I have an Android based phone, the HTC Hero. I like it well enough, but wish I new the HTC EVO was going to come out only a few months after I got into a 2 year contract with the Hero.
But this is not about having to wait two years to get a newer/better phone. It is about the Android operating system itself… and its lack of a better way to manage apps. And then we will get into how Google could take it to the next level and be a complete replacement for iTunes as a media and app hub.
The biggest problem with the Android OS is the lack of a better way to access the Android Marketplace. As far as I know you can only get apps for an Android device from the Android Marketplace… on the device itself. Since the Android Marketplace is a phone service it means you must have an Android cell phone to get any apps.
This means that it will be very hard for the Android OS to make any serious inroads in the tablet space currently dominated my the iPad. This is why the Samsung Galaxy tablet is sold with a carrier plan… its the only way to get apps on it.
What Google needs to do is create an Android Marketplace application for Windows, Mac OSX & Linux. That’s right… a full blown application that can be used to search for apps, buy apps, download apps… and even sync apps to your device.
I can see a couple of issues, none of which should be a problem if Google would put a few programmer on it full time. The problem as I see it are:
- Getting Syncing working for all devices.
- Handling Media
For devices that don’t have a USB cable (or any other way to sync with a PC or Mac) Google could find a way to use the software in conjunction with Google Mail to get apps to the device. This should handle the bulk of the devices that could not just have a place to drop the apps onto in a simple file sync through a USB cable.
Media handling could be the best reason for Google to do this. Google could team up with Amazon or Walmart or whoever to provide a means to for people with Android devices to manage and buy songs and videos. Or cut out the middle man and start selling songs and video directly. Why share the profits.
Think about it. Google has the people to build an application that works just like iTunes. It would run on a computer and allow you to download apps, music and videos and sync them to a portable device. This would open the door for iPod Touch competitors as well real iPad competition.
If I was working for Google I would be spending my 20% of time for pet projects on this.