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Google Hiring Android Devs To Close the 'Apps Gap'

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the think-of-what-they-can-do-with-more-than-one-button dept.

Android 323

jfruhlinger writes "Google is reportedly hiring Android developers specifically to boost the number of apps available for the platform. Obviously there's money to be made, but the search giant is no doubt also driven by the gap between Android and iOS apps in both quantity and quality."

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Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060486)

This would take a lot of work, but what might be helpful for Google to do for making Android apps is making a source code conversion tool that would take Objective C code and convert the API calls to the equivalent Java calls.

Of course, this will take some doing because the Dalvik VM is a different beast than Objective-C (take the activities concept for example.) However, it would get software companies to at least dip a toe into the Android waters.

please don't (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060544)

The problem is that we would then get awful Android applications.
My provider (Bell Canada) as an application for Android, to manage your account. It is awful. Obviously ported from the iPhone, with the ugly buttons/tabs wasting space at the bottom and the "back" button at the top left. They forgot that Android had a "menu" and a "back" button. I bet there would be even more of these if there was a tool to translate objective-C to Java. Anyway, Java is a way more popular language than Objective-C, so I don't think the lack of developers is an issue.

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060560)

I don't think this will happen. Google would prefer it if devs shifted the focus from iOS to Android, the app you speak of would allow developers to continue focusing on iOS and port to Android as an afterthought. Android might just end up with slower iOS apps which don't really follow the conventions of android.

Android PDAs have no Market access in U.S. (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061006)

Google would prefer it if devs shifted the focus from iOS to Android

Then why does Google continue to require 3G support on devices sold in the United States before a device is allowed to use the Android Market application? For all the restrictions of Apple's App Store, at least iPod touch and iPad are allowed in, unlike Archos products which are limited to AppsLib instead of Android Market..

Re:Android PDAs have no Market access in U.S. (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061068)

I would assume that they want the carriers blamed for low quality devices.

Apple gets the blame for IOS devices no matter what.

Re:Android PDAs have no Market access in U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061192)

Up until very recently, Android was a cell phone OS. It isn't surprising that Google would require ... cellular connectivity to get their seal of approval.

Archos tablets are anything but official. The Motorola Xoom however is an "official" tablet, and a wifi only version has been confirmed. []

I bet it will have market too. You can't expect Google to be excited about every crappily adapted tablet. Be thankful that they allowed that crap to be made at all.

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (4, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060638)

I don't think such a tool would be worth the effort, particularly when even good versions of such translation tools almost always need to be heavily audited to ensure functionality, and most of the time the automated code is far less efficient than the original. I suppose you could take a "it's better than nothing" view of the situation, but realistically I don't think that flooding the Android market with a bunch of poor quality translated apps is going to be their goal when tackling the problem of low quality apps.

That said, I've never noticed a problem with it personally. As an Android and iPod Touch user I've never found a gap in what I could do on one vs the other.

The ONLY thing that I find better on the iPod isn't really an app on that side: the music player. The default music player on my Android phone is clunky and hard to use. It works much, much better on the iPod. On the other hand, the podcast functionality of that built in music player pales in comparison to what I can do with DoggCatcher on my Android phone.

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (2)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060856)

Yeah, it's an iPod. I hope its music player is much, much better seeing as iPods are built to be music players. There are lots of examples of this, but I am too lazy to think of a good one

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061114)

I haven't seen any music specific device with a better interface than various audio players running on a computer, so I can't really say I follow your reasoning.

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060976)

"it's better than nothing"

Every single time I've seen this tried for anything even mildly complex it has turned out to be worse than nothing, not better. Once you have all the logic figured out, reimplementing in a new language generally isn't that hard to do. I've never understood why dev managers focus on conversion of code, when the hard part is already done.

App Inventor (2)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060656)

Wasn't this why Google developed the App Inventor, but then didn't let people actually sell apps developed with it in the App Store?

Re:App Inventor (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060950)

You are not prohibited from selling App Inventor apps in the App store. You can't make them ad supported, and you can't put any secure DRM on them, but you can sell them. It's simple.

Create a developer account.
Create a keystore

download your packaged Appl inventor app
Unpackage it
edit the manifest to fix some bugs
rebuild the package
sign it
zipalign it
upload it

Just because google doesn't have a one click way to add these apps to the market yet, doesn't mean they are preventing you.

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (1)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060660)

Good idea and perhaps may I suggest an Objective C to the Go language converter? My crystal ball says that Google is going to be hurt by the Oracle lawsuit and as a consequence will switch over to Go and the primary language.

I'm also wondering if they'll use a runtime or compile straight down to the metal (LLVM anyone?).

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (2)

robmv (855035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060848)

And kill Android the same way Windows APIs on OS/2 let people code for Windows and make people use the Windows APIs and not the native ones. Steve Jobs is not dumb trying to force everyone to use only their tools and APIs (evil yes, but not dumb), If you want something like it, it will not come from Google. There is a tool to do that in reverse direction [] but that will never comes from Apple, no matter if the application numbers and quality iOS vs Android is reversed

How about the opposite? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061062)

There's an XML-based cross compiler that does Android->Objective C []

Re:Perhaps an Objective C - Java tool? (2)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061172)

What good would that do? It's not like Java is some esoteric language and software companies can't find anyone to write Android apps in it. Or, if you're implying that this conversion tool would let you port iPhone apps to Android, the programming language isn't the main barrier to that. It's the completely different APIs.

