The Hills Are Greener: Can Fixing Google Play Make Android a Gaming Platform?

The Hills Are Greener: Can Fixing Google Play Make Android a Gaming Platform?

May 14, 2012

The report came out recently that Apple was making 84% of all mobile gaming revenue in the US, according to Newzoo. The iPad alone accounted for 30% of all mobile gaming revenue, compared to Android’s 16%. Other platforms were either so small that they were just rounding errors, or were not considered in this study.

Of course, the idea that Android is not as big of a player in mobile gmaing is a recurring one. I’m just curious in particular, what causes this attitude to persist?

Personally, when discussing the iOS and Android question, I often say that for those who think gaming is an important factor on the mobile device, they need to go iOS. The platform still isn’t entirely optimized for gaming (I would like better save game handling), and the App Store is still a mess, but just in the sheer number of quality releases on a weekly basis, and the undiscovered gems that keep popping up, iOS and the App Store are winning. It’s not just in the battle for money – it’s a battle for attitude.

For this attitude to change, Google is going to have to take steps toward improving gaming on Android. This may mean trying to push new releases in a similar way to Apple; curating content and featuring the best, rotating their features regularly may be a big step toward making this more possible. After all, if Google starts to show that new content exists, then it might just help spur things along.

The other problem may be users just aren’t as attached to Google Play as they are the App Store. This may be in part due to the way Android is laid out. The App Store is ever-present on a user’s device. They have to visit it and see the featured page often. It can be buried in a folder, but it’s still always there. The Play Store can easily be hidden, and it’s possible to rarely visit the storefront because of the ability to be notified automatically if updates are ready. It’s easy to not wind up looking at the front page of the store for a while.

Google needs to make the Google Play more important to users, and visiting it more. Otherwise, only the big players will be able to succeed on Android, and they’re not the ones that need the help.

Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro Review

It seems that these days we are living in a health-and-fitness awareness boom. You can get microchips in your sneakers to track your running for goodness sake! But not all of us have the money to throw into robot shoes, especially if we’ve already put the bulk of our money toward a smartphone. So it’s pretty natural then to assume that our phones would be willing to assist us in our fitness tracking, and we are not wrong. Endomondo is the second fitness tracker I’ve tried using, and I can say it’s a pretty tough act to beat.

I had been signed up with and using RunKeeper for a while, and while it’s nice to fall back on the familiar, I was also ready to take a look at the new. Signing up for an account was easy, and the app didn’t take long to download, although for the sake of testing it out I did hesitate for a moment over the $4.18CAD price. But since I’ve started using it I’ve been in love, and have even renounced RunKeeper all together.

The app’s main screen gives you your most basic options: Type of Workout, Music On/Off (with the option of some songs provided by the app, or of playing your own podcasts/music library), and the immediate Start or 10 Seconds Countdown options. GPS, unless disabled, automatically begins plotting out the route you’re taking and uploading it to your profile on the website. Further settings options give you an Audio Coach (giving you your time and distance values at set intervals), and even the option to allow your friends to send you Pep Talks if they see that you are actively exercising. Great for people training for marathons. There is also a secondary screen you can flip over to with a map showing your current location. Helpful to track yourself but also (if you get lost easily like me) to keep yourself on target.

Basic Workout gives you another host of options. You can set a goal to reach, set a goal against that of a friend’s time or a previous time of your own, or enter a route that you want to follow. During warm weather I’m an outdoor runner but during chillier times I resort to a treadmill/elliptical combo at the gym. GPS isn’t a viable tracking option then, so the final option of Manual Entry is essential for me. You can plug in Type of activity, Duration, and Distance Covered and it will all be added into your calendar of completed activities. Sweet and simple and covers all the bases.

It’s hard to praise the app without mentioning its parents site, so let me just say that Endomondo itself is wonderful. It has a very clear and intuitive display for your workout stats, as well as a constantly updating display of all of the other users who are currently out for their own workouts. It’s like Twitter, but for jogging. As well the option of sporting activities that you can chose from when embarking is stunning. Everything from the standard Walking, Running and Cycling, all the way to Pilates and Star Climbing to Yoga and Martial Arts. Plug in the time you spent on the activity and it will generate for you an approximate value for the calories you’ve spent. Those calories are then awesomely added up to give you values for Trips Around The World or To The Moon you’ve virtually completed, or more realistically how many Hamburgers Burned off. These stats are only viewable on the main site, but all of those sporting activities are options within the app itself.

In terms of cons, I feel a little silly reporting that my biggest complaint is that Elliptical (as I know it) is labelled as Cross-Training in the app and on the site. That term means something else to me, and so only the tiny icon of a person on an elliptical clued me in that it was the option I was looking for. otherwise it’s been smooth sailing. Which is, by the way, an activity option!

AppBrain Launches Android Market Stats

AppBrain Launches Android Market Stats

Mar 21, 2011

As anyone looking for information on the health of the Android Market would know, Google updates the stats very infrequently. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the most recent information at your fingertips on a daily basis? Thanks to the folks at AppBrain, we finally have exactly that.

On Monday, March 14, 2011, AppBrain launched a new service that should prove extremely useful to anyone interested in getting an idea of what’s going on in the Android Market. From the most popular apps in each category to the most popular phones, SDKs, search terms and words, it’s all available in the AppBrain Android Stats, and updated on a daily basis.