iPhone if they can make money out of the Apps, if Voda can make iPhone drop their pants or perhaps partake in a partner agreement so much the better for them.

Whatever the case maybe, iPhone/Android, they'll all eventually be closed environments controlled by whoever at whatever level, this is inevitable. Worse yet, if one Carrier does it expect all the others to follow suit in the hope to make the extra revenue.

As for the download.com watch that get blocked by the Carrier, worse yet watch them put preventative measures into to the "already" open environment to stop one from installing the open apps. Just like Apple stops flash from being used (cause its a means to circumvent the app development) so too will any open applications sets for Android.

The bigger the Android phone gets the more the incentive to value add comes with it, the byproduct is the lesser levels of innovation we as the consumer will receive. This is essence of big business at its finest.

What it boils down too, is if a bunch of geeks who want to make their own Fart Apps for Android get bent out of shape nobody (except them) are really going to care.

Sometimes geeks think they make up such a large part of societies thinking that their opinions on technology shape it, when will we learn that its pretty much the opposite to that and technology sales are governed by what sells, not whats technologically better.

What about the rest? (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801114)

What about the contries that have neither Vodaphone or Android paied apps :(

Re:What about the rest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805726)

slideme app store

FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801116)

OMFG talk about FUD. How does having options on where to purchase software qualify as fragmentation? I can understand the logic of developing for different hardware platforms being possibly difficult but having alternative sources of software can be nothing but a plus.

Re:FUD (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801200)

Having multiple stores is what nearly killed Windows Mobile until 6.5. The fact that users had to dig around and search for apps, find a website to download the .cab or .exe file, then install it manually made impulse buying of stuff (a big source of cash) impossible.

The nice thing about one app store is that if one wants an app, they can search for it and find it in one place. This also makes it easier to handle funding and selling of apps.

Having multiple app stores just means it is harder to find what one wants. Is the app on one cellular carrier's store and nowhere else? Is it on the generic Android app store? This also means that an app maker has to deal with multiple stores and their ways of handling purchases and returns.

Re:FUD (2, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801272)

Especially when different stores have different pay out rules. If android has umpteen different stores where you have make X in sales before they pay you vs. Apple's model of one place where we at least know the rules....we'll take apple.

But even with our current apps, the download ratio is about 300:1, iphone:android versions. Even blackberry to android is 22:1.

Re:FUD (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801856)

Especially when different stores have different pay out rules. If android has umpteen different stores where you have make X in sales before they pay you vs. Apple's model of one place where we at least know the rules....we'll take apple.

But even with our current apps, the download ratio is about 300:1, iphone:android versions. Even blackberry to android is 22:1.

How do you know that? you can measure the apps that I installed from the web? Oh apple doesn't let you install apps from the web? maybe that's why the store has more purchases.

Re:FUD (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802692)

Wow, the second to least popular company in the mobile market is more popular than a company that's even less popular than it.

If you're a commercial company, maybe you could read the rules of the different stores, and choose the best? And I'm confused - on what basis do you "know the rules" for Apple, and not any of the other stores? Oh yes, that's right, because you did read the rules.

And heaven forbid, maybe you could have a website for people to download your application. Commercial stores that take a cut should be in addition. Are you actually a developer, or are you just making this up? If everyone acted like you, one wonders how people could ever have released software without Apple to hold your hand:

"But how can we possibly release an application for Windows, without Microsoft to allow us to release it on their site, and take a cut!"

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31804560)

That is true. But you are assuming all Android devices will always have the ability to be used in ADB mode. This may be taken away in some devices, if the cellular carrier is greedy enough.

There is nothing stopping someone from making an Android device that has adb disabled, a very restricted app store (where each download costs a couple dollars, even for apps available at no charge on other markets), and no ability to sideload apps.

Just look at the battle for root access, and the arms race to lock device owners out from UID 0. Now picture this on a closer front to ensure users are only able to use apps and items "approved" (and thus costly) by a cellular carrier.

Re:FUD (2, Insightful)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802638)

Having multiple stores is what nearly killed Windows Mobile until 6.5. The fact that users had to dig around and search for apps, find a website to download the .cab or .exe file, then install it manually made impulse buying of stuff (a big source of cash) impossible.

It also made it a viable platform for internal business applications. As far as I can see, Apple does not provide a mechanism for this, and WM7 taketh it away.

Re:FUD (1)

gcerullo (1573093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803280)

Actually, Apple does provide a way for companies to build and deploy internal apps that do not need to be distributed through the app store.

http://developer.apple.com/programs/iphone/enterprise/ [apple.com]

Re:FUD (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806188)

But only if they have more than 500 employees. In my experience, these apps are usually written bespoke by a smaller, outside company.

Re:FUD (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802660)

Correlation is not causation. If having multiple app download places is a problem, how come it isn't for Nokia at 40-50% of the mobile market? Or for the 95% of the market that isn't Apple? Or for 100% of platforms on the desktop?

The fact that users had to dig around and search for apps

Um, no, you're confusing things. By all means have a store where it is easy to find applications, but I fail to see how an additional store makes it hard. And I fail to see how using Google or just visiting the website is harder than using an application store's search engine. Any half decent bog standard phone has been doing web access for the last five years now, if your phone can't handle that, that's a problem.

Is the app on one cellular carrier's store and nowhere else? Is it on the generic Android app store?

Blimey, I wonder how you ever managed to use a computer with questions like these. Do you even have any applications other than those installed by the company you bought your PC from? I remember when Slashdot used to be a place for computer geeks - not anymore.

Re:FUD (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803940)

In this case, we're talking about a carrier app store, at the exclusion of all other app stores.

So, you can only download Vodafone-approved apps.

This would be like buying a computer from AOL (I know AOL doesn't sell computers, but bear with me here,) and they only let you install applications that they feel don't use too much bandwidth, or that they can make enough money off of. For example, you'll never see a torrent client, and you might see a streaming movie program, but only if the developer charges a large monthly fee (that they get a significant cut of) for it.

And, you'll have to jump through major hoops to get your app approved by the Vodafone app store, most likely, and only get a small cut.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805280)

Phones are not computers.

Windows Mobile for years, one would go to vendor websites, grab the .cab file, a .exe wrapper, or even just an executable to slap on the phone. However, times have moved on, and the market for smartphones has changed from executives and technical people to Joe Sixpack.

Joe Sixpack doesn't want to look through Handango for an app for a game to play while stuck at an airport. Instead, he wants to fire up a store on the phone, pay a couple bucks for a Bejeweled or Tetris clone, and download it. Instant gratification and one stop shop.

Yes, the /. readers are smart enough to Google, grab an .apk from a Web site, run adb install and go on. But one reason why Apple is a leader in phones is the pure convenience factor of firing up an app, clicking on a game, downloading on it, and running it. Joe Sixpack just wants to play a game and does not care one whit about phones that are locked down. He just wants to point and drool, and has no interest in root or any other functions other than what are handed to him. And most of the market for an app store are people just like Joe Sixpack.

Re:FUD (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805618)

Actually, you can download the .apk on the phone and automatically install it. As far as I know, that's not possible on the iPhone. I think this is an important feature. Also, I like that I don't need iTunes to install my apps.

Re:FUD (1)

dingram17 (839714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803516)

I think the Soviets tried the 'one store for anything' approach, as memory serves I don't think it worked too well.

If you don't want any choice in where you get your apps from, buy an iPhone. Presumably since you have an Android phone, choice, flexibility and openness matter.

I've bought programs for PalmOS and Windows Mobile (5 & 6) from PalmGear, PocketGear and the like. It wasn't difficult, payment was straightforward and 'it just worked'. Perhaps if people find that too complicated then they need to get an iPhone, and make sure they get rid of that complicated PC and buy a Mac and only use the software that Apple provides (since it would be too complicated to go shopping for anything else).