Figured I'd get this out of the way... (3, Funny)

TheChief (164671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060494)

Mr. President, we must not allow a app gap!

Increase demand or demand an increase? (2)

xx_chris (524347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060526)

This sort of reminds me of that Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon (I think) where they speed up the car by moving the speedometer. Alternatively, Google could just concentrate on building a platform that doesn't suck.

Re:Increase demand or demand an increase? (1)

eclectus (209883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060718)

Amen to that! I have found the major applications that I need, However, the many annoying interface 'features' are really irritating me. I can only sort contacts by first name, I can't type in initials to get a contact, calDAV not supported natively, quick contacts cannot be renamed, I could go on and on....

Obviously? (5, Interesting)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060558)

Obviously there's money to be made

As a developer, I would like to be shown what makes it so obvious. Every developer I have asked says similar, if you cant get an application that's heavily used you wont be making much money in the Android platform, and then you will very likely make most that money through advertisement.

I honestly want to see actual analysis that show that developing for Android is really an obvious money making path. I am very aware that there is no certain success in any platform. Seeing comparisons of cross-platform titles and showing the Android equivalent making more money would be the best example. Maybe the web is full of Apple Fanboi propaganda, but I just cant find any success stories in the Android Market that rival the iOS equivalents.

Re:Obviously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060724)

The point is to make money FROM Google by working there doing the most uncreative job ever:

copying the work of others.

It's what Google did with Android to begin with. Now they're going to hire a legion of developers to rip of the best selling apps from iOS.

Yeah, Go Google! Do no evil!

Re:Obviously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061034)

You're an idiot. Android was in development as early as 2005, far far far before the iPhone was ever seen.

Re:Obviously? (1)

ray_mccrae (78654) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061214)

Go back and look at Android circa 2005, and you'll find it was nothing like what shipped. Back then it was just a rip off of the BlackBerry. It was only when the iPhone was release that Android change who it was copying from. []

Re:Obviously? (1)

rreay (50160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061230)

And what did Android look like in January 2007 when the iPhone was announced? I dunno, but I found photos from January 2008. []

Red Hat and Canonical too (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061038)

The point is to make money FROM Google by working there doing the most uncreative job ever:

copying the work of others.

It's what Google did with Android to begin with

I don't see how this differs from the work of developers of the Linux kernel and applications in a GNU/Linux distribution. Do you also call FSF, Red Hat, and Canonical uncreative?

Re:Obviously? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060756)

I can't imagine that it's any more or less of an obvious statement than iOS apps being an obvious money maker. Clearly angry birds is making money on both platforms. Most apps languish and don't make any money. I don't think this is really all that different from the rest of the software world with regards to success vs failure, though perhaps more pronounced since there's SO MANY dinky little phone apps out there.

Re:Obviously? (4, Interesting)

B1ackDragon (543470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060946)

Clearly angry birds is making money on both platforms.

I think this interview may be interesting, given the reference to Angry Birds in particular:

Peter Vesterbacka, Maker of Angry Birds Talks about the Birds, Apple, Android, Nokia, and Palm/HP []

9. Why did you decide to make the Android version free and is that going to change any time soon?
“Free is the way to go with Android. Nobody has been successful selling content on Android. We will offer a way to remove the ads by paying for the app, but we don’t expect that to be a huge revenue stream.”

Note: that article is something like two months old now, things may have changed since then for them.

Re:Obviously? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061202)

I read something about 6 months ago, I dont have the link handy, but the article said that iPhone users spend a lot more money on Apps per month (per person) than Android users. Among the folks I know, this seems to be true. I can't say why, it may have to do with the people (iPhone users have more disposable income than folks buying the cheepest Android phone just to have a smart phone) or it could be because the iPhone is more locked down and more people are pirating apps on Android phones or it could be something else entirely. But it is quite possible that there is simply more money to be made in iPhone app development and that wont necessarily change just because there are more Android devices if the per-device money available is much higher on iOS devices.

Of course there is nothing to say that this trend might not change, but if developers know the money is on iOS they will make more apps there, which might lead to more sales of iOS devices.

Re:Obviously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060922)

Actually, Angry Birds makes more money through advertising on the Android platform than from all other platforms together.
Rovio said so.

Re:Obviously? (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060990)

Hard to say. I have an android phone and an iPod touch. I hate to pay for apps on those devices but then I hate to pay on any device. Thing is I will pay if the app is good enough.
On the iPod Touch I think I paid for three or for apps. On my Android phone I paid for four apps.
Three are games from EA that where on sale for .99 cents. One was a podcast catcher. that was like $4. I only paid for the ipod catcher because it was the only one that I liked and did what I wanted it to do.
Some programs like Angery Birds I would pay for just to get ride of the stupid ads.Others I don't use enough to pay for.
I think it is more of a cultural thing. People on the iPhone/iPod are used to paying for stuff in iTunes. The rest of us want free because well free is free.
What I want to know is what apps are missing?
Not counting games I do not really see any big gaps in the app store for Android.
Facebook check
Twitter check
Pandora check
TuneIn Radio check
Last.FM check
email check
Gmail check
All sorts of compass and GPS apps check.
Evernote Check
Drop Box check.

