Despite Android’s big boom this past year, there is still plenty of room for its marketplace to grow. As the iPhone’s sleek design and iTunes App Store got a jump start on all other mobile platforms, Android’s Market is slower to gain apps in certain areas, particularly gaming and big brands.
With so many devices out there running multiple versions of Google’s mobile platform, it’s hard to keep up, but the ongoing stabilization of Android will hopefully encourage more activity in the Market.
Social and Entertainment
Gaming is big business for iPhone app developers, who seem to have less of an affinity for Android devices. The game selection in the Android Market may be dismal, but EA Mobile has been proactive in its Android push. Popular titles have begun to pop up, including The Sims 3 ($6.99), which lets you create avatars and control every aspect of their world.
The iPhone has created a revival in classic games as well, with arcade favorites finding a new generation of users and devices. There aren’t too many of these to be found in the Android Market, but Frogger has leapt to the challenge. For $4.99, you can hop your frog safely across the street, complete with old-school graphics.
Facebook has always been quick to update its iPhone app, incorporating the most desired features. Sadly, this has not been the case for the social network’s Android app. Though more robust than its official 2009 launch, the free Facebook Android app could use better message support, photo-viewing, and device integration.
The iPhone and iPad have threatened to destroy other eBook readers, though publishers have yet to turn to the Android Market as a primary channel for selling digital copies. Aldiko has a free Android eBook reader that supports multiple file formats, but its bookstore doesn’t compare to those available through iTunes, or even Kindle.
Big brands have flocked to the iPhone, creating useful consumer tools. They’ve been slower to warm up to Android, especially in the service and shopping areas. Companies like Target and Gucci have yet to expand to Android, though Amazon and Best Buy have gotten things started with their free mobile apps. Search for products and shop on the go.
Big brands in the finance industry have also avoided Android for the most part, though you’ll have no trouble finding apps for Chase or American Express in the iTunes App Store. Bank of America is one of the few free finance apps that’s launched by the bank itself, while Mint.com’s recent Android app (also free) show’s the industry’s warming up.
Nike is another big brand that has utilized the iPhone to provide a number of services to customers. Many revolve around health and fitness, or custom product designs. Until Nike branches out to the Android Market, Endomondo takes the cake. The free app lets you track your workouts, map your bike routes and receive personalized words of encouragement from friends.