Re:FUD (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806000)

Having multiple stores is what nearly killed Windows Mobile until 6.5. The fact that users had to dig around and search for apps, find a website to download the .cab or .exe file, then install it manually made impulse buying of stuff (a big source of cash) impossible.

What you describe is having no stores, not having multiple stores.

The nice thing about one app store is that if one wants an app, they can search for it and find it in one place. This also makes it easier to handle funding and selling of apps.

Do you seriously expect any app developer to submit his apps to this Vodafone market thingy, but not to Google's Market?

Re:FUD (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31814560)

But not even Apple has a single application store.
The one I access, which is the Swedish store, does not have the same applications as the UK store or US store has.
I had a bug in my Iphone for a while where it would always connect to the UK store when opening the "App Store" application. When trying to buy an application, even free ones, I'd get a message that I was not allowed to purchase applications in this store. It was really annoying when the application I'd found wasn't available for purchase in the Swedish store, which happened from time to time.

Personally, I don't see much difference in having country-specific stores with similar but not identical content and having operator-specific or brand-specific stores with similar but not identical content.

Actually, there might even be some benefits to having operator-specific stores, since these can reside inside the operators network and could thus, if the operator so chooses, offer application downloads without a traffic fee.
(Like how many operators offer free SMS or voice traffic to other handsets inside their own network.)

No app store in Europe? (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801124)

What? I live in the Netherlands and my Android phone has this "Market" thing. If that's not the Android app store then what is it?

Re:No app store in Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801158)

One would imagine the Netherlands is not one of the "European gaps" this article talks about. I know it's Slashdot tradition not to read the article before commenting but are we now refusing to read even the summary?

Re:No app store in Europe? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801236)

You should listen to your own words.

From TFA:

> The Vodafone "Android App Shop" is slated to arrive in The Netherlands, Germany,
> Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK this June, and will be part of
> Vodafone's 360 package on some new Android phones.

Guess that's why you post AC.

Re:No app store in Europe? (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801330)

Thanks for pointing this out - I'm currently in the market for an HTC Desire (though am still tempted by an iPhone), and Vodafone was one of the providers I was looking at. The apparent 500MB/month data limit was already putting me off a bit (compared to T-Mobile's 3GB one), but this probably clinches it for me.

Re:No app store in Europe? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801366)

In Netherlands. Try gsmweb/2call/phoneplaza, they have unlocked handsets on all networks (including Vodafone). I've got an unlocked one on Vodafone and have the standard App Store.

This probably applies to locked handsets.

They'll just disallow anything which uses lotsa bandwidth & VOIP on locked handsets.

Re:No app store in Europe? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31804048)

Of these, Greece, Ireland and Portugal are not on Googles list of 13 countries that can access paid apps on the App Store.

Re:No app store in Europe? (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801306)

I know it's Slashdot tradition not to read the article before commenting but are we now refusing to read even the summary?

I'm not even going to read what you said before quoting you in this comment

Re:No app store in Europe? (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801266)

Not all european contries have access to the paied apps in the android appstore. On that note, maybe htc should get theit head out of their a*** and start shipping my Desire some tine soon :p

Somehow ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801126)

... this will be Apple's fault.

Re:Somehow ... (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801160)

The 7th. comment and already Godwin's law!

Advantageous to non-nerd vodaphone customers (3, Interesting)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801180)

So Vodaphone customers can buy apps that have been tested on their device and without paying by credit card (I presume it's harder to steal money from them this way). Of course, if you can't use other app. stores, then this might be a problem. But I wonder if Google would allow companies to use the Android name if it cannot connect to their marketplace.

If anyone has more info on whether it will be the only app. store configured/configurable, please let us know.

Re:Advantageous to non-nerd vodaphone customers (2, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801400)

I suppose it makes sense - there's an 'app store' for android, but what about stores for apps that are built for a particular device, or have capabilities offered by a particular carrier?