So what does iPhone have that Android doesn't? Now some of the special apps like the one for OnStar and such are missing but that would take the providers allowing the app.
Maybe Google is going to offer to write them for big companies.

Re:Obviously? (2)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061190)

Yes, apparently it's difficult to make money off software that doesn't get "heavily used". It's a feature.

I don't want 500,000 apps on my phone. I want about 20, and I want them to work really, really well. This has implications for the software industry.

filter crap (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060564)

How about they make they audit the existing apps and get rid of the crap.

Re:filter crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060620)

How about we breathe deeply and take a second to see if the sentence we just typed makes sense?

Re:filter crap (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061146)

How about they make they audit the existing apps and get rid of the crap.

How about we breathe deeply and take a second to see if the sentence we just typed makes sense?

How about Slashdot figure out how to allow someone to edit comments. I've made the same mistake as the parent myself - I've started typing a sentence, then editing or copy-and-pasting to change the sentence and ending up with something non-sensical that I didn't notice until after I submitted (I'm a terrible proofreader of my own writing, I know what I meant to say so that's what I read).

I've heard that some databases these days are no longer wrote-once and actually allow you to edit content.

If they are worried about people abusing comment ratings, erase positive points upon editing to keep someone from posting a +5 comment and turning it into flamebait with an edit.

Mod parent up (3, Informative)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060924)

I really haven't had much use for the Android marketplace, but I did decide I wanted to check out what Angry Birds was all about. Going into the marketplace and searching for "Angry Birds" returned an absolute mess of results. As a user, I shouldn't have to weed through all of the crap to find a well-known application, especially since Google is first and foremost a search engine company.

Quanitity over quality (2)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060582)

Most of the applications that I want already exist. There are a few specialized apps that I may need to wait around for from various service providers (Comcast is one of them), but I don't necessarily think its a great idea to close the gap via spamming the app store.

What did you have before Android? (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061224)

Just because you have everything you want, doesn't mean that there won't be some killer app that you never thought of that will come along later. Also it doesn't mean that someone else doesn't want or need apps that don't exist on Android. Sure there is a lot of App store spam for iOS, but there are also tons of gems.

Getting people involved and excited in development is a good thing for developers and consumers. You get more competition with iOS in both perception and reality, and competition within the Android Market. The last thing I want is for Android developers to sit on their laurels and say "oh well App X is the best right now, I don't need to ever make something else." Why? Because it means nothing else will ever be better. Sure you'll get lots of misses, but you'll end up with some great hits too.

Thanks to iOS, Google released Android to compete. Never underestimate the power of true and proper competition.

Re:Quanitity over quality (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061256)

Agreed, the Android store doesn't need greater quantity, it needs more polished *quality* apps. Overall I've found that IOS apps seem to be more polished than functionally equivalent Android apps. There are 30,000 apps in the Android app store, which makes it unwieldy already - how many fart apps does the market really need? How about a good web interface into the app store that I can browse from my desktop. Just because I own an Android phone doesn't mean that I want to use it for everything - I'd much rather browse the app store from my desktop where I have more screen real estate.

oh yes please can i get some more fart apps (2)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060584)

because that is really whats missing from the android app store. all those "awesome"iOS apps that a single developer makes 30 copies of and spams the market with.

Re:oh yes please can i get some more fart apps (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060684)

I don't need an app to make fart noises; I have a 10-year old child for that!

Re:oh yes please can i get some more fart apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061204)

I'm sure you would have said that about grindr.

Re:oh yes please can i get some more fart apps (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060706)

What's missing are apps that aren't wrappers for Google apps that 200 different "programmers" throw together. I often find myself wishing that so many Android apps weren't cloud based since there is nothing more annoying than being underground and discovering my Spanish/English dictionary doesn't work now because I happen to be in a cell dead zone when I need to look something up.

No Market for Archos devices (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061080)

I often find myself wishing that so many Android apps weren't cloud based

Blame Google, which by and large doesn't (officially) let Archos tablets or other devices without 3G data onto its Market. If there were more Wi-Fi-only device owners buying apps, developers would have more of an incentive to make apps that work offline.

Re:oh yes please can i get some more fart apps (2)

CaptScarlet22 (585291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061254)

Yes, let's not forgot all those puzzle games on the Android market either. And here is a great game that just in...."Guess My Ass". WOW what a game! A must buy!!

Look...I have a Droid X and I have an iPad...Both are great devices. BUT...the iOS App store is lightyears ahead of the Android Market. The App exposer is absolute horrible on the Android market...Honestly it fucking sucks! Half the good shit is completely buried between garbage apps and ad all over your screen apps. I actually hate it..I've only purchased 1 app the whole time I've had my Droid (8 months about??). I've purchased a shit load on my iPad.....

iOS Developers can keep making those fart apps, because there will be 100 good apps to that 1 fart app on the App store. While there will be 1 good app to those 100 garbage apps on the Android market...Which you can't fucking find!!!

