New York, New York- This month, Google consolidated and re-branded its Android Market app with the new Google Play. The new website and app integrates Music, Books, Movies, Games and Android Apps under one virtual roof. Google Play products are accessible from its website/app and can be delivered and shared across any Android device.
App Market is now Google Play
Google Play flies into the clouds
Google Play’s eco-system of products and service, which includes over 450,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies, have more formally established the battle front between Google and Apple. Android users have the added feature of buying a book (or music, or video, or app, etc…) on their laptop, and read it on the train on their phone or tablet device without any syncing or hassle. All the back-end sharing is done by “the cloud” which Google offers for free.
Google Play vs iTunes
Can Google Play be punching above its weight against iTunes? No really…. Globally there are more Android users than iPhone, but more developers work on iOS, (almost 75% more) its were the money is stupid. Fragmentation has hurt Android, however Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) is solving that. As more Android 2.x devices are retired and new users join the 4.0 eco-system, fragmentation should be less of a concern.
Mobile is too big for one player
With the 10 billion USD app market growing at 100% per year there is plenty of room for Google and Apple to co-exist in the mobile. And although Apple may have to lion-share now, 25% of 10 billion is no chump-change. For now Google Play is the only serious competitor to Apple, though it does have a long way to go to call itself king of the jungle. I for one, welcome the competition even if it makes things a little on developers and consumers alike. In the end we should all get a better product from the competition.
One last word about Microsoft… I once counted them out of the mobile space, because it suffers from bureaucratic paralysis and corporate malfeasance. But I have come around to cheering on the lazy leviathan. The mobile (smartphone/tablet) space is still in its infancy and Microsoft just might make a big splash if it times it right.