The fact that Android is now the fastest selling OS in smartphone is not hidden. However the apps available in the Android marketplace are far less as compared to that of the IPhone is also a fact known to all. But Android has one ace in its pocket : open source which it can throw all the time. Meaning ? While you can install an app on an iPhone only via the AppStore(or get ur iPhone jailbroken ) Android platform allows you to install apps from virtually anywhere be it your system (simple copy paste play ) or share via Bluetooth or from the appstores. Which definitely brings us to the fact that because of its open nature, android has lots of stores that offer variety of apps for download. Next comes the question which appstore to prefer ? Here is where we come into the picture and give you reviews about the various markets and the best of them all …

Android Marketplace

The official market from Google which comes pre-installed on almost all Android phones is undoubtedly the best place to search for apps. The market was re-generated in an entirely new format a couple of months ago that changed its UI. Now it has 3 categories in which you can browse the apps, namely Featured which gives the best of all categories, Top paid which gives the top selling in the corresponding sub category and Top Free which give you the top free games in the sub category. The sub categories include : applications, games and my apps. The my apps category OS quiet useful since it allows one to view his apps installed on the phone and also allows to update if there is one. Some facts:
Launch : 22 Oct 2008
Total apps : 200,000+(as of Feb 2011)
Total downloaded : 2,500,000,000+(as of Feb 2011)
Percentage of free apps : 57% approx

Why we like it?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Well the largest collection of apps at one place and more than 50% of it is free.Do you need a better reason? User interface is easy to use, updates are handled properly and moreover most of the other apps simply redirect to this market for installation.:D A study has revealed that Android market is growing at the rate of around 127% and is expected to surpass the Apple AppStore by mid 2012. So all hail Android.

 AppBrain

AppBrain is not exactly a Market but another application that allows you to search for apps but in a totally different way as compared to the default Android Market. The home UI has tje following categories : Manage & sync, recommended apps, Browse apps and Explore users. The manage and sync option allows you to back up your apps, recommended apps section advises various apps based on your currently installed apps. Explore user section allows you to search another androider and share with him the app of your choice.
The advantages are:
1. Apps can be filtered and viewed as hottest app of the day, hottest app of the week, hottest app in your country, hottest apps all time. Also you can filter the apps according to various price categories.
2. The procedure of searching and installing the app is faster than the default Market. After you have searched the app as soon as you click install it takes you to the installation page of market for the same app. Browsing through the market for the same app will take longer time than browsing through this.
3. AppBrain Sync is another add on that allows a user to search the app on his PC and then later he can install straight away on his phone without browsing for the app again. All user needs to give is his gmail I’d .

However there are several disadvantages too :
1. AppBrain doesn’t have a database market of its own. It’s simply another way of browsing the apps on market. So a person who uses market very often might not find much options in it.
2. There is no new stuff. Whatever apps are banned by the market are also banned in here.
Why we like it?
Ability to install apps searched on the PC directly and also to backup the apps installed.

AppAware

App aware is again not a market but an app that helps you discover the apps in a different manner. It populates the apps that are being installed or uninstalled in real time by the other Android users around the world. It allows the user to see the top apps of the day, top apps in the hour, top apps of the week all populated by the number of installation within the corresponding time frame. Real time here means real-time this app gets updated every 30 to 40 seconds and you can just refresh to obtain the latest apps being installed. Apart from this, the app also allows you to view recent comment on the particular app and using the GPS it will also show the apps being installed near you. It allows you to link your app to Twitter account and then whatever you install or uninstall will be automatically posted to your account. After selecting your app it will take you to its corresponding Market page to install it.
Why we liked it ?
Most of the markets for Android just provide a better search experience and UI meaning they don’t offer anything new in terms of apps. It is here that AppAware beats all. It can be labeled as one of the best ways of discovering new apps because it gives you the name of an app being installed be it present in the market or not. Hence if a user is installing an app which is not in the market one can get to know and search for the same online copy it and install as easy as that.

Getjar market

Well let’s face it Android market bans various apps daily if it finds them fishy. But we as users love em and definitely don’t want them out of the market. A recent example is the BBC player app which was banned. But still that app is available. Where? Well in markets like Getjar :D Getjar is the single largest market for apps for iPhone Android blackberry and many more mobile platforms. What’s more is the fact that it doesn’t always link you to the Android market, instead it has its own market where in you can search and download apps. Hence it is able to provide apps that have been banned and lots of apps that are not even there in the market.
Why we liked it ?
Well lots of options and varieties in choosing apps not available in any other market. It has over 82 percent of apps free. And recently Getjar managed to raise 25 million $ in funding for improving the Android market further so there’s definitely something to look for over here.

What has future on store for us?

Amazon is releasing its own Android market very soon which may well prove to be the righteous contender to the Android Market. So far none of the above markets have been able to challenge Tue Android market share, but amazon with its special features might just be able to bite off a chunk from Google’s share. It allows the user to purchase apps even before buying an Android phone, it will also have its trademark ‘people who bought this also purchased this ‘ section and will be fully integrated to the online site.

Apart from this is also Tegra Zone a market for high end games running on NVIDIA’s Tegra processor for tablets which will raise lots of interest in gaming on Android which has been quite calm so far.
So 2011 has lots in store for Android and definitely enough to challenger IPhone and the Nokia-Microsoft alliance.

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