No disrecept to those Android developers and Google out there, but you need to step up your game.....

Great Idea (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060608)

Left alone, Google risks devs doing synergistic comparison studies and choosing iOS. However, if a big source of funding really amps up some quality apps, Android could kick into a new phase.

However, once again the wording of the topic seems a little odd. Why shouldn't the maker of a platform ... pay for some devs to write for it!? Isn't that covered in 80's biz school textbooks?

Because I'm unaware, I'll ask... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060676)

Because I'm unaware I'll honestly ask...

What *kind* of app is available on iOS that isn't available on Android? Games? I see plenty available for Android, maybe not the same ones, but they're available. Same goes for pretty much any other type of app.

Re:Because I'm unaware, I'll ask... (5, Funny)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060788)

I have yet to find an app for Android that converts my Android phone to an iPhone 4, which is really the only app anyone could ever want. :P

Best way to learn Android development? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060694)

Is there a particular book or tutorial one should read to get a jump start on android app programming? Obviously there's a lot of information out there, but I'm looking for a good starting point.

Assume the individual is experienced with both Java and C, but new to mobile phone development.

Re:Best way to learn Android development? (2)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060790)

Well since apparently I know nothing about Slashdot and convinced myself that I could post anonymously and not wipe out my moderation, I'm now free to respond to this. is simply phenomenal. There's helpful guides and code samples; I was able to go from zero mobile development experience and having used Java 7 years ago to developing my own app in a week or two of side project work.

The only time I really strayed from that site was while looking into alternative database frameworks and setting up unit and integration tests. In those situations google usually turned up good results for my searches.

Re:Best way to learn Android development? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060864)

Thank you for the helpful reply!

Re:Best way to learn Android development? (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060988)

Yes, their developer site is phenomenal and should be held up as a reference for how to properly document an API. It really does encourage me to write android apps. Now if I only had the time.

What PC hardware? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061110) is simply phenomenal.

I looked at this site. It lists the software requirements (Eclipse + JDK + some plug-ins) but not the hardware requirements. I have a cousin who tried Android application development, but it took ten minutes to start the device simulator on his laptop. How new and/or how fast do you recommend that a computer be for Android application development?

Cart Before Horse, Please! (5, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060708)

Android is the #1 shipping smartphone platform, a completely open system, with free, publicly available tools. You can do it under Windows or Linux (the later, being also free) - on cheap, commodity PCs you can buy from any vendor.

So maybe we should ask the question of exactly why it is lagging in the app department. Apple never ran out and hired a billion people to write apps - yet they have more.

Is it the language? (C-Like vs. Java)? The "sleekness" and appeal of the OS itself? The mere fact that it's been on the market longer?

I, for one, am an open-source fanatic. I work as a Linux/kernel development engineer, and think Apple is evil.

I also own an iPhone, and write iPhone apps in my spare time. Why? Personally for me, the phone and the OS are beautiful and elegant. I love the platform, and the outcome of my work - and it's easy too to make money with one appstore to have to sell it on (even if the Apple bastards take 30%).

I find Android slow, clunky, and Java-based SDK's (like Eclipse and the Blackberry dev environment) to be the same - where XCode is smoothe and elegant - even if I did have to go buy a Mac in order to develop for it!

So that's the reason why I develop for iPhone. My point though is the following: Answer the question for a majority of iPhone developers, and you'll discover the remedy to the problem - don't just think that hiring a hundred - or a thousand Android app developers will fix the gap!

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060768)

I, for one, am an open-source fanatic. I work as a Linux/kernel development engineer, and think Apple is evil.

I also own an iPhone, and write iPhone apps in my spare time.

The irony and hypocrisy here is thick.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (2, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060850)

Yes, that's the point. The iOS platform is SO nice, that it beats out any of the "intellectual" Android arguments about being "Open" or "Free" - or even it having a larger marketshare. I'm not going to have to walk around with a clunky, crappy, inferior smartphone in my pocket just because of "principals".

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060920)

Umm, isn't it the open-source mantra that you are supposed to fix open-source stuff to make it better than anything else on the planet? I guess I'm not a geek or current technophile but after having a "smart"-phone for a few months. I have yet to of found a use for it, and I could never justify the $80-100/mo that this thing takes in food. Thats the cost of a low-end mac every year.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061140)

Umm, isn't it the open-source mantra that you are supposed to fix open-source stuff to make it better than anything else on the planet?

As I understand it, Android phones tend to be Tivoized and need cracks to take a community ROM. So once the three-year DMCA exception for rooting phones runs out in 2013, where do U.S. residents expect to be able to install firmware that they have fixed in order to test it?

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060972)

I'm not going to have to walk around with a clunky, crappy, inferior smartphone in my pocket just because of "principals".

So either:
- You have no principles or
- Your principles mean nothing, being that they're as solid as wet toilet paper

Not that I'm necessarily talking about Android, I use an N900. But of course, so long as Apple can keep people discarding "principles" instead of sticking with them and pushing for "less evil" solutions, they win.