In these cases, I think its a good thing to allow multiple app stores for the phones. Android is not like the iPhone in this regard - but then, if you have an iPhone, there's only 1 type of device you have.

Not fragmentation (4, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801218)

When you say that a software ecosystem is fragmented, it means that applications written for one target device/distro/whatever, won't work on another without changes. The degree of fragmentation is how much effort is required to support each target.

Having separate app stores does not create fragmentation, as any user can still get the applications elsewhere. This is like saying the sky is falling because Walmart and Target both exist and sell different products, rather than there being one official retailer at which all comrades must shop. There is convenience in having everything in one place, but it also has problems with consolidation of power. This can be abused to force people out of the market, as Apple has demonstrated wonderfully. Even if the one true app store has an open and fair policy at first, time changes everything, so the ability to get apps in other manners is essential.

For the convenience of their customers, Google should open the main app store to worldwide ASAP, but it does take time to wade through the legalities of that. Till then, these other repositories can fill the gap, and the fact that they can exist at all is great.

Re:Not fragmentation (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801378)

Fragmentation comes from who owns the app store in question and how they'll act. Do you honestly think carriers won't block other app stores from their phones that aren't making them money? Apple has shown them the forbidden fruit and now they're all lining up to take a bite out of it.

Re:Not fragmentation (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802710)

Let's see your evidence for this FUD? My 5800 is on Vodafone, and I can download applications from where I like.

It's hilarious trying to watch Apple fans claiming "Look, everyone else will be as bad, too, honest!" Anyway, I thought the locked down "app" store model was supposed to be a good thing, according to Apple fans, right?

Re:Not fragmentation (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808536)

There's more than one kind of fragmentation. One is certainly the sort you're talking about (and that's the one that did the most damage to J2ME). But another is fragmentation of the market. If most Android device users get used to only buying from whatever app store is the default on their own device, how many business relationships is a developer going to have to maintain in order to sell their wares? How many distinct certification processes are they going to have to go through?

With the degree to which Android is open, I do not know what leverage Google has for preventing operators and handset manufacturers from locking applications out of their devices.

You'll be free, Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801222)

...You'll be free.

Android Theme [gnu.org]

You Should Not Care (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801264)

Why should we care what happens to Android or the iPhone or the iPad or the WebOS?
Let us stop worrying about our stupid, little telephones.
There is so much more to think about, things worthy of our consideration.

Of facade openness (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801288)

This shows yet again that no matter how open the consumer device is, as long as the carrier operator does not endorse some sort of net neutrality, openness will be only superficial.

Meh. (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801292)

This i almost like comparing the Linux community with just Ubuntu's software centre. Things on Ubuntu are going to work on Ubuntu, other apps might not. This is just going to help compatibility.

Carrier operated? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801344)

Yikes! These are the same guys that want to charge you $$$ for a 10 second ringtone when you already have the entire song on your phone?

No thanks.

Re:Carrier operated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801458)

You sir are missinformed. Ringtones usually have 30 seconds.

Mobile carriers are the cancer killing humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31801408)

Can you imagine ISPs telling you when you can upgrade your PC OS and what applications you can install?

It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (3, Insightful)

InakaBoyJoe (687694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801796)

"Android fragmentation begins"? I don't think so. It's in full-swing.

Seems like every week some marketing dweeb comes up with the brilliant idea to create yet another app store. Motorola [motorola.com] and Lenovo [jlmpacificepoch.com] have their own, as does China Mobile [dailyradar.com] . That's not even counting the dime-a-dozen independent entries with names like Handango, Cellmania, AndAppStore, MobiHand, GetJar, Nexva, SlideMe, etc. etc.

I am an Android developer, and get an email every week from yet another app store. Each has its own custom requirements and contract overhead, and they expect us to do the work for free for the "privilege" of joining their flock and whatever scheme-of-the-day they are concocting as their business plan.

No thanks. I dump those emails and stick with the Android Market. For all its flaws, developers need to show solidarity and work towards improving it. The alternative is to give away your work and place it in the hands of the likes of wireless carriers, who will continue their land grab game at the expense of the developers, innovators, and consumers.

