Now that Abugadro’s on the Market, I’ve found the lack of Android Market features disturbing. And I’m not alone at that.
Five Issues have stood out above them all, and I’d like to point them out today, in hopes that it’ll get someone at Google to pay attention and finally solve them.
- Issue 2851. Tag comments with the version they refer to.
- Issue 4738. Replying to user comments.
- Issue 2148. Add a ‘Changelog’ field to allow devs. to explain the contents of the update.
- Issue 4376. Share application statistics with developers.
- Issue 4851. Allow multiple APKs of the same Application.
The first problem, Tagging comments can be overlooked. It’d be nice, but I wouldn’t want to waste a wish on that.
The second one, Replying to user comments, would be nice. Sometimes the comments are from confused users that don’t know how to use our app. It’s our fault, sure. But sometimes, the comment is aggresive over a bug or a missing feature. If we could get an “eBay-like” reply system that let us say “Fixed in x.y.z”, the end users could give our app a second chance.
A new Changelog field, separate from description, would mean it would only work with Android 2.3 and above, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s a very welcome change.
Currently, devs have to implement a Nag-screen, like on Google Maps. On launch? It displays an annoying “here’s what’s new” message. Completely unneeded. A standard way to check the changelog would be welcome, and failing that, extending beyond the twitter-like “325 characters” for description is a welcome change.
The fourth issue is self-explanatory. You guys made Google Analytics. Extend that for Android Apps. There’s currently libraries like Flurry that give us all that information, but “Phoning Home” is NOT cool. If the user is already downloading from the market, he’s not really “phoning home”, and if uninstalling, you already ask for the reason, but it isn’t fed back to the developer. While at it, the download stats refresh about once a day. Would it kill you to have them update more often? Share them stats, Google!
Finally, multiple APKs is something that’d be appreciated. You talk about Fragmentation as if its something mythical and non existant, and yet your own Platform Versions link says otherwise. To use the newest apis I have to sacrifice a huge part of the user base, and the current solution? Release an App called “Abugadro for Donut”, “Abugadro for Eclair”, “Abugadro for Froyo”? Horrible idea. What if it was a paid app? They wouldn’t be able to get the Eclair/Froyo version once the update was made available, because it would be marked as a separate app.
Finally, if you’d like to help out, Star those issues. Clicking the star icon gives it an ‘up vote’, and would help raise awareness/priority to the features we want. Developers are people too. We need these tools.
Update: It’s been pointed out to me by a lot of people that it is possible to include newer APIs while keeping compatibility. Google even released a video about it during the Google IO. For that reason, I’m eliminating the 5th point on the wishlist.