I still won't touch them, so long as they continue to dictate that open source is not welcome in the mobile space.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061014)

So you're unprincipled and you don't know how to choose your homonyms!

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061262)

It's written "principles", and if you're not willing to stick to them, you don't really have them.

The whole point of morality is overriding practical issues. If stealing goes against your morality, then you don't even when you could use the money and have something to steal within easy reach.

So you should pick one: either you don't really think Apple is evil, or you shouldn't buy their products.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (2)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060880)

Yes, but so is the honesty.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060970)

Sounds like a Fandroid skinned her knee. The OP was making a point about how supporting open and free, out of principal, wasn't making any money (which is one primary motivation for developing software). I suppose your rage blinded you.

Too bad.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (0)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060884)

I think the answer to the "why" question is that iPhone had apps first, and had the lead for so long.
The vast vast majority of iPhone apps are crap.

Google should create a Crapp-gen program that cranks out 100 CrApps a second, and they'd be caught up in no time.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060942)

Let my address that by making two points:

1. Apple does not just let "anything" on the AppStore. If anything, Apple gets more negative press about their censorship, and being too restrictive than how permissive they are.

2. "Fart" apps have an important place in the App ecosystem. Having the best apps in the world aren't what necessarily makes a phone interesting. Having a variety of apps is. You get a game - you play it - you get bored after a while - you delete it and get another game. That's what keeps the platform fresh. Not that you have one (or a couple) games that are soooo good that you'll play them for the next 5 years.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060898)

So maybe we should ask the question of exactly why it is lagging in the app department. Apple never ran out and hired a billion people to write apps - yet they have more.

The most likely explanation as to why there are more Iphone apps is because the Iphone has been around longer. This creates a vicious circle that Google is trying to break. There are more apps for the Iphone, so more people who want apps buy the Iphone, so more developers develop for the Iphone. Google is basically hiring developers to overcome the advantage in number of apps that the Iphone has as a result of it being on the market sooner.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060930)

XCode is smooth and elegant? LOL. Yeah right, it's buggy as hell and has a convoluted work-flow. I'm guessing you don't have much development experience.

Not that Eclipse is any better, it's sucks too, along with Java.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (2)

joshki (152061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060932)

It's all in the SDK and the polish that Apple offers and Google doesn't. Android's GUI development tools and stock widgets are absolutely horrid. I'll stick with Android anyway, on the off chance Google will ever get around to fixing it. That's where they need to put their money -- not in developing more apps. Make the platform inviting to develop for, and the developers will come.

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35060934)

Write your apps with the NDK, then, if you don't like Java?

Re:Cart Before Horse, Please! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061052)

Developers write more apps for iPhone because iPhone owners spend money on apps. Multiple studies have strongly indicated that the same is not true for Android users. Part of it is that the store is easier to use and find the app you want, but mostly it's because it's so much easier to buy, since it is associated with your iTunes account, which pretty much every iPhone user has.

The average iPhone user has almost 100 apps, about 1/3 are paid. The VAST majority of Android users have never *bought* an app.

It has little to do with iPhone getting there first.

iPhone app development was supported (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061220)

Apple never ran out and hired a billion people to write apps - yet they have more.

Sure, it wasn't Apple directly, they were definitely involved: []

That said, I do agree that Google needs to step up to the plate and curate their Market, if only to prevent Amazon from stealing all the thunder with their own appstore.

I don't buy it! (3, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060736)

With app stores having hundreds of thousands of apps, and with Google already having tons of loyal and enthusiastic developers, it seems unlikely that they would now decide to start hiring developers to write miscellaneous apps for their app store.

They know that the best way to get good apps into their store is to attract developers with a great platform, good sales figures, good dev tools, a good app store, etc. They are well aware of their weaknesses, including some aspects of their app store and platform fragmentation, and they are working on these issues.

These new app developers that they are hiring are probably going to work on some of the Google specific apps that needs (lots of) work. For example, their finance app still only supports U.S. exchanges (how do you think the rest of the world feels about that), and their Listen app has all sorts of problems and hasn't been updated in a long time. These Google apps have suffered as resources have been shifted to the core platform; now Google needs app developers to bring their own apps up to speed.

The market is at fault (5, Insightful)

MindCrusher (1249502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060740)

Maybe they would have more apps if the App Market place would work all over the word. Paid apps don't work in some European countries because there is no unified payment system like with Apple's App store. Although the Android user base might be larger than that of iOS Apple still has more paying customers. Google needs to see that the Market needs a serious boost in functionality. If revenue will increase developers will come.

You are not limited to one market. (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061182)

Fortunately, hosted on google code you can find "Market Enabler" which allows you to purchase from any regional market you like.

But I'm curious, what do you mean "no unified payment system"? Google Checkout is a pleasure to use compared to any other online payment method I've had the misfortune of using.

Hopefully, (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060770)

they do it in a more clueful way. There are Android apps (like email and phone), which are open source and come as part of Android, then there are Google branded apps (like Gmail and Maps), which are closed source and come from Google. I think I've gotten the examples right - even Google can't keep straight which are which. There's a bug reporter for Android apps, but not for Google apps. People were putting bug reports for "branded" apps on the Android apps bug reporter, and it took the Android team over a year to let people know that "they" weren't responsible for those apps. With that kind of disorganization, it's amazing that Android works as well as it does.

