Oct 02

The iPhone AppStore is not the first mobile storefront for downloadable applications, but it is the first with mainstream appeal. Other carriers and mobile manufacturers are trying to replicate Apple’s success with the AppStore. The first out of the door to follow on Apple’s coattails is Google’s Android Marketplace. Like Apple, it will host a flurry of applications for any device running Google’s open-source Android Operating System, a competitor to the iPhone and iPod Touch which run a modified code of OS X. Unlike Apple, the Android Marketplace will host trials and demos, but may irritate developers of free software by charging them for free apps that make use of T-Mobile’s network with the G1, the first Android phone.

The latest news from Engadget Mobile details some of the differences between Apple’s and Google’s approach to application download. What has been a sore in user’s eyes is the fact that Apple doesn’t allow users to test or demo applications before purchases. Android addresses this issue by allowing free downloadable trials. However, in my experience, if I want to really know how an application or game works or performs on my iPhone before purchasing, I usually do a quick YouTube search and someone already has a video showing off the application.

The next difference will surely upset the developers. Developers who create free applications may be charged by T-Mobile a rate of $2 per month on applications that use more than 15 MB per user per month. There is still no indication of how T-Mobile will gauge or monitor the individual bandwidth consumptions of each application.

Bear in mind, however, that some of the restrictions established may not be Apple’s doing. Instead, those restrictions may serve to appease mobile carriers. One such restriction, the last of the major App Store differences, is the 10 MB download limit for applications downloaded over the mobile internet–WiFi downloads and connections to iTunes allow for greater application sizes. On the Android Marketplace, there is no such limit imposed by Google nor T-Mobile USA, the first mobile carrier to support Android with the release of the G1 handset, a device made by Windows Mobile-manfucaturer HTC of Taiwan.

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