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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Updated Market coming soon

The Android Developers Blog shared news yesterday of an update that will be coming soon to the Android Market. The update still doesn't include the promised desktop browser-based installing and searching, but that probably won't be too far behind. This update will be pushed out silently and automatically to all devices running Android 1.6 or higher. There won't be any notification for the new version, you will simply open the market and it will be there.

This update brings a brand new interface, with a carousel-like display on the main page for showcasing featured apps. It also brings some new app categories for live wallpapers and widgets, as well as more advanced automatic filtering, so if your particular device can't run an app for whatever reason, you shouldn't even see it in the Market.

One of the biggest changes, though, is regarding the refund policy. In a move that has already drawn considerable fire, Google had decided to reduce the refund window for paid apps from 24 hours to a mere 15 minutes. This means that if you buy an app, you have only 15 minutes to decide whether you like it or not, after which you will be unable to request a refund. Google says that the overwhelming majority of refunds are requested within the first 15 minutes anyway. And many game developers have complained that their games are purchased and the customer is able to complete all levels within 24 hours, and then request a refund.

The updated Market and refund policy will be arriving on devices sometime in the next few weeks.

I really like the new visual look of the Market. It looks a lot more refined and professional, to me. And I love that widgets and live wallpapers will each get their own category...that's a much needed improvement. As for the refund policy, I don't have any problem with it. I've only requested refunds once or twice myself, and they have indeed been within the first few minutes after discovering an app wasn't what I thought it was. And at least refunds still exist, as it's one of the Android Market's biggest strengths over the iOS App Store, which doesn't permit refunds at all.

The changes definitely look nice. I don't really use the Market as much as most people do, so I don't personally care about a lot of these changes. But I think it will make it easier to browse through available apps, which is always nice. I like the new categories and filtering. Although I'm still mostly looking forward to the ability to browse and install from the desktop.

I feel like the new refund policy is kind of drastic. I suppose I understand their reasoning, but going from 24 hours down to 15 minutes seems extreme. I feel like the same basic principle could apply by shortening it to 12 hours, or even 6 hours. Fifteen minutes just seems like a meager way for them to still claim that they give refunds, but only barely. But maybe I'm the only one who think so.

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