From a user's perspective, of course, it's a phone running Android from Google, and all the preinstalled apps are part of Android. But, there's some kind of artificial division between the people doing Android and the people doing Google apps for Android. I'm guessing that's because somewhere there's a developer in the Open Handset Alliance who isn't from Google and who isn't dedicated to customizing Android for a specific manufacturer/phone.

Application Idea (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060810)

I have a REALLY good idea for an smartphone app, but I'm not a coder. I have not seen anything close to what I'm thinking of. I'm not about to give my idea to someone. My idea is fairly simple, and shouldn't be too difficult to program. However I could be wrong on everything (probably am). I have ideas, just no coding experience.

Re:Application Idea (2)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060862)

So, learn to code, or shut up. Wish I had a nickel for every "great idea" someone made me sign an NDA to see -- all were ridiculous, no exceptions, and some were epically stupid. No market research (does anyone want this?). No realization that either it exists already, or has been done already and has failed because they didn't figure out all the consequences (intended or otherwise).

The idea that you can make money off an idea is bull. You make money off solving a problem, creating value. Ideas are cheap as can be. Results are another story. I've been giving away ideas my whole life, and selling the work to make them real instead. That works fine. Eye-pee is for morons.

Re:Application Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061088)

I'm not about to give my idea to someone.

Why not? You're not going to do anything with it and you're not going to make any money from an idea.

Can I see? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061168)

Can I read your specification online, with mock-ups of menu screens and descriptions of functionality?

They should clean house first... (2)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060816)

Not that I have an issue with hot babes, but there are a ton of pseudo-porn apps in the android market. Sometimes many by the same developer. If they want to raise their profile by catching up in quantity and quality, they should set some standards and use the rating system to remove some of the junk that's come to litter the market.

Over the weekend, I attempted two different "Lemmings" apps which were both garbage - all the reviews said they were garbage and I left my own saying the same thing. When an app gets nothing but negative reviews, it should go.

Re:They should clean house first... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060998)

That is the downside to a more open app store. Trust me there are trash apps on iPhone as well.

Re:They should clean house first... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061218)

ver the weekend, I attempted two different "Lemmings" apps which were both garbage - all the reviews said they were garbage and I left my own saying the same thing. When an app gets nothing but negative reviews, it should go.

As long as people continue to download them (and pay for them) in spite of negative reviews, they're unlikely to get removed - they're making money for both google and the developer.

Competing Against Microsoft/Apple/Google (2)

DLG (14172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060828)

A while back it was considered one of Microsoft's evil ways, that they sold an OS and the leading apps on it. It was considered an unfair advantage because they had access to api's and the OS writing team, with a greater level of access than other companies.

In the same way, people get frustrated that Apple has prevented other developers to publish certain apps that are similar to Apple ones. This has changed over time but at least for a while it was a key argument.

Now, Google is going to start competing against the app marketplace in a larger way.

Beyond just an admission that there is a lack of quality apps for Android, or that the economy of apps on Android is not yet mature enough to draw the larger scale development that has begun to focus on Apple (especially with games but also with productivity tools), this is now an 800 lb Gorilla. Can you write your killer app before Google does it and gives it away?

How long before Google starts buying small developers who develop cool multiplatform apps and then squelch their development on Apple?

Re:Competing Against Microsoft/Apple/Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061162)

A while back it was considered one of Microsoft's evil ways, that they sold an OS and the leading apps on it.

No it wasn't.

It was considered an unfair advantage because they had access to api's and the OS writing team, with a greater level of access than other companies.

Companies are free to keep their OS's closed and bundle apps with it and use private APIs. They aren't, however, allowed to use private APIs or bundle to gain an advantage when they have monopolized the desktop OS space. I know, I know, you don't understand the difference, don't care to understand the economics of monopolies and just want to attack Apple and defend Microsoft.

Now, Google is going to start competing against the app marketplace in a larger way.

Google has been making apps right along. This isn't any different other than they are trying to make the platform itself more popular by targeting areas where it is lacking. Apple did the same thing several times on OS X when a vendor cancelled the OS X version of some popular app. Apple stepped in, hired developers or bought a small company, dumped resources in and made good software. That's just good business. It helped Apple sell Macs and it will help Google get more Android phones purchased.

How long before Google starts buying small developers who develop cool multiplatform apps and then squelch their development on Apple?

It could happen, but then Apple could do the same with Android developers. It is unlikely though, as neither company wants to get into that situation.

Marketplace Filters (2)

joeshmoe554 (893618) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060830)

One of the developments desperately needed by android is a hardware filter for their marketplace. Since android is available on different phone models with different hardware, not all of the applications will work on every phone. I've read a few stories from developers that say they don't want to develop for android because they don't know what the results will be on a user's phone. If there was some sort of control on the marketplace that let a user only see applications that are supported by his/her phone it would remove some of the ambiguity developers face.

