Google does a lot of great things. But they aren’t good at paying attention to detail, at least when it comes to Android. That’s totally opposite to what Apple does, focusing and polishing the little things. Android Market and iOS App Store are great examples of this conundrum. Google’s shortcomings with the Android Market and the exponential increase in Android adoption has attracted some key players to launch their own app stores. Now, it’s the turn of the crowd favorite GetJar.
GetJar is the world’s largest free app store with over two billion downloads to date. The company distributes more than 150,000 mobile applications across a variety of operating systems including Blackberry, Java, Symbian, Mobile Web and now, Android. Interested to know how great the new app store actually is?
GetJar app is available for download from here. The app works on devices running Android versions 1.6 and up. Alternatively, you can point your browser to m.getjar.com to download apps from the web browser instead.
GetJar hasn’t made any effort to create a gorgeous user interface. Everything is tucked away five small tabs: Home, Categories, Apps, Friends, and My Apps. All promotions and featured listings can be found in the Home tab (all sponsored placements are clearly labelled, which is great to see). This is also the place from which you can take a peek at the apps that top the charts, new additions and more. But just scrolling down a few times to see all those cool listings isn’t real fun.
GetJar has a nice and comprehensive categories section. You can toggle to see either the top apps or the new ones under each category.
If you don’t have the time to go through all the listings, scroll down to the end of the screen to access the sub categories. Sub categories make for a great idea even when they are buried at the bottom of the screen.
In most cases, the app information screens have just enough information to make a decision. I didn’t see many comments, but given their popularity this could change over time. If you hit Download, the app begins to download and will install automatically once it’s done, like the regular Market app. You then have the option to head over to the installed app directly or browse the store for more apps.
Do note that once the download begins, there is absolutely no way to either pause or cancel it. Again, you might want to be doubly sure before initiating a download, if you are on a carrier that charges an arm and leg for data.
Downloading apps doesn’t require logging into the app. But if you plan to comment, like or share the app, you will have to. Thankfully, you don’t need a separate account and can use existing Facebook login credentials (in which case you can check what apps your friends are installing too!)
What irritated me most was the wait before getting anything loaded in GetJar. Even to move from screen to screen, you will have to wait for the app to load. Folks with data cap might get burned from just accessing the app, let alone downloading apps.
GetJar is mostly about free apps. But there is a section where paid apps that are popular in other app stores are available for free. While the developers claim to present the users with $50 worth of top free paid apps, selections tend to be ranging between average and above average in most cases. But hey, they have got the full version of Angry Birds for free, so hurry up! New apps are added every week and downloading these “Gold” apps works in the same way as normal apps.
For those who have a code for a specific app, the Quick Download option is a huge time saver. Hit the Quick Download link, enter the code, and voila: your download will begin instantly.
It isn’t like the Android ecosystem is in dire need of apps to attract more users. With tens of thousands of apps in the Android Market alone, there is an app in almost every category under the sun, and more are added by the day. Still, the problem that keeps Android users looking elsewhere for their app needs is the poorly managed Android Market and its annoying payment system.
But are these problems addressed properly by the wannabe Android Market competitors GetJar and Amazon App Store? Definitely not. Amazon App Store is probably the worst managed digital market in the world with so much distrust from developers. But GetJar is less archaic, and it’s already the darling of the masses.
GetJar probably invented the app store model and was (and still is) the oasis for app starved feature phone users. But, sadly, the GetJar Android App Store still has the design and feel of a feature phone product. The user interface is designed without any taste or class. They have got a ton of great deals to go with, but at this juncture in the smartphone era, people are looking to get better app recommendations and the ability to buy apps without jumping through hoops.
To succeed GetJar has to think out of the featurephone box and add a whole lot more usability. The legacy alone isn’t gonna cut it!
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