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Shopping for Apps at the Android Market

You can shop for apps (software applications) for Android devices at the Android Market. Android apps are also available from other sources. The Android Market is an app that comes preinstalled on most Android mobile devices.

Fire up the Android Market app and you can search and browse for apps to install on your device. The following figure show what the Android Market looks like. The image on the left displays some of the top paid apps at the time of this writing. You can also view the top free apps, apps that were just added to the Android Market, and apps and games by category.

Tap the magnifying glass button in the upper-right corner to search for apps by their name, developer, or description.

Top-paid apps in the Android Market (left); the description page for the SwiftKey Keyboard app (rig
Top-paid apps in the Android Market (left); the description page for the SwiftKey Keyboard app (right).

Take another look at the figure on the left. You see a tilde character (~) in front of the price for the Beautiful Widgets app. The tilde means that the listed price is approximate. Some apps are sold in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. In the case of Beautiful Widgets, its actual price is €1.49 (1 euro and 49 cents). The Android Market automatically converts the prices of paid apps to your native currency.

Tap the entry of an app in the list to open the description of the app, such as in the image on the right in the preceding figure. The description page for an app includes some or all of the following:

  • An explanation of what the app does and some of its key features

  • A couple of screenshots of the app in action

  • The version number of the app, the size of the app (in KB or MB), and how many times the app has been downloaded

  • Information about recent changes or updates, and mentions of other versions of the app, such as trial and pro versions

  • Links to see more apps in the Market from the developer, the developer’s Web page, and the developer’s e-mail address

  • A link for you to flag the app as inappropriate, if you feel it contains objectionable content

There’s also a reviews section where you can see comments that users have posted about the app, such as in the image on the left in the next figure. The most recent comments appear at the top of the page; scroll down to see older comments. Every comment also includes a user rating from one to five stars. The average of all the user ratings appears at the top of the page.

The user comments page for the Evernote app (left); the parts of your device that the Facebook app
The user comments page for the Evernote app (left); the parts of your device that the Facebook app can access (right).

The Android Market isn’t the only Android app store in town. Here’s a handful of Web sites from which you can also download and install free and paid Android apps directly onto your device. For some, you can download apps directly from the sites using your device’s Web browser. For others, you need to download the sites’ own app-store apps:

Before you can install Android apps that come from sources other than the Android Market onto your device, you must set your device to permit the installation of non-Market apps. Configure this in your device’s settings under Applications.

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