Re:Marketplace Filters (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061122)

Hell, the Apple appstore could use that, too. Sux to be the one that gets the hand-me-down phone. Try to download some nice shiny app, and get:

bzzzzt, doesn't work on your crappy phone, go buy a new one
bzzzt doesn't work on your IOS version, upgrade, which by the way, you'll need to buy a new phone for

buncha jerks

Hey, the wife thought she was doing me a favor by giving me a cool smartphone. She didn't realize what she was really doing was inflicting iTunes on me.

How about security (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060842)

I've stopped installing or even looking at new apps. The novelty of some new widget has been lost because every one wants full access to my phone calls, SD card, camera, network, GPS, etc.. I really don't care how many apps are in the market.

Also, I've stopped updating anything. Every time an app updates, the new version comes with ads. As if selling my data wasn't enough.

Let Google address this issue first (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060902)

Let Google spruce up the Android market, that is still half baked [] compared to the iOS app store, which remains the 'gold standard'.

I haven't paid for one yet. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060910)

Mod parent up.

I've been using Android since the beginning (ok, maybe a month after the beginning) and I have YET to buy an app.

I'm cheap, I pay a lot for service, and most of the paid apps I've seen are pus. A few are cool, it happens I don't need or want them.

It is not yet worth $1.99 to me to suppress ads, and I've seen one app (just one of thousands, yes) that promised no ads and just moved them to other screens.

I've also lost download history, and really don't trust the Market to remember me through every OTA upgrade, custom ROM, and system wipe. Sorry, color me cynical, but it can't remember the free stuff.

And then there's the problems of both excellent free apps and my somewhat limited needs - I dont need arcarde-quality games, most of the 'cool' apps look like they are designed to capture my 'social data' and market me, and everything high profile like Facebook etc are all free.

I don't know if I will buy an app in the next year, unless the Market finds a way to punish free devs, whicn it might.

My iPhone fanboi friends tell me they pretty much have to buy apps, cause devs have to pay to play. And the two iPhone devs at work point out that yes, it costs to develop for IOS. They and another develop for Android also, and they all used my spare G1 as a mule to demo projects. My live G1 I lent out to tether those into the mobile network. Net cost for the spare G1 to me was $35. Leftover iPhones? More.

nokia (1)

dueydotnet (805472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060956)

I wish Nokia would do something like this. The Ovi Store is enemic and Nokia's been providing some paid programs as "free" (ad supported) to make their store more enticing. Nokia's been trying with their "beta labs" [] but some stuff is only compatible with their latest phones, not for their older phones.

Well glad you made the topic, because,... (3, Informative)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35060984)

Indeed there are some gaps.
Very very long story short, I've recently gone back to my iphone 4 from an Android device. Although the apps were not my primary reason for doing so, I will say I did have some difficulty finding some apps which suited my needs.

Primarily and most importantly for myself, I'm a tightass - infact a lot of nerds are. So I want a free app which will cover my needs. Oddly enough the iphone has several free RDP applications which work quite well, I use one of these at least 2 or 3 times a week and absoloutely need it.
On Android I can not for the life of me find an RDP application which supports multiple entries and lets me save them. The restrictions to the free versions are all too tight.
I don't mind ads on my phone, I don't care if there's a box as I open the app or even if I'm forced to see a static ad image for 1 or 2 seconds before the app opens, I just want a free and good RDP app. No such luck.

Also, the media playback tools are frankly, ugly rubbish. It's such a giant shame as I have a 4.3" Android phone and I prefer it to the iphone 4 picture (yep, size matters) - the resolution is still good enough on the 4.3" screen (double the iphone 3GS pixel densite) it's just the media tools pale in comparison to apple.
I suppose I should've done some research, infact yes I should have but I blindly went in and had this crazy idea that without these idiot apple restrictions, I'd have this amazingly powerful device to play media back with.
I want to be able to copy an divx / avi file (example an episode of top gear) on to the device and just plain play the thing. You know what else? I'd like to be able to play it over my SMB network if I'm at home, I have wireless, why can't I do that?
The file structure for media is ugly and gross, the device itself needs to follow a standard.
Movies should be placed in X location and _!ALL!_ Android applications should check that location (only) as default for media, period. - you should be able to add more folders in the Android OS - not per application. A nice standard so that when you try a new media player, they all know where your 'library' is and can display the data clearly and simply.
There is something similar to this in the system but it's hamfisted and messy. Many applications just ask you to navigate and browse the phone. I love that I can do that, I am still a nerd but I'm an aging nerd, I would like it simple and logical.
Furthermore the codec support, admitedly not googles fault, I know but god damnit I had to convert stupid files on the iphone with itunes and sync via a cable (gross!) but with Android it's not much better. I want to just play back my media, the device needs more codec support (apparently the Galaxy S has licensed quite a few codecs and is better - but we need consistency across the damned platform)
I could elaborate further on the media stuff and be quite specific but I'd be here for ages, I'm sure the point is clear- this is currently..'clumsy' and needs to be cleaned up, simplified and improved. This beautiful little thing has so much potential and falls short.

