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February 7th 2012 10:24 pm

Do seperate/proprietary android markets hurt the android platform?

I've been meaning to ask this for a while, and I'll keep this to the point. What are the opinions out there regarding separate and some even proprietary markets for android apps? I don't know about you guys but I'm constantly hearing about random markets and it's a bit frustrating, personally. I USED to grab the free apps on amazon but it caused undesired (and unfortunate) side effects with the regular market if those apps happened to be available there. Issues like random notifications for updates (which got confusing as I grabbed more of the free apps), then once I had decided to quit the amazon market I found I was unable to purchase the apps from the regular market because somehow google believed I'd already puchased them but if i tried to download them I'd get an error (this was fixed with some trickery using Titan backup in most cases). Even more recently there have been a round of "free apps" just for samsung phones... but only through Samsungs app store... (ARRRRRRRGH).

HOWEVER, walled gardens can be GREAT with devices like the kindle where the app store is tailored to your specific device. So I understand the need for them SOMETIMES.. however in my opinion, the bad outweighs the good when it comes to the entire platform. It's confusing.

So, long story short... in your opinion.. do these other markets hurt the android platform?

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3 replies

In the case of the Fire I think there's two parts to this issue you're talking about: the skin and the market.

I don't think the skinning hurts or helps.

I don't think having a separate app store hurts Android very much. If you're making an app for the Amazon App Store, the barrier to entry for the Google Market is nothing compared to the barrier to porting it to another OS entirely.

Besides, I don't think it's always in the best interest of companies like Amazon to skin like this. If Amazon released a phone with the same model, I think there are plenty of people who won't buy it because it doesn't have a decent default email client. They have to have things like that on a phone. Maybe they'll make their own, but the default Google apps on Android are fantastic, particularly GMail.
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I like the concept of multiple app stores, if Android is open source we should have the choice to use an app store not governed by Google. The Android Market is not however open source and not a part of the Android source code [1]. By having separate app stores those who decide to fork Android (eg. Amazon) still have app stores to choose from.

This however does have it's downsides as you mentioned, although I haven't encountered any effects as bad as you've described above.

1. en.wikipedia.org­/wiki­/Android­_Market­#Availability­_...
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Having separate proprietary markets for cell phones is the old paradigm for the cell phone distributors such as AT&T, Verizon, etc. This was fine when it seemed that every cell phone had its own separate operating system. Unfortunately this paradigm is being carried to today's Android based cell phones and tablets. This is a huge mistake and it is leading to the appearance of additional fragmentation.
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