Google Launches Android Market
How Market Works
Market lives as an icon on an Android phone. On the T-Mobile G1, go to the Market shopping bag icon to enter the Android Market Beta (it was in beta during the G1's pre-launch period and will launch Wednesday as a beta).
Thumbnails for featured apps line the top of the Market. But to dig into its offerings, you can either search by name, or can find content by subject--Applications or Games. Those are then subdivided further by category: Applications are broken down by communication, entertainment, finance, lifestyle, multimedia, news and weather, productivity, reference, shopping, social, tools, and travel; while Games are divvied into arcade, brain and puzzle, cards and casino, and casual subsets.
See an app you want? Simply hit install, and the app will start downloading in the background. As with the iPhone, when the download is complete, the app shows as installed and is available via an icon. All applications you've downloaded will show up in the My Downloads tab. If you want to later remove or repair an installed app simply return to My Downloads. This "digital locker" of Market applications is where you go to uninstall apps or reinstall them as needed.
Keeping Things Safe with Android
When you download an app, Android provides detailed information on what services that app will be tapping into. While this information may not be clear to you and me--how will you know if innovative app X really does need to access your contacts, for example--Google's Miner notes that this is one way that consumers can stay informed and vigilant for any malevolent applications.
"In Android, if an app were to try and do something other than what it says, it will be obvious. We feel good about the strength of the security of our platform," Miner says. "We have a stronger security model than you have on a typical PC or smartphone. It's harder for an app to be malicious in the first case.
"There are a lot of things an app that's uploaded can't do. It can only read and write it's own file system. There are APIs to access other parts of the system, too. But the Web browser runs in its own little world, for example. If a [malicious] app comes in through the browser--unlike a PC where an app can see whatever you have on your PC--that's not the case inside of Android."
Product mentioned in this article
The G1 has great call quality and does a good job of melding hardware with the Android operating system.