Tag Archives: marketplace

How Do You Rate the Quality of an App?

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Over on Lockergnome, CiphersSon asked simply: “How do you rate an app’s quality?” The way I rate the quality of an app may be different from how you rate it. It’s frustrating to me at this point in time. We have services such as iTunes and the Android Marketplace. We are all looking for something different – from features to aesthetics. Therefore, we will rate apps in different ways for different reasons. This means that something with a lower rating may actually end up being exactly what you were looking for.

This is why you should always be careful when reading ratings about apps, hardware, gadgets, and software. You never know if people have the same eye as you do. Some people only care about features. An app could be as ugly as a baboon’s ass and they’ll still give it five stars. I’m sorry, an application has to LOOK good if I’m going to give it a perfect rating.

The point I’m trying to make is that you need to keep in mind what is more important to you. When you look at ratings, you need to look at the bigger picture.

For me, an app needs to have good design, nice looks, full functionality and good features. That is the only way I will ever rate an app with five stars. Instead of me seeing what everyone rates something as, I try to gain perspective and connect with those who rate apps in a similar way to me. The chances of me really valuing their rating is far greater than I would value something by Joe Show.

Five out of five stars mean nothing to me. I guarantee that by now, the YouTube haters have down-rated this video. That’s okay, because YOU may still like it. That’s the beauty of it, folks. It’s your choice.

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Google Android can Park Your Car

If you’re anything like me, road rage sets in when you’re trying to find a parking place. Snagging a spot – even one far from your destination – can be a royal pain in the ass much of the time. If you happen to be the owner of a phone with Google’s Android operating system, though, there’s an app for that! The new Open Spot app (released today by Google) will help you find a parking spot within moments.

Open Spot (still in beta) plans to save users more than just time and gas money. They also aim to cut down on pollution by reducing the amount of time driving around trying to hunt down an open space. The app will show you all empty spaces within .9 miles of your current location. They’re color-coded to tell you how long ago someone reported the spot as empty (Red for freshly-marked spots, orange for spots marked over 5 minutes ago, and yellow for spots marked over 10 minutes ago). Spots disappear after twenty minutes, so don’t dawdle.

This type of app can really work well if it’s widely used. When you vacate a parking place, you’ll let Open Spot know about it so that someone else can nab it. Likewise, they report to the app when they take off so the next poor sap driving in circles can find a place to park their beloved vehicle. Rinse… and repeat!

What are your thoughts? Is this something you’ll start using?

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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12 Reasons to Love the HTC Evo 4G / Google Android

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Here we go again! While I’m nowhere near ready to make a review (although I have already given my first impressions), I thought I’d take the time to point out some of the nicer features of the HTC Evo 4G – and, vicariously, the Android Platform.

You can’t “love” or “hate” a device based only on its spec sheet, gang – you have to use it. You have to feel it. You have to experience it. You have to share your initial impressions, which may very well be different from a lasting impression. Get it? Good.

Keep in mind that I always try to approach reviews and first impressions from the viewpoint of an average user. I ask myself if the item in my hand is going to be intuitive to them and not just to an expert or power-user.

Twelve things I happen to love about the HTC EVO 4G (and the Android platform) thus far:

  • I’m digging the screen. It’s about 4.3″ in length and is 480×800 resolution. It’s crystal-clear and very responsive to the touch.
  • The feedback when interacting with elements on the screen is quite cool.There’s a vibrating touch that happens anytime you are tapping an application on the screen.
  • I have all of these different icons on my Home screen. They’re widgets! It’s very easy to add widgets, too.
  • In the background is an animated wallpaper. As you drag across your screen, the wallpaper will change perspective.
  • I love having the FM radio on the EVO 4G! Believe it or not, I still use the radio quite often.
  • Even though I don’t feel the output of the default camera app is all that wonderful, I do love the amount of settings that it has. I love being able to quickly change effects, contrast, sharpness and much more.
  • The Android Marketplace has several thousand apps available. I checked out the “top free” apps off the bat. Before you download an application, you’ll be given information about it. You’ll see more about what the app will do, and how it will interface with your platform. It will tell you what parts of your phone it will have access to. Google is giving users more of an idea of what – exactly – they’re installing.
  • I am VERY impressed with the voice mail on this device/platform. You can reply to a voice mail without having to dial the person back! You can also mark a message as urgent or mark it for usage later. I am impressed… big time.
  • The notifications bar could be done a bit better. It’s hard to hit the right area with accuracy. I don’t know if it’s due to the sensitivity of the screen, or the touch-points of the bar itself. It’s great, though, to have easy access to a variety of apps instead of disruptive notifications like I have on my iPhone.
  • I like the connect options. I can choose how this device is connected to a computer, including being able to mount the internal storage as a disc. This allows me to quickly add files. It gives you more granular control.
  • If you’re addicted to software in any kind of marketplace, you’ll love this. You can choose whether or not you want the phone to allow you to install things from non-Market applications.
  • I love being able to turn this thing into a hotspot. I can easily connect other devices to it and save myself headaches when I’m out in the field. It’s a nice feature to have when I’m on the go.

Some of these features are found in any Android device, but others are specific to the EVO 4G. For the money, I don’t think you’ll find a bigger screen and wider array of options. You’ll also find one heck of an enthusiastic community.

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Undertow for Free on Xbox 360 Marketplace

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Are you an Xbox 360 fan? Do you enjoy playing at the Marketplace? Now you can play Undertow… completely for free. This title is only available to Xbox 360 owners with an Xbox LIVE Silver or Gold membership, through download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Undertow is a fast-paced action-shooter that sends you underwater as you battle up to 16 players for control of the oceans! Non-stop conquest-style battles push the envelope of onscreen effects and combat action and boast some of the most stunning graphics ever seen in an Xbox LIVE Arcade title.

Game features include:

  • Combat control: Undertow features relentless high-speed combat with simple and intuitive controls.
  • Visual style: The incredible next-gen graphics resonate with a vibrant underwater visual style.
  • Multiplayer matches: Undertow features 16-player multiplayer battles and two-player co-op modes.
  • Races and upgrades: The game includes three different playable races, each with four unique upgradeable units.
  • Single-player campaign: The 15-level single player campaign has a compelling story told through cutscenes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This will only be offered for free for the next few days. This video was recorded on January 23rd, 2008. If you’re watching this video within a few days of that date… what are you waiting for? Hurry up and go download this game for free!


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