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801896)

What app developers need to do is just what the parent has done. Just stick with Google's app store, and don't try to peddle their apps on other markets. This way, customers always come to one place, rather than check one store and not others.

Oh, and even though I've not seen the contracts the other stores have in place, I'm sure the terms are a lot worse than Google's. I'm sure a lot of them require a certain threshold before someone gets paid, lots of fees and gotchas, and maybe even a requirement of exclusivity, where any apps put in their store can't be put anywhere else.

For the sake of the Android platform, just say no to that. If there need to be specialty app stores (say an app store which caters to people looking for utilities for rooted phones, or an app store which caters to pornographic apps,) that is understandable. However, stores which completely overlap market segments are pointless at best, and seriously damage the Android ecosystem at the worst.

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (2, Insightful)

Svenne (117693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802524)

What app developers need to do is just what the parent has done. Just stick with Google's app store, and don't try to peddle their apps on other markets. This way, customers always come to one place, rather than check one store and not others.

No. What Google need to do is to enable that part of the market for the so called European gaps. The first Android mobile phone marketed in Sweden was the HTC Magic, and that was back in February 2009. It's been more than a year and Google still has not made paid apps available on the Market.

Before that happens, I'm all for independent market places filling the need that Google for some reason doesn't.

Maybe this will speed things up. One can at least hope, even if Sweden wasn't on the list of countries supported by Vodafone's store.

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

InakaBoyJoe (687694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31804172)

That could be a valid argument, IF this Vodafone app store was indeed "to fill in the European gaps where Google hasn't yet launched the official Android app store" -- as the summary says.

But that's false. According to TFA, ALL of the countries targeted by Vodafone [eurodroid.com] are ALREADY supported by Google Market [google.com] . That is (from TFA): The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

Android apps can be downloaded in an executable format, just like desktop apps. So why the need for an app store?

Answer: Every good MBA is salivating at the thought of owning the eyeballs, billing, becoming the search engine, and slapping their brand on top of other people's apps. Remember the early days of the web when a gazillion "portal" sites tried to copycat Yahoo? It's the same situation here, a land grab of wannabe Apple iTunes imitators. To them, it doesn't matter that they are late to the party -- they propose some incremental benefit over Google's store and try to get everybody to come to the party at their house.

The actual innovators in mobile are the app developers, who are flat-out competing on ingenuity in a very difficult marketplace. Yet these overlapping app stores are trying to pit developer against developer in an attempt to control the market. It's a classic divide and conquer strategy, and the big loser is the user.

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

Svenne (117693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807754)

ALL of the countries targeted by Vodafone are ALREADY supported by Google Market. That is (from TFA): The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

Well, except for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

The thing is, I as an end user don't care about what's keeping Google from opening up the market. It's not like they've gone out of their way to offer alternative methods of payment, say for example associating your credit card with your google account or something like that. For us end users, all we know is that we've missed out on paid apps for a year, and there's no light at the end of the tunnel as far as we know.

Maybe some day, in another year or two, paid apps will be available for us, but if alternatives has popped up to fill that gap I'm all for it.

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806010)

Well, Google obviously isn't locking out countries because it just hates the funny languages spoken therein or something. I presume they need to make some legal arrangements first, especially so in EU with VAT and other such stuff. And maybe they also run afoul of some local privacy policies?

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803982)

What app developers need to do is just what the parent has done. Just stick with Google's app store, and don't try to peddle their apps on other markets. This way, customers always come to one place, rather than check one store and not others.

How do you suggest I come to that one place when Google does not offer access to it from where I live, even for free apps? SlideMe is at least accessible to everyone (I can't speak for any of the others, as when I looked around SlideMe seemed to be the only alternative source with a decent range of apps and a decent cataloging system).

