Web-based Android Market Looks Good

Millions of Android smartphone owners can now browse and shop online for apps instead of being restricted to only accessing the Android Market on their phone. Google's is now live after being announced at a at the company's Mountain View, Calif. campus this morning. The new Android Market allows you to browse, share, and download apps directly to your Android phone or tablet without having to snake a cord from your PC to your phone.

I gave the site a quick spin and am impressed by how easy it is to find the app you're looking for or discover apps you might like, and then share them with friends. The store functions similarly to Apple iTunes, but there's a big difference: the Android Market is cloud-based so you can buy or download apps via your Web browser. Next, Google sends a message to your device of choice and bingo! - The app is installed. Apple, on the other hand, requires you to download the iTunes software to your PC.

Search and Navigation

Unlike the mobile version of the Android Market, the browser store lets you refine your search options to show apps based on price, device compatibility, and popularity, helping you better find an app instead of digging through piles of irrelevant ones. When you find an app you want to download, you are taken to a page giving you more information about that particular app. Here you'll find user reviews, screenshots, and even videos related to the app.

For example, when I searched for the, I was presented with a page dedicated to the Pulse News Reader app which includes ratings, application size, price, as well as related applications. Essentially it is the same information you would get from browsing the Market on your phone only in a much nicer-looking package.

Because your Android device is tied to your Google account, all you need to do is sign in to the browser store with the same account you use on your phone and you are set to go. There is no need to enter your phone model or number as Google already has that information. Once you sign in, just hit the big "Install" button of the app you wish to download. If you have never bought an app off of the Android Market place before, you will be asked to provide a valid credit card and billing information before downloading.