Podcast solutions:
If you used itunes, besides the horrible sync with PC aspect of it and the nasty UI of itunes, it does 'just work' and the podcast playback tool is leaps and bounds superior.
The consistency in the UI for a start is helpful. The rewind 30 second button? genius, the fact I get to see the podcast description and the podcast 'banner' or graphic? great. (I tried several on the android, like RDP solutions, nothing quite fit my needs right)
I do love my Android device but oddly enough it's more the concept of what it could be and the hardware I love most more than anything.
My iphone 4 has superior battery life, more reliable (at least in regards to market application upgrade and installs) it has a better UI for media playback it just falls short in the fact the screen is stupid small, it's locked down and apples ridiculous design choice of one button holds it back (4 or 5 dedicated buttons are not a bad thing, I have consistent home, consistent back, consistent 'right click / menu' buttons - I love that)

If I could mash my iphone and my Android into one single device it would be great, however considering Apple are complete arrogant cocks with design choices and 'our way or no way' - I figure in time, Android may well do what Apple can't, so I do hold hopes for the platform to get there.
Fingers crossed the iphone 4 is my last Apple product.

As an indie iPhone Developer... (2)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061008)

I have a popular App out there on the iPhone App Store and I have been toying around with porting it to Android. There are several factors into me not getting fully behind the effort yet (mainly there are only 24 hours in a day) - but if Google would in$entivize me to port the App, I'd be all over it. But so far the drive just isn't there.

I'll get around to it, but more on my schedule. I would imagine if they came out with an incentive program to port the popular and well done Apps, many would jump on it. Hell, even a free Nexus S and I'd be over it.

I am not saying Android is any better or worse than the iPhone, just many don't have the time to maintain multiple code bases.

Re:As an indie iPhone Developer... (1)

aggiejy (710741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061244)

Agree with this. As an iOS developer also, we have a 3rd party port them for us. The result is subpar compared to our very polished iOS apps, but the functionality is there and we get downloads/sales. However, the result is certainly not the same as developing for Android first. I don't think we're alone in this. A quick browse around the Android Market and you can see the gap in quality. Yet, nearly every important app on the AppStore is also on the Market. The experience and polish just seems to lack for the most part. There are exceptions with Google's own apps which are mostly great. (I use my Nexus S nearly JUST for Google Translate and Google Sky Map.) So perhaps that's Google's goal with this... more of their apps. If so, I don't believe that's going to win against a crowd of passionate and talented iOS developers.

I hate to say it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061016)

The app market is full of shit unlike Apple's app store. It's harder to find the good stuff and it's easy to get burn by crap. It's full of test apps people made from tutorials, dozens of samey things like fart apps and broken rubbish. They need to find a way a way to replicate Apples filtering without resulting in censorship. This shouldn't be hard for the world's search giant.

Apple has got it right more than anyone else and Google still has a lot of learning to do.

Re:I hate to say it (2)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061134)

I assure you that with hundreds of thousands of apps, Apple has just as many crap apps as Google. In fact they most likely have far _more_ crap apps than Google. The problem is that Apple does a better job of letting you find the good ones and avoid the bad ones. Perhaps that's what you meant, but if so you should have said that you _see_ a lot of shit in Google's App Store, unlike Apple's App Store.

Nom nom nom (1)

jimmetry (1801872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061032)

The thought of multithreading without blocks and GCD... ack, gross.

Just Like Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061086)

Does no one remember the iFund?

Better searching is more important (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061118)

From what i understand, the Apple App Store does a pretty good job of promoting the good apps and making it easy to find what you're looking for. The Android App Store on the other hand is a total mess. The promotion system is so-so, the categories are rather broad, and the actual search system is very primitive. If you don't know the exact name of the app you're looking for to use as a search term it can be very hit or miss.

So perhaps what Google needs is better organization and searching for the App Store, rather than new and better apps. Perhaps they could hire some kind of company that specializes in search engines to improve their app store for them?

I wonder how long until 'exclusives' appear... (2)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061144)

...a la the PS3 and XBox 360 development houses...?

Fix core apps before creating more crap! (2)

mr.andreas (1824046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061186)

As disgruntled Android 2.2 user from a Nokia/BlackBerry/etc. background I say fix the core Android apps (calendar, notes, messaging, etc., etc.) as these SUCK big time as even the most basic versions of these are way better on non-smart-phones even! Now that's saying something about how poor they are! Get the basics right then start worrying about more apps. Quality before quantity.

240,000!? Applications (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061280)

I am a little at a loss depending on what site you read the sources differ vastly [] for example posts 240,000 applications that's over double that mentioned in the article. I would love some real figures as the conclusion for this article just seems bonkers. Even if the figures are true 100,000 vs 350,000 how many programmers can Google hire to release applications to make up the shortfall, development takes time and effort even for a pretty basic application...and these are developers producing applications for Android now that Google does not pay for. The resources needed are insane. Its interesting that the other conclusion is Google is going for quantity over quality. That is not going to work. We are talking applications...there is a numbers game...but people talk about that damn bird game all the time, or google goggles, 250,000 torch/wallpaper/quote is not going sell android..Google could use application developers in a variety of ways, building development support network, code snippets, game engines, quality first party applications maybe for Google TV/Google Pads, advisers for creating RAD development tools
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