Android Market desperately needs another overhaul

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The recent announcement of Ice Cream sandwich has brought plenty of benefits to the Android world that should make the system better on the inside and out. It will probably be the greatest improvement to Android since it launched, but time will tell. One area they should have really done a better job is the Android Market for tablets. It’s horrible if you have a tablet. Hit the break to see how they can make it better.

When you get that little Android Market logo in the notification bar, you get all excited wondering what the new updates will bring you. I do too. Then I tap on the notification to see what presents I’ve received today, and low and behold I’ve got multiple updates. Yes! Unfortunately, this is where my excitement stops

The My Apps section houses all of your applications and notifies you when you have a new update. The left hand column lists your apps, while the right side, which consumes about 2/3 of the screen, basically doesn’t tell you anything. Every time I update an app, it seems the “permissions” have changed. This is basically that nagging little idea that seems good until it’s used in the real world. In order to see my apps progress with Android , I instead must click on each individual app in the left hand column, the tap on the “see details” button, and from here I am brought to the main app screen which should give a rundown on recent updates in the description. From here, I back out to the My Apps section, and tap the update button. That’s a lot of work just to see some apps say “bug fixes” while others might bring real improvements.  What it should be more like is the iOS updater, which actually tells you the new updates that you’re about to receive from the main updater window. Simple and to the point.

Of course this is what you need to do to see the apps you have update, but what about finding tablet optimized applications? Beyond the Staff Picks for Tablets, good luck. There is no iOS like rule that a developer needs to differentiate between an Android Phone app and an Android tablet app. Unless the developer is nice enough, and writes “for tablets” in the name, then you simply must click through each and every application until you find what is actually optimized. Sure, some of this might be fixed with ICS, but I think we will still be able to tell the difference between a phone app and a tablet app. Come on Google, at least let us browse through tablet only apps instead of having to weed through all of the app meant for 4-inch phones.

This is one of those times when you sit back and can easily see the polished differences between Android and iOS. For all of the gripes with iOS, it sure is straightforward and isn’t tedious to use. This is where all of the little things make a difference, and having both an iPad and an Android tablet, it sure is easy to see when one is better than another.

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Allen Schmidt

Allen is a former contributing editor at Nothing But Tablets, which was merged with Pocketables in 2012.