App Store VS Android Marketplace

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I received an email the other day from a community member who has some questions about the differences between the Apple App Store and Google’s Android Marketplace. He feels that the apps are one of the biggest reasons people choose one phone (or operating system) over another, and wants information to make an informed decision himself. I was asked to focus on specific aspects of the two stores: design (how easy the app is to use as well as overall workflow), stability, integration and more.

It will be difficult at best for me to give a solid answer to which is better here. Both stores have their strengths and weaknesses. Both of them have benefits and drawbacks. The main difference is that Apple controls every single aspect of their app store. You cannot get an app into the App Store unless they accept you… even if you’ve spent millions of dollars. In contrast, the Android Marketplace is kind of like the Wild West. Anyone can put anything in there – and they do.

Google kind of just lets things go and flow. Sometimes, finding what it is you’re looking for can be more challenging. However, again… you can put anything you want on there. There are some questionable apps there, to be sure. But you WILL find some excellent offerings. Apple’s process isn’t necessarily any better, since there are many things on their store that I would never recommend to anyone.

There are a lot of really cool apps designed and developed for both platforms. In terms of design, I like that the Android platform and Marketplace allows you to download in a nice clean fashion (in the background). I love that before you install an application, you’ll get a list of all of the things that app will do in relation to your system. The installation process with the iTunes store is a bit of a kluge. You have to jump in and out of the App Store.

Apple has locked down the App Store. That being said, sometimes it’s nice to be able to install an application that hasn’t been accepted. That can be done in an ad-hoc fashion on the iPhone. However, Google has made it easy for you to install anything you want on your device, even if it hasn’t been accepted into their Marketplace. Apple is closed… Google is open. With both systems, though, you’re still going to get what you get. This is why you should research the apps you’re interested in prior to buying them. Know what you’re letting yourself in for.

It boils down to what you want to use your device for. You can try Google Android apps without actually buying a phone by using the Emulator on your computer. You cannot really do that with anything from Apple, though.

In each of the App Stores, I find that personally it’s a bit easier to search and sort in iTunes. Everyone has a different experience. I like using iTunes on my desktop. Using the Marketplace on the phone is a bit different, and it’s just more difficult for me. That’s just my opinion, so don’t even start with the flaming.

Design-wise, then, I’d say the two are in a dead heat. Stability… that’s also hard to judge. I’ve had the Marketplace crash on me only once. It wasn’t a big deal even. I haven’t had any issues with either one.

Integration – how well an app takes advantage of the phone’s capabilities… this is where we get down to it. You can have issues with this on either device and either platform. It’s the developers who control whether or not an app works well when they are creating it. The app developers need to take advantage of the phone independent of everyone else who is developing for that platform. It’s all based on the experience, quality and talent of that developer. There may be an array of Android devices (and more than one generation of iPhone), you need to check an app closely to see which device it was designed for. Integration is contingent on the hardware, on both sides of the coin. It’s a crapshoot.

It’s all a matter of personal preference. Do some homework. Figure out what type of apps you think you’ll want and need. Check both places to see what is available, and then find out what others think of them. Try out the apps if you can, even if you have to borrow a phone.

If you’re going to troll this thread and say that one thing is better than another… well, then you’re a troll. There is no “better” answer here. The questions and answers are subjective for subject matter. It’s all about preferences.

Demonstrate to us which is better. Do a video showing us WHY one store is better than another. Don’t argue a point unless you have reasons to back it up.

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