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802744)

I take it you've never been a developer for desktop platforms. If everyone had had your attitude, one wonders how people ever managed to write software for computers, with all the so-called "fragmentation". "Oh no, all these millions of websites that people can download applications for Windows, how will I as a developer ever cope! And there isn't even an official Microsoft Store to save poor little me!"

Re:It's not "beginning", it's in full-swing (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805852)

If you think the mobile device market is anything like the desktop computer market, you're grossly ignorant.

I can't blame them (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801892)

Android based phones have been available in my country for over a year now. Google still hasn't gotten around to enabling paid apps for this region.

Yes, I know it's because of Checkout, but I honestly don't care at this point. They've had enough time to get Checkout going, if they can't be arsed to do that they should use one of the gazillion payment services that already _do_ support this region. Just let us bloody buy apps!

Wonder when the standards will emerge? (1)

wertigon (1204486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802298)

I wonder when all these gazillion different app stores realises that they're just repositories and as such, they should just fix one (branded?) client that uses repositories similar to how synaptic/apt works? It's bound to happen sometime.

Re:Wonder when the standards will emerge? (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805676)

Where's the money in that?

all because Google's market is crap (2, Interesting)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802428)

I'm sure the carriers would attempt to muscle in anyway, but there would be less room for them to make this move if Google did a better job with the market.

Here are just a handful of ways the market is crap

1) No way to browse on the web and download to your phone. I can't even post an http link to my app that will work on the desktop and on the device*.
-Apple does it through iTunes
-Palm does it by sending you an sms link to your phone

2) Actually, you can't even browse the appstore on your desktop without going to some third party scraped site. I challenge you to find VLC Remote on the android.com/market

3) Developers have to price apps in the currency they live. Seriously - I live in the UK, so you have to buy my app for £x. It's insane. And particularly after apple have demonstrated a simple tier-based model that is simple for consumers

4) Loads of countries just can't buy stuff. If this is hard for you google - just talk to Mobihand or one of the many mobile app-store companies who have figured out how to take international payments

5) Even if your country does support sales, the international billing means that credit cards keep getting declined (us credit cards don't want to authorise $1 for an international sale via google checkout).

This would be excusable for a few months as the store rolled out.
It is long past a joke now.

*I built a site that at least lets you create an http link for your android app which will work on the device and on the web.
http://and-download.hobbyistsoftware.com/ [hobbyistsoftware.com]

Re:all because Google's market is crap (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802502)

sorry to reply to my own comment - but this is pretty insane.

the whole android app info is stored in the android market - but while you can flick through a couple of pages of top apps; you can't search.

Seriously - Google has created a site with a crap load of info that you can not search.

Better than that - It isn't even indexed!

I tabbed through some of their apps and found one called JETCET PDF. You can see some of the details and screenshots.
Googling for JETCET PDF site:android.com gives a couple of results which do not show JETCET PDF

how does that happen?

Re:all because Google's market is crap (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847346)

Confused, I hope this will be useful to you: www.appbrain.com ^_^ That site really helped me out.

Blame the Gooooog (2, Interesting)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803998)

So I've been trawling the android forum, and apparently the lack of market app in certain countries is due to the carriers removing the market from the firmware. Reflashing the firmware apparently includes the market irrespective of location:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Android+Market/thread?tid=77c72b9d5214d01b&hl=en [google.com] .

also worth noting (for those of us with the market) - check out ePetition Open Android, a petition to google to ensure everyone gets the market

Fragmentation begins? (1)

gig (78408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805062)

I don't think fragmentation is just beginning on Android. Half the phones run v1 and updates are rare. It's fragmented!

One reason businesses are cool to Android is the malware. Until there is an app store with an approval process, businesses are going to stay away from Android. So these guys are going in the right direction with apps.

But the phones can still only hold a small number of apps and there's still no C apps.

are the iCretins submitting "news" now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806364)

As it's clear this iCretin knows nothing about Android....

You can use ANY or multiple marketplaces, you can even install your APK files from SDCard, unlike some other fruit based handsets that are locked down..

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