Android Ecosystem — This Week in Android

gigaom_icon_google-android1Welcome to our newest Monday feature — Android Ecosystem! While some folks are bandying around different sales numbers for the Motorola Droid (s mot) — estimates range between 200,000 and 250,000 in the first week — others are more concerned about the state of the Android Marketplace (s goog). Jason Kincaid penned an interesting piece on how Google needs a desktop application store. Apple certainly has one in iTunes, but as Jason admits in his article, 90 percent of iPhone software purchases are made over the air according to an AdMob survey.
samsung_sgh-t939_behold_iiI’m not representative of your mainstream consumer, but I can’t remember the last time — or even the first time — that I looked for software in the iTunes store on a computer. I don’t think a desktop app store alone is the answer, but it wouldn’t hurt — instead, Google needs to continue revamping its mobile Android Marketplace to make it easier to find apps. I’m not against Jason’s suggestion to revamp the existing Google Android Marketplace website with a “buy here and push to phone” software store. While that would be useful, I don’t see much value added — the best mobile solution is to have customers find what they need for their handset right on their handset, not in front of a computer. Google can start by making better use of screen real estate in the Market — I find that the large “Update” and “Install” buttons are too big and there’s too much scrolling in general when look at an application’s details. Is it just me?
While we ponder and debate Android software approaches, let’s not forget that some new hardware is due out this week. The Samsung Behold II arrives for T-Mobile customers on Wednesday. That price of admission nets you a 3.2″ AMOLED touchscreen display, Samsung’s TouchWIZ interface riding atop Android 1.6, a 2 GB microSD card, Wi-Fi, 3G and 5 megapixel camera. I’ve read two different price tags for the Behold II — $199 and $229 — and Samsung’s official press release does nothing to clarify a price. I’m thinking $199 is the cost later this week because we’re starting to see real competition to get good smartphones under the $199 barrier after subsidy.