How Google can clean up the Android Market

Google has an application market just like Apples AppStore called the Android Market.

Apple naysayers have been touting the benefits of the Android market saying that it is open and anyone can submit apps to it, quite unlike the draconian process for the Apple AppStore. This has lead to its own problem with a deluge of apps on the store which are malicious or substandard.

Om has written an article on ways to clean up the Android Market.

I have a different take on it.

Google can ill afford to go the Apple way and start certifying all the apps. Neither can they go putting the kill switch on the apps. What my suggestion is that Google go the way Twitter has and start to certify legitimate apps.

The process will be simple.

The company which wants it apps to be certified will submit its application to Google. Google after its due diligence can certify it, or point out what is wrong with it.

For making this work, Google will have to :
  • Setup a system for recieving applications.
  • Setup QA for certifying the apps.
  • Make a few changes to the market application (both web and mobile) to show that an application is certified.
This will go a long way towards making sure that people can get around all the fluff that is there and be sure that genuine applications exist.

At the same time, it also allows developers to put their app onto the market even if they have not been certified - giving a better time to market.

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9 Lives

9 Lives is the latest book by William Dalrymple. I have grown fond of his readings after reading City of Djinns, The Last Moghul and In Xanadu.

When I got the book ( borrowed from my cousin in exchange for the Last Moghul), I was wondering what the book would be about. It was about 9 lives - or people that was clear. But what was not clear was how it would be played out.

Well, its simple really. These are 9 different lives. Its like the biographies of 9 different people. Each life is contained in its own - a separate story.

Each story is about a religious sect - which you may heard of, but in the urban worlds we live in, these are shunned. Its a peek into the lives of the sadhus and other holy men and women of India. It delves into their psyche as to what makes them do the things they do. Be it a Jain nun, or a Tibetan Monk or a Tribal Singer or a Tribal dancer. Following these unlikely people and learning about their lives , WD has presented a look into a world we know exists, but never bothered to find out about.

This book is definitely a must read. I am sure you will be touched by these lives, and would want to find more about India.

iPhone vs Android

For those who did not really like my write up :)

( Courtesy : Greywulf's blog )

In Xanadu

In Xanadu is William Dalrymples first book, and his 3rd book that I have read after City of Djinns and The Last Moghul.

Unlike the other 2 books, which deal more with the people and their lives, In Xanadu is more a personal journey story by the young William. In this book, he undertakes the journey following in the steps of Marco Polo all the way to Xanadu - the summer palace of the Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan. At the time of Marco Polo this route was a major route on the silk routes, but not much known to the western world.

At the time WD undertakes the journey, the world has transformed a lot. In giving descriptions of the places where they are travelling through and comparing with notes from Marco Polo one feels the differences that have undergone. Some routes are just too dangerous or just not doable due to political reasons which were part of the main thoroughfares. A kind of comparative history of the route takes place all throughout the journey.

Another feature that I felt was quite apparent was the differences in descriptions. While the world of Delhi was populated with colorful characters and you can imagine the various scenes in Delhi, the populance of the journey almost seems drab. It could also be because I am reading about places that I do not know much about. Ultimately, it felt to me, that India with all its shortcomings, is just a place which warms the heart more.

If you want my opinion of the book - I can say that you can give it a pass. Nothing really sticks to my mind about the book. Probably it is as I say before - I am unable to visualize the places that the journey took place through.


Next book is "9 lives" and the update will be up in a few days.

Android vs iPhone

Yesterday I got a chance to chill out with an Android phone - the HTC Desire. Its being used by one of my team mates (recently I have started working on a project with tenCube which makes the security software WaveSecure).

As a long time user of the iPhone (one and a half years now!), and having a good knowledge of current trends in the market I can say that I would passably know what I am talking about :)

At the end of the playtime ( which was like a few hrs since we were celebrating 5 years of tenCube in a lounge ) , I am left with mixed feelings. Let me elaborate.

What the Android has that the iPhone does not.

The biggest +like factor is the ability to multitask. That was like wow ! coming from the limitations of the iPhone. My colleages gtalk was working silently in the background, and he got an IM from another colleague from Singapore - which shows up as a scrolling text in the top status bar. I was like WTF ! cool !

Since its a google android, it works seamlessly with gmail. In fact - when you first start an android based phone, it will ask you for your gmail id - and if you are not using gmail as your primary email - you are not gonna enjoy the integration. But I suppose, if you are reading this post, you do have a gmail id.

Apart from this...
... nothing much.

Some comparison Notes

These are the things that I noticed while playing around with it.

iPhone has a kind of 'multiple desktop' concept where you can just scroll around by swiping left and right. In Android you require 2 steps : 1. click the button to bring out the list of apps and then scroll through them.

Android has the gadgets concept which is like the Windows or Google gadgets that you have on your PC. I think these are highly overrated as per screen you cannot really fit in more than 1 or max 2 gadgets.

Game quality on the iPhone is much superior to the Android. I have Assasin's Creed and Hero of Sparta on my phone, and going through the Android market I was not really able to find out any similar kind of game.

The Android market is tiny - and also not very well categorized. For instance, on the main screen you just have 'games' and 'apps' category. in games you just have some 4 different categories. In spite of what people may say about the android market place increasing - it still feels very limited and stifled.

Another annoyance is that the size of download is tucked away in the text and not shown at the top. Further it is greyed out - its like they want to trick you into downloading without knowing the size.

Form factor both were near enought. I guess thats cause of HTC engineering rather than Google.

Some pages have login screens with the login and password boxes. On the iPhone when you touch any of these, the page zooms so that you can easily see what you are typing in. On Android there is no such functionality. On top of it, double tapping does not work as expected. On the iPhone double tapping expands the table element , so for instance, if you double tap on a text column, it will 'fit-width' and you can continue with it. On android, it just zooms without looking at the element you are tapping. So most of the time, you end up pinching to zoom correctly.

The HTC also does not do landscape view - which is a mystery to me. Some text is still a bit small when you look at it in portrait mode. So, i am used to tilting to horizontal mode and can easily read it. On the HTC, I was not able to find such stuff.

The Facebook app for iPhone is much much better than that on Android. I think that the app is still new to Android and expect it to improve, but the one on iPhone is just better.

oh, and gmail integration is also doable on the iPhone by hooking up your gmail account as an exchange account. So that advantage goes away.


On the whole - the User eXperience is much better on the iPhone, even now. Android has one upped on the functionality scale, but I have a big suspecion that the iPhone release ( on 7th June 2010) is going to blow away that advantage.

At this point I will not recommend any phone to you. Wait for the 7th , and i will be doing a review of the iPhone OS.

But one thing I do know - my iPhone 3G will not be doing multi tasking as apple is deliberately crippling that option.