First impressions of new Android Market on HTC EVO
Google seems to be on a roll lately. First, they brought some much-needed visual updates to many of its existing products such as Gmail and Calendar, aligning these with its new Google+ offering. Next, Google mobile sites have also gotten a nice refresh, and finally Google is rolling out an updated Market. And while they have announced that the new Market will be available to everyone running Android 2.2 or above in the coming weeks (that should include all HTC EVO users), you can unofficially jump on board a bit sooner, if you are feeling adventurous.
My first impression of the new Market is that it's a bit more colorful, although much darker than before, relying on more blacks and greys instead of whites. While some may prefer this darker contrast and claim that it gives the Market a sharper appearance, I prefer the old white background; it simply looked cleaner to me.
Many have also likened the tiled layout to Microsoft's Metro UI that can be found on Windows Phone 7, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, I find the tiles to be a bit more cluttered than what I'm used to seeing from Google. In addition, the featured apps that appear at the top and bottom of the main screen remind me too much of those gaudy Flash advertisements that everyone loves to hate – again, it doesn't have the neatness and tidiness that Google is known for.
Still, thanks to this tiled layout, more apps are displayed on the screen, which can be helpful both for users trying to discover new apps and developers trying to promote their apps. Additionally, the new Market adds the ability to buy books and sync them across multiple devices, as well as rent movies. The only downside is that rooted users will not be able to play rented movies. I am wondering if enterprising developers might be able to find a way around this restriction, and I am also wondering if this policy will remain once HTC officially unlocks the bootloader on the EVO 3D, thus bringing root access to the masses.
Movies can be browsed by category, as well as featured, top rentals, or new releases. The vast majority of films I saw were between $2.99-$3.99, and while the selection seems limited at this point, there are still some good titles. While I haven't rented a movie yet myself, Google's help pages seem to imply that once you rent a movie, you have up to 30 days to begin watching it on any device that is associated with your Google account, including other phones, tablets, or even your computer. Once you begin playing the film, however, you have only 24 hours to watch it. Additionally, Google does support HDMI mirroring of rented movies on the Motorola XOOM, so I would hope that similar support will be officially available to the HTC EVO.
When looking through book titles, you can choose to browse by category or by featured books, top sellers, top free books, or new arrivals. A tiled list of New York Times bestsellers can be found under the Featured tab, and prices ranged from $5-$19.99.
As you browse the apps, you will notice that in addition to the standard categories you are used to seeing, you will also find top grossing, top new free, and trending categories. This will most definitely help you find the hottest new apps and give developers more exposure. The Featured tab has tiles that will take you to games, staff picks, editors' choice, and carrier-recommended apps, in addition to showcasing a few featured apps.
Overall, I'd say that the new Market is a vast improvement and will make browsing apps a bit more exciting and interesting on the HTC EVO – even if it does seem a bit more cluttered at first glance. It should be noted that some EVO 4G users are experiencing a bit of lag with the leaked version, so there is a possibility that Google might have different versions of the new Market that it will roll out based on specific devices; this is only a guess but might also explain their extended time frame for getting the Market rolled out to everyone. However, I have no problems with it at all on my EVO 3D, so perhaps YMMV.
Give it a spin if you're feeling adventurous, and let us know what you think in the comments below!