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The Android Market engineering team has announced what it say is "a significant update" to the Android Market client that "improves merchandising of applications, streamlines the browse-to-purchase experience and make it easier for developers to distribute their applications."

In a blog posting on the Android developers' web site, Eric Chu from the Android Developer Ecosystem, said that the new client would be rolled out over the next two weeks to all devices running Android 1.6 or higher.

"We've introduced a new carousel on the home and category screens," Chu said. "Users can quickly flip through the carousel to view promoted applications and immediately go to the download page for the application they want. Also, two new categories, for Widgets and Live Wallpapers, have been introduced and applications that include widgets and wallpapers will be automatically added to those new categories."

Chu promised: "We'll also be adding more categories for popular applications and games in the weeks ahead. In addition, the app details page now includes related content, which makes it easier for users to quickly find apps of similar interest."

To streamline the browse-to-purchase experience, users can now access all the information about an application on a single page without the need to navigate across different tabs. "We're also introducing application content rating to provide users with more information about applications they are interested in," Chu said.

One 'improvement' that users might not be happy with is that the refund window for purchased apps is being reduced to 15 minutes. According to Chu, "most users who request a refund do so within minutes of purchase'¦This change will be largely transparent to buyers, but will help developers manage their businesses more effectively."

The new version will also introduce support for device targeting based on screen sizes and densities, and the maximum size for application files will be increased to 50MB, to enable the distribution of richer games.

Chu said that further enhancements were in the pipeline. "We plan to continue to rapidly enhance Android Market for both users and developers'¦Please stay tuned as we continue to deliver new capabilities in the coming weeks and months."

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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