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Does the Android Marketplace need a desktop client?


Ever since Google and T-Mobile launched the T-Mobile G1 users have been able to connect to the Android Marketplace to download applications both free and paid. The first version of the marketplace felt inspired by the days of command line interfaces with only icons, descriptions and user reviews available.

With the release of Android 1.6 users saw some big changes to the Android Marketplace with a more updated interface. Instead of the black and white interface, users were presented with a graphical interface to view and download the latest and greatest Android application from a host of developers.

But there seems to be something missing from making the Android Marketplace, a full and rewarding experience for users of Google’s mobile operating system. Over the last decade we have seen great changes in the way consumers interact with mobile devices. Apple clearly upped the game with the release of the iPhone and allowing users to quickly download applications in several ways.

But what makes the Apple’s iPhone so different for mobile users? The simplest of answers is the iTunes desktop software. Apple’s iTunes allows iPhone and iPod touch users the ability to connect to the app store right from their personal computers as well as their mobile devices.

Recently Google has teamed up several partners to launch Google Discover Music whereby users can search for artists, albums, songs or lyrics and purchase those songs from their partner sites. This new music service could easily be turned into an Android application by Google and subsequently rolled into a larger desktop application.

So why hasn’t Google developed a desktop interface for the Android Marketplace yet? AdMob, which has been acquired by Google recently, conducted a survey that found that over 90% of users download their iPhone apps directly to the phone rather than through an iTunes. Google may be using this information to plan their next move.

If Google does decide to develop a desktop connection to the Android Marketplace it might be just for the sake of staying up to par with Apple. Google could easily develop a desktop application that would allow users to download movies, music, and applications with the ability to use Google Checkout as a payment system. With the long history that Google has for releasing applications to stay competitive against other software firms, it would come as no surprise if Google decided to release a desktop version of their Android Marketplace.

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