The new Android Market app is finally here and it’s definitely an improvement over the last version. Let’s take a quick look at the new design and see how it stacks up in functionality and usability.
Right of the start you’re greeted with a Featured apps section. Big colourful graphics just scream “Pick me, pick me”. I suspect apps, that are lucky enough to get into the section, will get a lot of downloads. The section is a mix of apps and links to other sections such as “Games”, “Staff Picks”, “Editor’s Choice”, and in the US you also get “Movies” and “Music”, which are missing everywhere else.
Scrolling is smooth and pleasant to use, images are not animated nor obtrusive . I counted 8 apps in the section, although in my opinion they could’ve fit more.
Above the apps area we get a navigation bar with a number of options; at most only 3 are visible at any given time, although in landscape mode more could be fit. To move between sections, you can tap on one of the labels or you can swipe horizontally to move to the adjacent section. Animated transitions when moving between sections are not smooth at all and a little annoying since the initial impressions of the app is great. Another annoyance is that, when moving back to the Featured section, app icons are missing during the animation, all you see is black placeholders. However the icons gracefully fade in once the animation is competed.
In this iteration of the Market we get an abundance of way to find apps:
- Categories – List of app categories
- Featured – Featured apps
- Top Paid
- Top Free
- Top Grossing
- Top New Paid
- Top New Free
The apps are shown in grid. In portrait mode there’s 2 apps per row and in landscape mode we get 3. The app listing now shows whether or not it’s installed on the device, a welcomed addition indeed.
After the Featured section, app details is the second most improved section. Right off the bat you see multiple screenshots of the app, which you can scroll to the side to see more. This is where decisions are made. You see the price and screenshots, what else do you need to make an impulse buy? As you scroll down to see more information you’re greeted with nicely grouped chunks of information, properly separated.
Whoever designed this app deserves a round of applause. They managed to fit a lot of information in a neat, easy to use package. Finding apps is a breeze, details are organized in coherent grouped fashion. Good job.
…and some landscape screenshots