If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have recently had the chance to review the Motorola Droid mobile phone running Google’s Android OS. In part one of my Motorola Droid review, I would like to compare Google’s Android Market to the iTunes App Store. This day in age applications are what can make or break a mobile phones success, so it is important that a wide range of well developed apps be available for the various mobile phones.
Both the iTunes App Store and the Android Market boast the same basic features. Both offer featured lists, top paid list, top free list, general categories, ratings, reviews, and screenshots. One feature that the iTunes App Store offers that Android Market doesn’t is genius lists. This feature analyzes your current library of applications and makes recommendations based on what you use, how often you use it, and how you rate apps. This feature is relatively new, but I find it works surprisingly well and makes great recommendations.
While the 2 application stores function similarly, they are visually very different. The iTunes App Store features a very rich visual design that was inspired by the iTunes Mobile store and the iPhone OS. For many years, Apple has been known for visually stunning designs while keeping users experience and functionality in mind. While the Android Market functions well, it is visually very unappealing. I really felt that the unappealing design really effected my overall user experience with the Market.
One other major difference between the iTunes App Store and the Android Market is the addition of a desktop application. I find browsing for apps with the iTunes desktop application is easier and quicker, and makes for a better experience. The Android Market features a very dull website allowing you to browse the applications, but it in no way compares to the feature rich iTunes desktop application. I would love to see Google integrate the Android Market more into the web.
Since its creation in July of 2008, the iTunes App Store has been verbally attacked over and over again, for its super strict application inclusion policies. Apple, requires that all applications submitted to the App Store follow a very strict set of rules. Some of these rules make since, like no adult content, and some of them don’t, like the no Apple or iPhone imagery or verbiage rule. I understand that these rules keep the App Store apps to the highest quality standards, but at the same time, they really limit the accessibility to some specific types of apps. Android allows all types of apps in to their Market.
The iTunes App Store has been around for over a year, and a large majority of the apps have been on there for a year or more, which has resulted in multiple revisions and upgrades. As the apps age, they become more feature rich and visually refined. The apps available in the iTunes App store are very well developed and very visually stunning. The Android Market is behind in this area, but is catching up quickly. I found that the number of apps available in the Android Market is impressive, but the quality of the apps and the features they have are not on par yet with the iTunes App Store offerings. I am sure the Android Market will catch up as more and more developers expand to that platform, but for now, it is tailing slightly.
While both the iTunes App Store and the Android Market function almost identically, I feel the iTunes App Store slightly wins over the Android Market for 3 mains reasons. First, the iTunes App Store is more user friendly. They accomplish this by providing a very rich visual style, and lots of little user experience extras, like full screen screenshots, that really makes for a better user experience. Second, is the quality of apps. I contribute this to the fact that the iTunes App Store came first, allowing developers more time to refine their apps both visually and functionally. Lastly, is the combination of the iTunes desktop application and the iPhone. Apple has really done a beautiful job integrating the App Store with the computer. I do most of my App Store browsing and purchasing on my computer, and when you add the great organizing functionality built into iTunes, you have a definate winner in the iTunes App Store and Android Market comparison.
I will say though, that the Android Market might be trailing behind the iTunes App Store, but it is not behind by much. The Android Market is a perfectly acceptable app store. If they can just improve upon the 3 things I pointed out above, they will defiantly give the iTunes App Store a run for their money.
This article is Part 1 of my full series of reviews of the Motorola Droid. Below are links to the other parts of the Motorola Droid Review: